In what was likely his final chance to show off his skills in the preseason, Jhonas Enroth got the call in the Los Angeles goal, playing the entirety of his team’s game against the despised Anaheim Ducks while Anton Khudobin was the sole netminder in the opposing net. Enroth was busy, but he was solid as he stopped 28 of 30 shots he faced to get his team to overtime.
While the Kings did lose in the extra frame, the Kings still put forth a solid effort, which especially applies to Jhonas Enroth who, in a battle for the Kings’ backup spot behind Jonathan Quick, used Tuesday’s matchup as his chance to shine. With that, the Kings are one step closer to fill the void left by Martin Jones this past offseason.
Deemed an undersized netminder, hockeydb.com generously lists Enroth as 5-foot-10, 160 pounds. But like the famous Mark Twain quote goes, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
After inking a one-year deal with the Kings back on July 1, Enroth was immediately slated to be the club’s number-two man in goal behind Quick. Of course, Peter Budaj and Jean-Francois Berube have made things interesting this preseason as they are each vying for a roster spot. But while we won’t find out the Kings’ final roster for another few days, his performance on Tuesday did give Enroth a serious push to win the backup spot in Los Angeles.
“I think Enroth will bring a veteran presence to the team and give us some crucial starts,” Kings’ goaltending coach Bill Ranford told me a few weeks ago. “It is important for [Quick and Enroth] to give quality starts with the tough division we play in. Enroth has the experience of being both a No. 1 and No. 2 at the NHL level.”
In 50 games last season between Buffalo and Dallas, the Stockholm native had a subpar record of 18-26-2 while accumulating a goals-against average of a shade under 2.83 and a save percentage of just over .904. Those may not be the most impressive numbers but it is fair to point out that Enroth did split his time between two clubs with less-than-stellar defensive units.
The durability of Jonathan Quick indicates that if Enroth does win a roster spot with the big club, he will not be seeing much ice time this season. However, Enroth’s feistiness in addition to his experience could help the silver-and-black in more ways than most would think.