Every team has a player in the bottom six that supplies a different energy. Every team has a player who will score garbage goals. Every team has a player who plays in the bottom six who has immense skill. For the Los Angeles Kings, that player is Carl Grundstrom.

Kings Grundstrom Brings Tenacity to The Lineup

Grundstrom, a 6-foot-0 and 195-pound forward from Umea, Sweden has provided a spark for the Kings lineup since day one. Los Angeles have previously had Dwight King, Milan Lucic, and Ken Belanger in the bottom six to play that physical role but failed to provide in the offense and defensive zones. Grundstrom brings toughness, offensive skill, and discipline to the defensive zone and does not take a shift off.

Grundstrom was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs 57th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft. Although he did not play a single game for the Maple Leafs, he was still a player of interest for the Toronto organization while playing for the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League. He spent three seasons with the organization before he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings.

On January 28, 2019, he, defensive prospect Sean Durzi, and a 1st round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft (Tobias Bjornfot) was traded from Toronto to the Los Angeles Kings for defenseman Jake Muzzin. The deal ended up being one-sided as Durzi and Grundstrom have outperformed Muzzin as Los Angeles became a more well-rounded team after this move.

Grundstrom has become a vital part of the success of the Kings. Since he arrived, he has been playing most of his time on the fourth line with center Blake Lizotte but has moved up to the third line and is one of the better all-around bottom six players in the league. Grundstrom plays with an edge and will fight when necessary  but plays an honest game with some offensive production.

 

This season, Grundstrom has seven goals and two assists for nine points, 52 hits, eight blocked shots, and a +6 rating in 25 games. He scored a career-high 19 points last season with the Los Angeles Kings, scoring 12 goals and seven assists in 52 games. He is considered the heart and soul of this Kings team with as much as he brings to the table.

Grundstrom could set career-highs this season every offensive category by season’s end as he is half way to his career best in offensive production. He also contributes in other ways, being a constant physical player that plays within the rules but makes it hard on the opposition to keep their cool.

Grundstrom is also valuable because he can play a regular shift anywhere in the lineup and play a penalty kill role. In that role, he is aggressive on the puck, is a great fore checker, and pins the puck in his offensive zone to waste valuable time. He is not one of the biggest players on the team but is built like a tank and uses his body to his advantage.

The bottom six is deeper than it has been and Grundstrom is leading by example. He plays a fast, hard game that was needed in the bottom six, yet he plays a sound defensive game. He will be a restricted  free agent and it would be wise if General Manager Rob Blake could sign him to a long-term deal.


(photo: lakingsinsider.com; Zach Dooley)
(photo: lahockeynow.com; Austin Stanovich)
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