The following article was written by guest writer Howard Roark. As always, we thank Howard for his contributions to the site.
After the mourning has ended, it is time to look forward to the future. Despite a very disappointing ending to the season, the future for our Kings has never looked brighter. I believe that the Kings are ready to be an elite team provided that the young core continues to develop. Most of Lombardi’s boxes are filled though it is clear the roster needs to upgraded for the team to take the next step. There are eight players on the team that likely have played their last game in the purple and black. It is time to thank them for their contribution and wish them well. So long, we hardly knew ye…
Eric Ersberg – the future of the goalie position has never looked better. Despite Jonathan Quick’s problems late in the season, it is hard to argue that he did not have at least a mildly successful season. Jonathan Bernier is clearly ready to compete for the starter’s job. With Zatcoff and Jones waiting in the wings, it is time to say goodbye to the baby-faced Swede. Perhaps someone will pick him off waivers or he can play back home getting him off our books.
Sean O’Donnell – time for the battle-hardened warrior to hang up the skates. He no longer has the speed to play in the NHL and the stamina was clearly tested as the season wore on. We still need a veteran on the blue line but there should be plenty available UFAs at an affordable price.
Randy Jones – this guy is not a player on the elite team we are hoping to become. His contract is up, and he will be lucky to find a job. Let one of the kids compete for his role.
Davis Drewiske – what can you say about a guy who could not crack the lineup despite a clearly tired O’Donnell, a turnover machine in Jones and a diminutive Peter Harrold. He must really be in the dog house. We can bury his salary in Manchester, if necessary.
Raitis Ivanans – He is a UFA, over thirty and takes way to many unnecessary penalties. Time to give Westgarth a chance.
Jeff Halpern – it’s not that he was bad, but much more was expected. While Modin stepped up, Halpern brought relatively little. He is another UFA whose role can be taken by Lewis, Loktionov or Cliche. Time to give a kid a chance.
Richard Clune – Do we really want to give this guy a one-way contract? Yes, he will drop the gloves, but we drafted a lot of tough guys last year who should bring a lot more skill to play the agitator role. At least Parse scores some goals. Is Clifford ready?
Alexander Frolov – this is the only real controversial name on my list. But, let’s face it, we saw the upside of Frolov in last night’s game, and it was limited. Moreover, that Frolov does not show up every night. The guy is not worth more that the $2.9 mm cap hit he is paid now. Nevertheless, some team will give him a big raise and half way into next season their fans will be asking when the Frolov we have always expected makes an appearance. Our biggest weakness is the lack of a skilled, goal scoring winger, and freeing up Frolov’s cap hit and roster spot is necessary to fill that hole.