Kings Player Grades, Crowned Royal Style: Jake Muzzin
In this series, we will post a new grade daily for each player that suited up for the Kings in 2010-2011. Since no one here is a credited teacher or NHL scout, we will rate players in the way we are most qualified: by comparing them to the alcoholic beverage that best represents their play on the ice.
Your Los Angeles Kings: leading cause of alcoholism among Southern California hockey fans since 1967.
Jake Muzzin – Keystone Light
When I was, we’ll say 21, I probably would have thought the Keith Stone commercial campaign was hilarious. Still I don’t think I would have bought the idea that either he or his beer were, “always smooth,” but that’s not to say I would have turned one down at a party.
Keystone Light is a beer that only seems like a good idea when you’re in a frat house- not the worst thing you could drink, but it’s a bit immature.
Jake Muzzin was signed as a free agent last January, and made the most of his opportunity with a new organization, getting named the best defenseman in the OHL after the Penguins let him go. He followed that feat up with making the Kings roster out of training camp in the fall of 2010, edging former first round draft pick Thomas Hickey.
Muzzin played 11 games during the 2010-11 season for Los Angeles, but was eventually out-dueled by Alec Martinez for the 6th defenseman spot. Muzzin is a solid positional player and brings a physical presence, but could not match Martinez’s skating or puck moving abilities.
At 22, Muzzin still needs some polishing but his committment to his development is evident, and he should improve into an NHL caliber defenseman in due time. The only problem is, there aren’t a lot of openings in the future with the LA Kings, not that his Monarch teammates won’t give up willingly anyway. Viatcheslav Voynov figures to be a front-runner to snag a spot in the 2011 training camp, and Hickey expects to be on the bubble again as usual.
Based on the competition in the organization, Muzzin, already somewhat of a journeyman in his young career, may have to get moved to another organization if he hopes to spend regular time at the NHL level.
Somehow, Muzz needs to make a name for himself while among such highly touted prospects. Maybe he should try walking around with a 30 pack and asking elderly ladies if they any need help?