Los Angeles Kings: Matt Roy next great defenseman for the organization

With regular playing time in the 2019-2020 season, Matt Roy blossomed into a terrific player for the Los Angeles Kings. What’s next for the 25-year-old?

While it’s often difficult to understand what kind of player you’re getting with a seventh-round selection, Matt Roy had the accolades at Michigan Tech that supported the Los Angeles Kings drafting him.

As a sophomore, the Canton, Michigan native scored seven goals with 13 assists and was named co-recipient of the team’s Gitzen-Loutit Memorial Award, given to the most outstanding defensive player that year.

After being drafted in 2015, Roy played just over one full season with the Ontario Reign, tallying four goals with 14 assists over a 57-game sample. The following year he played sparingly for the Kings, scoring two goals with four points while also spending a good chunk of the season in Ontario.

This past year, Roy was on track to log his first full NHL season, which saw a premature ending due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 25-year-old scored four goals with 14 assists for 18 points and a +16 rating. But a deeper dive into his statistics demonstrates that he was exceptional.

Roy logged a 56.1 Corsi percentage and a 4.0 CorsiRel value, essentially boiling down to the Kings possessed the puck and put shots on goal when he was on the ice.

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To put this into perspective, only Blake Lizotte and Tyler Toffoli had better Corsi percentages on the LA Kings last year, with only Toffoli having a better CorsiRel value (4.4). Against the rest of the league, Roy finished with the sixth-best Corsi percentage and the 11th best CorsiRel value for defensemen who played at least 50 games.

Comparing Roy’s 2019-2020 season to Drew Doughty‘s Norris Trophy year in the 2015-2016 season, Doughty recorded a 58.1 Corsi percentage and 3.5 CorsiRel value, easily tops for defensemen who played in at least 20 games.

One of the best aspects of Roy’s game is his physicality. He finished third on the team in hits (132) and led the way with 100 blocked shots. Of the LA Kings 64 points tallied on the year, Roy accounted for 5.2 of those, fourth-best on the team behind Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Quick, and Doughty.

Good things happen when you put the puck on net, and while the majority of his points came via assists, Roy wasn’t afraid to shoot the puck. He finished with 112 shots on goal, which was good for 11th best on the team. You’d expect the forwards to be filling up the leaderboards here, and they round out the top five, but the Kings have four defensemen within the top 11 of shots on goal as well.

While it was his first full season, Roy demonstrated that he’s capable of being a terrific two-player in this league for the next several years, trailing only Kopitar with 6.8 offensive goals above replacement (GAR). He easily had the best defensive GAR (4.5) with Joakim Ryan at a distant second (3.6).

Given how much he shoots the puck on net along with Sean Walker‘s impending free agency, Roy could potentially have a much larger role in the powerplay unit next season. Also, the Norris Trophy could be returning to LA in the not-so-distant future.