Center Michael Latta seems to have earned his place on the fourth line, logging 12.43 minutes of ice-time Friday night against the Calgary Flames. He also snagged a rebound off of Brooks Laich to score his first goal since 2013.
Latta brings energy and physicality every time he steps on the ice. He had another stellar night against the Bruins on November 5th when he notched his first point for an assist on a Laich goal in the second period and he broke the team fight drought in a tussle with Tyler Randell. Coach Trotz has always liked the “Latta line” and during his post-game interview Friday he said Latts was a “spark plug” who energized the third period. Not only did he have more time on the ice against Calgary, he brought that energy to the upper six, helping to keep the Caps in the game.
Latts was acquired by the Caps as part of the Filip Forsberg trade to the Nashville Predators in 2013. Originally drafted by the NHL in 2009, he spent time in the AHL with the Milwaukee Admirals and the Hershey Bears before starting his rookie year with the Caps in 2014.
In his first NHL year he only earned six assists in the 53 games he played. A physical player, Latta spent 68 minutes in the box last year. His efforts this year show his determination to be a versatile player, skating wherever the coach puts him. Michael has a respectable 53.8 percent win average on the faceoff and is the go-to guy for winning. His tenacity and grit show a determination to make a difference on the fourth line. As Latta develops his skills with more ice time he is likely to continue to win faceoffs, improve his shooting opportunities, and increase the scoring potential for a fourth line that seems to have found its groove. What’s not to love?
Article by Maggie Marcum
Photos by Brittney Marcum