Kings rookie defenseman Jake Muzzin would have played the season with the Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs of the American Hockey League if not for prolonged injuries to Matt Greene and Willie Mitchell. Greene missed all but a handful of games because of back surgery and Mitchell never played a shift after undergoing offseason knee surgery. Muzzin filled a glaring void and kept the Kings on track for a second consecutive Western Conference finals trip. Muzzin grew into the role and wouldn’t be knocked out of the lineup even after the acquisition of Robyn Regehr and Greene’s return from surgery.
“Just being consistent, trying to make myself a player who’s going to be in the lineup all the time,” Muzzin said of making the next step in his career. “I thought I had a pretty good season. As the season went on, I felt more and more comfortable. I need to continue to improve and get better and make myself even more consistent on the ice and be more confident and to get a little bit stronger and faster and go from there.”
Of getting a taste of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in his career, Muzzin said, “The intensity and the added pressure of playing, there’s a lot (riding) on the playoffs. You’ve got to up your game. It’s a different season. I felt as the playoffs went on, I got better and started to feel a little bit more comfortable. I learned a lot from the older guys on the team … overall, we fell short, but I learned a lot coming out of these playoffs.”