This article will be another in my series of player profiles, where I’ll look at each player on the Los Angeles Kings and assess how their season went. This piece will focus on Austin Wagner.
Wagner’s production was down from last year’s pace of 16 goals and 28 points per 82 games, scoring just six goals and 11 points in 65 games this season, a pace of eight goals and 14 points per 82. Essentially, his goal and point paces were both down by 50 per cent.
It was disappointing to see his production slide, especially considering he averaged nearly three minutes per game more than he did last year. Some of this can be attributed to his massive drop in shooting percentage, from 17.9 per cent last season to just 4.8 per cent this season. We can expect it to be somewhere in between those numbers going forward.
The Kings also had a lower shooting percentage while Wagner was on the ice than they did for any other forward on the team, at just 5.4 per cent. Between that and Wagner’s own shooting percentage, it’s no surprise his numbers are quite a bit lower. He did have very strong underlying numbers, however, including a corsi for percentage of 55.4 per cent, as well as one of the best expected goals for percentages on the team, at 55.5 per cent (according to NaturalStatTrick.com).
Though his production was down, this was still an alright year for Wagner but next season, it’ll be interesting to see where he fits in the lineup, with many other forwards battling for a spot. The departure of Nikolai Prokhorkin certainly helps Wagner’s chances but that won't guarantee him a permanent role. One advantage that Wagner does have is not only his NHL experience, but the fact that he has the size and plays with grit, making him a good fit for a fourth line.
Wagner's production is likely to recover next season, though whether or not he retains a permanent spot in the lineup remains to be seen.
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Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):
Do you think Austin Wagner will have a permanent spot in the Kings' lineup again next season?