What Does The Future Hold For Viatcheslav “Slava” Voynov?

5’11”, 193 pounds, a smooth skater with exceptional speed (bordering on mind-blowing), Slava Voynov is a prototypical skilled Russian defenseman. He was drafted 32nd overall in 2008 and, in three seasons with the Manchester Monarchs, Voynov has shown steady improvement. The last two have seen Voynov improve from 10 to 15 goals, 19 to 36 assists and a plus-minus from +0 to +21. He added 2 goals and 3 assists in 7 playoff games last season. That plus-minus is a testament to his play with the puck. If you see Voynov make a turnover, remember the moment because it doesn’t happen too often. If you give him a lane, he will drive a slap shot on net. Need a rush up the ice? Place the biscuit on his stick and watch him fly. He, Jake Muzzin and Nicolas Deslauriers are, to this Kings’ fan, the pride and joy of our young defensive corps who have not yet found a spot with the big club.

But there is always a but…

How many young, skilled, offensive defensemen can an organization have? Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson, Alec Martinez and these three make six. Six offensive defensemen, each with the potential to become NHL regulars, is a good problem to have until you realize that we are missing – the defensive defensemen . Yes, there is Derek Forbort, but he is still a few years away. Of the six, is Voynov the most likely to be traded? I think so.

First, he is not North American and that, by itself, puts him a half of step back in a Dean Lombardi run organization (my buddy, Zak, just cringed as he read that). This isn’t a slight against Voynov as much as it is the reality that our GM likes North American players on the back-end and, in general, at every position. Look up and down our lineup. How many European and Russian players do you see?

Second, he brings a skill set similar to Muzzin and Deslauriers but there is one element missing from Slava’s game that the latter two have – the “heavy” game. Now, that doesn’t have a specific definition but let’s not forget who our coach is and what he covets. Slava is no slouch but he isn’t yet that all around North American style defenseman that uses his body to punish opposing forwards.

Third, he may have the most value in a trade. Wait, what? That’s right. Take, for example, the New York Islanders. That is a team that badly needs a young defenseman in the mold of Voynov. Don’t ask me what, hypothetically, they would give back. That’s a different conversation. The point is Voynov, at 21, could hypothetically crack the Islanders’ lineup as well as produce. There are several other teams in the East and more than half a dozen in the league that would happily pick up the phone if Dean Lombardi wanted to package Slava in a trade.

Am I advocating we trade him? No, but I have reason to believe he is the odd man out. I am not sure what I would do but sooner or later (likely sooner), this log jam at the D position has to be addressed and the last thing Dean Lombardi wants to see is Slava bolt for the KHL if he doesn’t make the team this season.

If he makes it to training camp, can you see him making the team? Where do you put him and what do you think his future holds?

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15 replies

  1. If he makes it to training camp, can you see him making the team? Where do you put him and what do you think his future holds?

    … He will be in Europe soon, following in the footsteps of Oscar Moller and Bud Holloway.

  2. He will get a really good look this year. Look for him to make the big club if our power play continues to struggle.

  3. Seeing as how he’s rumored to ready to bolt, I say give him a big audition in camp and unless he is blown away by Muzzin/Deslauriers/Hickey then let him have the final spot just to keep him in town. Showcase him as much as possible in the first half of the season* and if he sticks, awesome, but if he doesn’t, package him with a pick/player for a top two right winger or top four defenseman.

    *This may require subconscious brainwashing of Terry Murray.

  4. Agreed.

    I watched this kid do the fastest skater competition in the AHL allstar game and he has some serious wheels. Would love to add some more spead to our team.

  5. better than Jake M….

  6. I absolutely love him, and would love nothing more than to see him in a Kings sweater throughout this season, but as previously stated, he will head overseas like a good amount of our prospects do nowadays. With the top 6 and top 4 solidified, this will remain, for the most part, a very common occurrence.

  7. According to hockeysfuture.com Voynov is the best defenceman in the Kings organization outside of players named Drew.
    and I agree with that

  8. If Jack Johnson becomes the player he was expected to be, I don’t have a problem with the other offensive defensemen becoming expendable. If Jack struggles again to start the season, then I believe he will be cut loose before Voynov.

  9. Great…….You had to open this can of worms before rookie and training camp!!!!!!!

    This is why I love reading these pages…..OUR opinions may not be popular, but we have to participate when called upon…..so I guess NOW I must start my unpopular rant I’ve been saving for training camp and the start of the season.

    JACK ” MF ” JOHNSON….or ” What the Fuck” or ” Fuck Me” Or ” We got Fucked ”

    Yes Jack is a top 4 offensive D-man, BUT a career minus player and not improving that stat at all. In fact he has been the worst defensive player on our team for the last 4 seasons, and that get’s overlooked by all the hype and such.

    He has played great at times, BUT has played his best when he wasn’t dressed as a King…….
    Paired with Ryan Suter in the Olympics and playing on his natural right side, he was brilliant.
    His play in Michigan, outstanding……So why do I not feel we have seen that guy……but have acted like we have that guy. He doesn’t hit like Greene, and he can’t defend like Scuds, or score like Drew. But he can’t even score like Corvo who comes from the same background and is also not a very good defensive D-man. Lubo was far better as well but this leads me to the inevitable. In the Terry Murray system, D-men will get more points if their shot’s are reasonably on net, yet Jack misses more than he hit’s, so what are we really going to watch leave us because we Have JMFJ.

