If there is any such thing as a sophomore jinx, Kyle Clifford certainly hasn’t heard about it. In 81 games this season, Clifford scored five times and added seven assists to go along with a -5 rating. Those may not be numbers to write home about for most players but for an enforcer like Clifford, those are decent stats. In fact, appearing in all but one game just shows how reliable the Big Red Dog is.
While his 123 penalty minutes is slightly inferior to the 141 he accumulated in his rookie season, the native of Ayr, Ontario, has continued to leave his mark as Los Angeles’ top fighter. His 6’1, 200-pound frame certainly doesn’t allow opposing players to take him lightly and, with 179 hits this past season, Kyle Clifford shows how little fear he has being such a physical presence.
Clifford also recorded 88 shots during the regular season while averaging 9:24 of ice time. While he may be seen as much as the likes of Brown or Kopitar, Kyle Clifford knows what’s expected of him and he does an admirable job living up to those expectations.
Thanks to a hit from behind, Clifford was forced to miss a lot of time in the playoffs. In total, Clifford took part in just three games this post-season, recording no points, four hits and a -1 rating.
Overall, Clifford had a good year and it was a shame he couldn’t have played more in the playoffs. With that said, though, Clifford is just 21 years old and already entering his third season, so there’s plenty of time for the tough guy to keep building.
Nonetheless, Kyle Clifford is a fan favourite and many Kings fans will be thrilled to see big #13 in the lineup when the puck drops on the new season.
Photo: Courtesy of Gus Ruelas/AP Photo