Like the trades that brought Trevor Lewis and Justin Williams to Los Angeles, I was skeptical when the Kings traded Lubomir Visnovsy to the Edmonton Oilers, who was another one of my favourites I was sorry to see go. As tough as it was, though, I took immediate comfort in what the Kings were getting in return: a big, gritty defenseman in Matt Greene and a vastly underrated two-way specialist named Jarret Stoll.
Despite having his name linked to a plethora of trade rumours during his three years with the Kings, Jarret Stoll has always went above and beyond by playing his heart out on the ice. He’s done the Kings proud and there’s no reason for him to slow down anytime soon.
In a series of ads on lakings.com two years ago, Jarret Stoll, who will be 29 next month, said that, “We didn’t come to LA to sit on the beautiful beaches” and he’s certainly backed that up thus far. Since arriving in Los Angeles, Stoll has reached 40 points in each of his three seasons. His 43 point total (20 goals, 23 assists) this past season were four fewer than his total in 2009-10 but it certainly hasn’t deterred what the Kings think of the native of Melville, Saskatchewan.
For the first time as a King, Stoll played in all 82 regular season games and missed only one playoff game due to a boarding penalty on San Jose’s Ian White that resulted in a controversial one-game suspension. In the five playoff games he did play, though, Stoll helped out in a big way collecting three assists.
His offensive numbers aside, Stoll still impresses. He uses his 6’1, 209-pound frame to his advantage as he finished third on the Kings this past season in hits with 164. Stoll also had five more takeaways than giveaways, rounded out the top-five on the team with 187 shots taken (an average of 10.7 per game) and, of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention his uncanny ability in the faceoff circle, winning 57.5% of his faceoffs in 1310 attempts.
Oh, and how I could anyone possibly Stoll’s dominance in the shootouts, scoring nine times out of ten all season. His nine goals was only second in the entire league behind Calgary’s Alex Tanguay who did one better with 10. His 90% rating was jaw-dropping, nearly as much as going five-for-five on home ice. If only the NHL allowed shootouts during the playoffs.
So, after all that Jarret Stoll has done not only this season but in the two seasons prior, why would anyone think of trading him? He may not light up the scoreboard like Anze Kopitar and drive an opponent into the bench like Dustin Brown but Jarret Stoll brings everything has to the table and when it comes down to crunch time, none of what he brings is left on the table.
During Los Angeles’ struggles in January, Stoll stepped up his game a notch and helped his team through their losing ways. Offensively, physically, in the faceoff and in the shootout, Stoll’s talent speaks for itself. As a leader, though, he takes it to a whole new level and I’m very happy that Jarret Stoll is a part of this team.
Jarret Stoll is entering the final year of his contract and if I were Dean Lombardi, I would take the thought of keeping Stoll around very seriously because, quite honestly, with what he brings to this team on a regular basis, neither the Los Angeles Kings or their fans could ask for much more.