    Martinez looked better than Jack for more than half the season, but Jack get’s the 1st line power play time and should get a ton of assists due to how many touches it takes to setup a goal.. His Contract is long and fits most teams cap needs. We want the big name, top scorer, well then Jack has to be part of the package, since he’s established and his reputation far exceeds his abilities so far. We worry about our youngsters like Hickey and Voynov not having NHL size or heavy play, but there have been plenty of top notch D-men of the same size, highly sought after and suceeding.

    Letang, Goligoski, Rafalski, Enstrom,Boyle and more, we have kids hungry and loaded with skill that can’t be traded away on their potential, it burns us every time.

    Voynov has to be top consideration for a 6 or 7 D-man spot, for this season, and to really showcase his true abilities. Hickey …..may be better suited for the KHL, but we’ll never know unless they get a shot. NOBODY considered Martinez, and look how he did. And just imagine if he was given the coaches confidence like Jack get’s. Ask yourself right now if you wouldn’t trade Jack for Kyle Quincey straight up on play alone not name & hype.

    My biggest concern is losing more players like we did with Moulson on offense, with this talented young group of D-men, and how badly will any of these young kids hurt us compared to Jack ………….

  10. I, for one, wouldn’t trade jack for Kyle Quincey straight up. Quincey, while I liked him when he surprised us all as a king a couple of years ago, is a defenseman who is two years older than jack, coming off major shoulder surgery, and has a total of two mediocre NHL seasons. Even if jack has only had a few more mediocre seasons than him we could get more for jack in a trade than Kyle Quincey.

    I do agree that I would hate to lose a prospect to the numbers game like moulson, but that’s the nature of the sport. It happens to all the teams at some point.

    • BOTH players have come off of Major shoulder surgery ( Jack & Quincey), But Quincey’s season with us, was more impressive than any of Jack’s and our team was in the shitter. The Avs were very happy with Quincey’s first season there, so he can and will be a top 3/4 consistent D-man…..but, what stands out is +/-.

      You answered with the response I expect from most. Jack is worth more than Kyle. BUT statistically is he?????? Or being JMFJ drafted 3rd overall, Hobey Baker finalist and Olympic standout make him worth more.

      Again I know I take the very unpopular opinion in this case, but that’s what make the case.
      He’s going to get us more than any other player, and is an expendable asset. Seeing Jack game in and game out exposes the fact that he does possess great and high end skill, but also a below average hockey I.Q.

      I have also felt he should move up to forward, last season mostly with our revolving 1st line Left wing debacle, of course that could have got Coach fired if it backfired, but we have this great problem of young stud depth at Jack’s end of the game.

      Losing good young prospects due to numbers DOES and always will happen, But look at how many King’s are thriving in their new homes, and how many have already bolted before training camp started. THE IRON IS STILL HOT with JMFJ.

  11. I thought I’d make a guest name to post with for the future. About JJ, you cant trade Johnson for Quincey. I admire your eye for talent because Quincey is an underrated defenseman, at least he was before he got injured. Who knows the player he is now. But the reason you can’t trade JJ for him even if Quincey is at his best is because of potential. Yes, JJ is not as good as some Kings fans act. He especially isn’t great on the powerplay. A lot of that is decision making and getting shots on net, which you’re right he’s not the best at. But he’s still 225 pound defenseman who can skate, and who does have okay hockey sense five on five, and he’s only 24 years old. You mentioned Ryan Suter in the Olympics, well Johnson has a lot that Suter doesn’t. Suter is a much better defenseman right now because of his smarts and poise and hockey sense and decision making. It’s doubtful Johnson will ever make that up, but in terms of his size and physical skill, he has the potential to be a very good #2 defenseman, and if he achieves that on his current contract, you’ve got a #2 for 4.3 million a year.
    So yes, he’s not as good as people say, but to my eye he’s still the second best defenseman out there every night. The +/- could be qualcomp related too. He may be getting tough competition. I don’t know. All I know is he’s big and talented, and it’s rare to find defenseman that big who can skate that well, and I also know despite the +/- numbers, he and Doughty were the two defenseman I wanted out on the ice most last postseason. Maybe I wasnt paying close enough attention to the details, but just in terms of him skating with the puck, him controlling possession five on five, he looked like the Kings second best defenseman.

    If you can trade him in a package for Parise, which actually leads into the Voynov discussion a bit, maybe adding Voynov on top, you do it in a heartbeat, although you have to go out and also sign a replacement for JJ if you do. If you keep in mind the Blackhawks and just a couple others, the Kings are one of those few teams with two top pairing defenseman, at talent wise. Maybe JJ isn’t a top pairing defenseman yet but he at least has the talent of one. That’s unique to the Kings and a few other teams to have that, and if you lose it it’s huge. It was one of the big advantages the Kings had over the Sharks last postseason, but then the Wild went and gave the Sharks their best player in exchange for the Sharks 10th best player or so, and now the Sharks can match the Kings top pairing. If you trade JJ now the Sharks dont only match the Kings top pairing, they dominate the Kings it (they may already, Burns and Boyle are both ahead of JJ).

