LA Kings: Matt Luff entering make-or-break season

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Matt Luff is a restricted free agent for the LA Kings this offseason. Does he have a place with the team shortly?

Forward Matt Luff is one of those in-between players right now. He’s seen a ton of games in the AHL, playing for the LA Kings minor league outfit in Ontario. He’s also played in 51 games at the NHL level. The 23-year-old enters this offseason as a restricted free agent, projected to fetch a one-year deal worth $866,100 per Evolving Hockey.

It may very well be his last shot at making it with the Kings before the prospect pool begins to takeover. Luff played in 33 games during the 2018-2019 campaign, scoring eight goals with three assists for 11 points. He averaged just over 11 minutes on-ice, playing on the Kings fourth line, primarily alongside fellow winger Adrian Kempe.

The duo played above average, with the Kings scoring 53 percent of the goal share with the pair on the ice. Alone, the Kings scored 50 percent of their goal share when Luff was on the ice, compared to 43 percent when he was off-ice. This year was a bit of a disappointment, as Luff played in 18 games while tallying just one goal and four assists for five points, averaging 10:22 on-ice.

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His shot percentage dipped way down from last season, at just over 17 percent (45 shots), compared to 4 percent this year. Luff’s defense remains a work in progress, and he’s not the most physical forward on the Kings. However, he’s not afraid to throw hands to give his team a boost, as seen in his previous scrap with Marcus Pettersson.

Still, there’s a lot to like here. He scored 11 goals with 20 assists in 36 games for Ontario last year and followed that up with nine goals and 15 assists in 30 games there this past season.

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And with the likely departure of longtime LA King, Trevor Lewis, there should be a couple of spots open for competition. But if he fails to grab a roster spot, there’s a good chance that Luff could potentially be traded next year.