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Here are several pieces from the article. I kept the Canadian bacon style of spelling within.
If a premier scorer provides the sizzle, an upgrade on defence also wouldn’t hurt the Kings, either and their goaltending appears to be in good hands with Jonathan Bernier ready to challenge Jonathan Quick for the starter’s job. The Kings can’t afford to be complacent in this position. Internal improvement will surely help, and should be expected from a young team, but there have been several teams in recent years that thought they were on their way to becoming the next Chicago Blackhawks, only to regress after an all-too-brief taste of the postseason.
Rising star Anze Kopitar is an outstanding offensive talent — in the last ten years, the four players with more points in their first four seasons go by the names of Ovechkin, Crosby, Malkin and Kovalchuk, so he’s in good company. The 22-year-old had a career-high 82 points and plus-6 rating last season and it seems he’s just getting started.
Brown’s defensive play remains a work in progress; last year’s minus-6 was his best rating since the lockout. For a 101-point team like the Kings, that’s simply not good enough.
While he may be a better fit as a third-line, two-way centre, Jarret Stoll plays a sound game and his ability to run the point on the power play enhances his value. These compliments aside, at Stoll’s pay rate, more scoring would be welcome.
Wayne Simmonds had a spectacular second season, one of only two players (Stars rookie Jamie Benn was the other) last season to score at least 40 points while playing fewer than 15 minutes per game. A tough winger who can skate and play both ends of the rink, 21-year-old Simmonds should only get better as he matures into a bigger role.
Under contract for one more season, Williams could be bought out, or the Kings could roll the dice and hope that the 28-year-old will be healthy and productive next season.
Johnson is the No. 2 behind Doughty on the Kings’ blueline, so they need him to be more reliable; contenders don’t often have No. 2 defencemen with double-digit minus ratings and it appears that Johnson is turning the corner in that regard, but until the 23-year-old proves he can do it for a full season, there will be questions about his decision-making.
Los Angeles will have some needs on defence if they lose stay-at-home vet Sean O’Donnell and/or Randy Jones as free agents. Given their cap space, the Kings figure to be in the mix for a top free agent like Paul Martin, Dan Hamhuis or Johnny Boychuk, or the Kings could go for a more defensive option like Anton Volchenkov, Zbynek Michalek,or, if he’s healthy, Willie Mitchell.
After dominating the AHL, and impressing in his three games with the Kings, Jonathan Bernier is not only ready for the NHL, but could very well be ready to unseat Jonathan Quick as the starter. The 2006 first-round pick has nothing left to prove in the AHL, which makes for a crowded crease in Los Angeles.
A mobile defenceman with a heavy shot from the point, Vyacheslav Voynov is only 20-years-old, yet has two seasons of AHL experience under his belt. Language has been an issue early in his career, so Voynov will need to improve his communication with teammates before he’s considered ready to move up.
Signed as a free agent during his sensational overage season in the OHL, Jake Muzzin also made a smooth transition to the American Hockey League playoffs when his season ended. The 21-year-old may need some time to get used to the next level but has the frame, and apparently the game, of a pro blueliner.
19th – Emerson Etem, Quinton Howden, Nick Bjugstad.
According to http://www.capgeek.com, the Kings have approximately $44.7M committed to the 2010-2011 salary cap for 16 players.
Needs: One top six forward, depth forwards, one top four defenceman, one additional defenceman.
Categories: L.A. Kings News