New ad­di­tion Folin warm­ing up to L.A. life

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Cur­tis Zupke sports@la­times.com

Most play­ers go into free agency with a clear-cut plan or idea of where they want to go. Chris­tian Folin was thrust into it awk­wardly.

He thought the Min­nesota Wild, the only team he had known in his young NHL ca­reer, would ten­der him a qual­i­fy­ing of­fer this sum­mer.

But June 26 “hit and my agent had no idea be­cause I thought we were go­ing to sign,” Folin said. “We were way be­hind al­ready at the start. So we had no idea. It came as a shock and a sur­prise, ac­tu­ally.”

That brief, fren­zied pe­riod cul­mi­nated in Folin land­ing with the Kings on a one-year con­tract on July 1. It wasn’t a flashy sign­ing be­cause Folin is a stay-ath­ome de­fense­man, but his big body, hard shot and de­fense should fit in with the Kings.

Folin made his un­of­fi­cial Kings de­but Satur­day in a 4-3 over­time loss to the Van­cou­ver Canucks in a pre­sea­son game at Sta­ples Cen­ter. The Kings needed his penalty killing more than they would like be­cause they took seven mi­nor penal­ties, in­clud­ing four by Adrian Kempe.

And Kings coach John Stevens is still get­ting know the 6-foot-3 Folin, but he said he’s had a good camp and looks re­cov­ered from off­sea­son shoul­der surgery.

“Well, he’s a big guy that moves pretty well, and I think in to­day’s game you have to move pretty well, and he has to be able to move pucks, and he can do those things,” Stevens said.

Former Wild team­mate Darcy Kuem­per has joined him in a new start with the Kings. Folin also has the same strength coach as fel­low Swede and Kings de­fense­men Os­car Fan­ten­berg, who scored Satur­day

along with Jake Muzzin and Dustin Brown be­fore Brock Boeser’s over­time goal.

Folin is mostly ex­cited about the way the Kings play, and the friend­li­ness of the locker room, his new­est en­vi­ron­ment in a well-trav­eled ca­reer.

Folin has gone from Fargo, N.D., to Min­nesota, then to Mas­sachusetts for col­lege hockey fol­lowed by mi­nor league stops in Iowa. He fell for this lo­cale, as op­posed to Min­nesota win­ters.

“I like Minneapolis,” Folin said. “It’s a fun city. But it doesn’t com­pare to this. This is hard to top. I’ve been here three weeks and it’s hard to top. My friends told me right away, ‘We’re def­i­nitely com­ing to visit.’” China ros­ter

As ex­pected, the Kings’ 26-man ros­ter for pre­sea­son games in China is com­prised largely of veter­ans. It also in­cludes rook­ies Fan­ten­berg, Kurtis MacDer­mid and Michael Mer­sch. The goalies are Kuem­per, Jonathan Quick and Jeff Zatkoff. Etc.

Former Kings gen­eral man­ager Dean Lom­bardi was hired to work un­der Philadel­phia Fly­ers gen­eral man­ager Ron Hex­tall, ac­cord­ing to TSN … There were four penal­ties Satur­day for slash­ing, an in­frac­tion the NHL is strongly en­forc­ing this sea­son. A sign to come? “I hope not,” Brown said. “We might as well just go, two min­utes power play, two min­utes penalty kill. I get what they’re try­ing to do. They prob­a­bly change rules like this a lot. They crack down hard for the first 20 games and then they kind of find the happy medium where you can still play the game.”

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