The Kings played almost all of the lockout-shortened season without veteran defensemen Matt Greene and Willie Mitchell. Greene could be back soon after undergoing back surgery after playing one game. Mitchell is out for the duration after undergoing two knee surgeries. Their absence created a void and young players Keaton Ellerby and Jake Muzzin filled in capably, giving the Kings the sort of boost they needed to stay competitive.
Of Ellerby and Muzzin, Kings coach Darryl Sutter said, “We’ve put (Ellerby) on his off side and he’s done a really good job for us. He’s had ebb and flow just like every one of them. That’s what the position brings without experience. Same with ‘Muzz.’ He came in, basically, because he can only play the left side. So, that, basically, became an Alec Martinez-Muzzin competition. And still is. They (the young defensemen) have gotten us to this point and I think it’s been good for them and I think it’s been good for us in the overall picture. Not so much now, but in the big picture, right?”