A downward slide that has lasted 11 games hit rock bottom Thursday night when winger Donald Audette was a healthy scratch.
Audette has scored once and has three assists over the past 11 games, after compiling 10 goals and 10 assists in his first 25.
“They’re getting everything I have every time I go on the ice,” Audette said. “It’s hard to score when you’re not getting scoring chances, when you’re getting a shot a game.”
He has averaged only two shots a game over the past 11, six of those in an 8-3 loss to the New York Rangers.
The real problem, though, is that his lack of production has prompted King coaches to focus on other aspects of his game: notably, his work at the defensive end.
“Scoring makes Donald satisfied,” Coach Andy Murray said. “Donald has to learn to become satisfied with other aspects of the game.”
One problem with Audette is a looming contract negotiation. He is in the final year of a contract that pays him $2.2 million this season.
“I’m not thinking about it while I’m on the ice,” he said. “But you have to think about it. . . . I don’t want to happen what happened last season.”
Audette sat out the first 30-plus games of last season while with Buffalo, which eventually gave up and traded him to the Kings for a draft choice.