Forward Jaret Anderson-Dolan (or J.A.D) scored his first NHL goal in a 4-3 loss against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Trevor Moore made a smooth pass halfway through the second period from behind the net to Anderson-Dolan, who fired it past Vegas’ Lehner to tie the game at 3.
Though the Kings couldn’t stop the Knights and their winger Chandler Stephenson, who scored two goals for Vegas, the team certainly saw glimmers of hope that have raised spirits on the bench.
Coach McLellan said in his post-game press conference:
“It’s happened over the last few games, with Arty getting his and Jaret getting his tonight. The bench was very excited for him; it uplifted all of us. He’s worked really hard, he’s bided his time, he’s deserved all the ice time he’s gotten over the last couple of games. He’s done a good job penalty killing, played well 5-on-5, and was rewarded with the goal. We’re happy with what he’s providing.”
In his post-game interview, Anderson-Dolan seemed to be more focused on the game’s outcome rather than his first NHL goal – a true sign of a professional.
“It’s a great feeling, obviously. It’s good to get that first one out of the way and now, I can just kind of play my game and not have to worry about that. But, you know, we’re trying to win hockey games here and didn’t get that, so that’s a little bit disappointing.”
He gave credit to their fight throughout each period and noted their ability to bounce back after each blow. His time up this season has been short, but he’s already making a significant impact.
Drafted 41st overall in 2017, Anderson-Dolan’s quick and competitive play paved a spot for him on the Kings roster for the 2018-19 season, but after earning only one point in five games, he was sent down to Los Angeles’ WHL team, the Spokane Chiefs. His time in the 2019-20 season was just as short, only seeing four games sporadically before heading to the Kings’ AHL team, the Ontario Reign.
On February 5, Anderson-Dolan was promoted from the taxi squad to the Kings’ active roster after Andreas Athanasiou and Blake Lizotte were sidelined due to covid-19 protocols.
Anderson-Dolan credits his time on the taxi squad for his preparedness for these last two games.
“Just being around the guys and practicing with them every day and getting that comfort level on the ice and just, you know, taking reps with so that when you come in, it’s a little bit different. Last year, was coming up from the AHL and you come up to the NHL, you’re not used to taking reps and it’s a little bit different but being here the whole time and taking practices with the guys and being used to that speed and just being familiar with the guys.”
J.A.D’s time wasn’t just limited to the minors. In April of 2017, he was selected as team captain to represent Canada at the 2017 IIHF World U18 Championships. Within two years, he was again named an alternate captain for Team Canada for the 2019 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.
Anderson-Dolan’s journey may seem like a lot of bouncing back and forth between leagues, but the truth is, he’s proved his worth with all this experience. He scored 40 goals with 51 assists in the 2017-18 season and had 20 goals with 23 assists in 32 games during the 2018-19 seasons. While it’s likely he won’t stay up this whole season; he is making the most of this opportunity in hopes he can bring the same energy he had with the Chiefs and the Reign.
The Kings will see a young passionate player ready to give it his all, not for himself, but the team. The Kings have a demanding schedule ahead, and in a season full of downs so far, it’s great to see that one goal can change the attitude towards their game.
Congrats to Jaret Anderson-Dolan, and here’s to a long career!
Featured Image: LA Times