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30 Teams in the 30 Days: Los Angeles Kings

The Los Angeles Kings couldn’t do much right last season. They had a difficult time winning games and they lost out on the Steven Stamkos sweepstakes (though a reliable source told me they would have drafted Drew Doughty anyways). Their free agent pick ups didn’t really pan out and they used a ton of goalies to try and find the right fit. GM Dean Lombardi has used the Kings ill fortunes of late to assemble a formidable crop of youngsters and now has a teaching coach in place in Terry Murray. The Kings likely won’t make much noise this year, but they should be a force to be reckoned with as early as 2010-11.


The Kings have a deep and talented group of youngsters that are already contributing at the NHL level. Their top line of Patrick O’Sullivan, Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown exhibit excellent chemistry and can all be found amongst the top scorers on the Kings roster. Look for all three of them to improve on last years totals and don’t be surprised if Kopitar flirts with the 90 to 100 point range. Alex Frolov provides good punch on the 2nd line, while Kyle Calder and Michael Handzus faltered last season. Both Calder and Handzus are due for bounce back seasons. If so, they will take some of the pressure off the 1st line. Newcomer Jarret Stoll provides stability, leadership and Rachel Hunter pictures to the Kings, and should be a fixture on the 3rd line and special teams. He has some offensive talent, so I wouldn’t be shocked if ended up with some time on the 2nd line. AHL scoring sensation Teddy Purcell also figures to see a lot of ice time, either on the 3rd or 2nd line. If he can bring his scoring touch to the NHL, the Kings will have added another young piece to their puzzle. Tough guy Raitis Ivanans, waiver pick up Matt Ellis and ex-Avalance Brad Richardson round out the forward corps and will provide decent depth for the Kings. Big center Brian Boyle, who has some big offensive upside, should get the 4th line center spot. The Kings should have no problem with skill, even with the departure of Mike Cammalleri, but are lacking in experience.


The improving Jack Johnson and Tom Preissing figure to be the top pairing with the departure of both Rob Blake and Lubomir Vishnovsky. Matt Greene, acquired in the Vishnovsky deal, and Josh Harrold are likely the 2nd pairing (Yikes!) while Drew Doughty and Denis Gauthier round out the top 6. It seems very likely that Doughty will be given every opportunity to make the team and should see quite a bit of ice unless (until?) the Kings add another defender. Recent draft pick Thomas Hickey and college free agent Alec Martinez may also get a look, as will Colton Teubert. The Kings are pretty thin on the back end, so all of these guys might see time. The Kings will still likely add a little salary and that should come in the form of a veteran defenseman on a short term deal. The Kings are saving their pennies to sign Kopitar and Johnson long term.


Another area where the Kings could add some salary, its likely to be a revolving door until someone comes in and solidifies the position or one of the youngsters grabs the job. Jonathan Bernier is the goalie of the future, but the Kings are rightly wary of burning him out on a bad team. However, that doesn’t mean he won’t make the team this year. Jason Labarbera will either be the starter or backup, and any of Erik Ersberg, Jonathan Quick, Danny Taylor or Jeff Zatkoff could see time between the pipes. My money is on Zatkoff, who had an excellent career at Miami of Ohio.


Ceiling- 11th in the West

Floor- 15th in the West

The Jets and Moose are both scheduled to practice on Wednesday.

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