Los Angeles Kings Sign Austin Wagner to an Extension
Austin Wagner re-ups with the LA Kings for three years! That’s a lot of breakaway chances in his future.
— LA Kings (@LAKings) September 1, 2020
The Impact of Austin Wagner
When talking about Austin Wagner, the first thing that needs to brought up is his speed. Wagner is indisputably the fastest skater in the Kings’ organization. He uses his wheels to blow by defenders and push the pace of the game. He frequently beats out icing calls, which may seem insignificant, but still provides value.
On top of his blazing speed, Wagner is also a solid defensive forward. The Kings control the puck much more often than not when Wagner is on the ice. He has a Corsi of 55 percent and an xGF of about 54 percent. He’s the type of player who is willing to do dirty work by going into corners and engaging (and winning) in puck battles.
While Wagner certainly has a lot of positives, he has a large negative as well. He simply cannot finish. Austin Wagner had countless breakaways and scoring chances last season, yet he only came out of it with six goals and five assists in 65 games. He had an incredibly underwhelming shooting percentage of just 4.8 percent. When talking to Kings fans, many find Wagner to be the most frustrating player to watch on the team. Everyone can see the speed and skill he has, so watching him get shut down on chances time and time again is incredibly aggravating.
Upside of the Signing
This contract extension has a major upside for the Kings. Wagner is a low risk, high reward player, something every team should at least give a chance. If he can’t get his offence going, the Kings will have a steady defensive forward on their team who can also push the pace with his speed.
If he can get going offensively, Wagner could end up being a solid third-line contributor who provides secondary scoring for the team. Something they’ve been lacking for a long time. Being a three-year extension, the Kings will have time to see which of the two players Wagner becomes. If he becomes the latter, then the Kings not only have a third-line scorer, but a very cost-controlled one.
Where Wagner Fits
As far as the 2020-21 season goes, Wagner will likely end up playing a depth role on the Kings fourth-line. If he starts to get hot offensively, the Kings could certainly move him up in the lineup.