On the eve of free agency and what should be a defining moment in Kings’ history, lakingsnews.com guest writer, Howard Roark, offers his input on possibly the biggest free agent in NHL and, without a doubt, Kings’ history. Let tomorrow be a day that will never be forgotten.
“Success is the intersection of preparation and opportunity”
This well-worn quote has been attributed to many people yet remains as timeless as when it was first written. It defines any endeavor in life in a simple and succinct way. Now, as our beloved Kings sit on the precipice of the next step in their quest for a Stanley Cup, this quote has never been more apt.
The preparation for July 1 has taken many years, even beyond the tenure of Dean Lombardi. The drafting and development of Dustin Brown, Jonathan Quick and Anze Kopitar brought key pieces to a youthful core. Adding Jack Johnson, Drew Doughty, Wayne Simmonds, Matt Greene, Jonathan Bernier and Rob Scuderi added to the nucleus and brought in critical support pieces. This young core has proven they can win and carry this team for the next decade. Certainly, there is more work to be done both in maximizing existing talent and selectively improving roster positions, but the Kings finally have the home-grown talent, that with some help, can compete with the very best in the NHL.
The opportunity is here. In the past, the best UFAs who wanted to win a Cup bypassed Los Angeles. We all heard the excuses, too much travel, the lack of a winning attitude, no integrated plan in place. Now, the best UFA on the market for many years has, by many accounts, indicated this is a franchise he would consider playing for, one on the rise, one capable of one day hoisting the Cup. Moreover, he is only 27 years old, entering his prime and possesses the key attribute our team currently lacks, five-on-five scoring. He plays a position where we have an opening, was elected Captain by his teammates and turned down an ungodly amount of money from the team that drafted him for a chance to win. The salary cap is working in our favor. Many big spenders are already stretched and lack the space. Other teams are in financial trouble and are working under self-imposed caps. The Kings with careful management have the cap space to add a key piece while still retaining our core.
Opportunities such as this do not come along very often. The preparation that has taken so long and at such a high price will only last for a certain number of years. It is time to, as the quote above says, to marry the two. On July 1, the Kingscan take the next step in their journey towards the Cup. They have to take the plunge and sign Ilya Kovalchuck.