2013-14 Preview: A Better Defensive Game in the Cards for Jake Muzzin's Sophomore Year
In his first full season with the Kings, defenseman Jake Muzzin put up some very decent offensive numbers. In 45 games in 2013, the 24-year-old scored seven goals and added nine assists for 16 points. He also led all Kings defensemen in plus/minus with +16, tied for most power play goals with three and registered 77 shots which was good enough for third among blueliners on his team.
Defensively, however, Muzzin, while not terrible, could see some improvement – and that’s what fans are hoping for in 2013-14.
In 2013, Jake Muzzin committed 23 giveaways while registering only seven takeaways. Last season, Muzzin was a victim of wrong positioning and soft hands – but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world.
Entering his sophomore season, the Kings are hoping the native of Woodstock, Ontario can rebound defensively while maintaining his respectable offensive numbers or, who knows, even building on them.
Like much of his team, Muzzin’s size can be used to his advantage. At 6’3, 213 pounds, Muzzin was able to contribute in the physical department as he dished out 70 hits during the regular season while blocking 29 shots – a decent number but fairly low compared to the rest of his defensive mates.
On a positive note, Muzzin was able to eat up a fair bit of ice time as he averaged just under 18 minutes per game while registering a shooting percentage of 9.1 – the highest among Kings defensemen last season. Muzzin also finished with seven power play points, second-best among Los Angeles blueliners trailing only Drew Doughty’s 10.
In 17 playoff games last season, Muzzin’s numbers weren’t quite as good but still respectable.
During the postseason, Muzzin recorded three assists for a -2 rating while averaging 15:50 of ice time.
Overall, Jake Muzzin’s first full season in Los Angeles was a good start but there is room for improvement which isn’t anything to be alarmed about. After all, coming off a rookie season where expectations weren’t too high, it’s easier to give the young defenseman the benefit of the doubt.
But with the abbreviated season now behind us, expectations for Jake Muzzin in 2013-14 will be greater and only time will tell whether he flourishes or falls victim to the dreaded sophomore jinx.
Let’s hope it’s not the latter.