    As for Voynov, he should be in there instead of Matt Greene or Martinez. Greene is just a waste of cap space especially with Willie Mitchell on the team, and Martinez is just a stop gap. He was okay but not great last season. Voynov can add some much needed speed and skill to the team. This team needs a prototypical russian. Better a top line russian left wing but it’s not like any of those are ever available. This is at least something. It’s not like Martinez is physical either, I think it’s a wash on defense, and Voynov is way more talented on offense. So that makes it seem like a no-brainer to me.

    With that said, the Kings already have a defense core locked up, and there are always new defenseman available through free agency every offseason. So given the Kings have three or four solid defense prospects, I mean that’s too many. You don’t need that many. There aren’t spots for that many on the NHL club. You could trade Voynov, even a second one like Muzzin, and next year’s first, maybe throw in Moller because he won’t be back for two years anyway, and whoever you need to throw in to make some cap space (Greene), and get a really, really good player or package back to help your team now. That’s the kind of smart trade that doesn’t hurt your team at all right now and adds a huge piece. The Kings still have enough prospects and young players already on their team to make a deal like this. The Penner deal was sort of paying a lot, but not quite enough to get a great player. It’s an inbetween where you don’t end up really getting what you need after all. You’re better off just going all in. Imagine if they’d taken Teubert and that 1st round pick fro the Penner deal, added in Voynov and next year’s first round pick, just think what they could have gotten. Now it’s too late for that specifically, but they can still do something like it. Two top prospects, a third top prospect in europe so he has a little less value (but still a good amount), a 1st round pick, maybe a 3rd, you might just be able to trade for the final piece with that package. That could get you a PPG winger, a top line guy or close. The Bruins got Nathan Hornton for much less than that. If Im Dean, and I figure out a way to make it work under the cap, that’s the type of move I make asap. The Kings are a couple moves away from the Cup. Some GMs just leave their team a couple moves away hoping they can win it anyway. That’s really stupid IMO. A smart GM keeps adding and adding until his team is bulging at the seams with depth. The Kings arent there yet. In fact they still don’t even have a legitimate top line winger. With the addition of Mike Richards Kings fans have seemed to forget that the team still needs to add it’s Kovalchuk. Dean needs to get on that. Now I’m just being unrealistic and coy, but maybe my point is more, how exactly are the Kings at the cap once Doughty is signed without one top line winger. Yes, they will be paying two defenseman big money along with their two top centers, but so are the Blackhawks. And the Blackhawks have, in addition to Seabrook and Keith, Toews, Kane, Hossa, Sharp, and their third line center Bolland who is making close to what Stoll is. That’s four top-end forwards in addition to their two big ticket defenseman, while still under the cap. How is it the Kings only have two and are in basically the same place? I would understand just having three, leaving room for more highly paid depth than the Blackhawks have, but two less? The Sharks too have a similar situation going on. Now that the Kings are really going for it and spending to the cap, you have to start looking more at where exactly the money is going. Before it was okay if Handzus was making 4 million and so on, but now it’s different. Looking at capgeek, there actually aren’t many bad contracts. I think the one problem is that once Moreau is signed, you’re carrying 14 forwards, including 825k on Colin Fraser (might not seem like much but it is, at least it adds up), and seven defenseman. If you want to maximize cap space you can often save anywhere from 1.5-3 million just by carrying a minimum roster. Not chump change anymore aye? if you subtract Fraser and Westgarth that’s 825 and 525 = 1350, along with Davis Drewiske’s 6.16, that’s 1.96 million in cap space you’re saving. Get rid of Matt Greene’s 2.5, that’s 4.5 million in cap room. If you replace him with Voynov, you’re left with a little under 4 million to add another top 6-7 forward. Very helpful. Or, you could use all 4.5 million to replace Greene with a top 3 defenseman, if you can find one. That player would serve as a better partner for Doughty, and then it knocks every other defenseman down a spot, creating even better depth.

    Roster size is one of those details, but it matters. Another team I watch a lot, the Sharks would constantly send players down to their AHL team for a day, then call them up for the game, send them back down, etc, just to maximize every cent of their cap room for the year. in fact, remember they acquired Ian White, a very helpful addition for them at the trade deadline? They would not have been able to add him under the cap had they not constantly kept a minimum roster at the NHL level. That’s how big an impact it can have. That’s why Dean Lombardi is smart to be trying to get rid of Fraser through the grievance. It’s not just nothing, 825k. It can prove the difference between being able to add an impact player and not being able to. Of course the bigger impact is if you have to keep him, if you keep him on your roster all season, along with Westgarth. Unfortunately Westgarth isnt on a two-way deal, but maybe you just have to waive him to the minors until Moreau gets hurt. It’s not ideal but there’s no way having both of those guys counting against the cap all season is good for the team.

    Enough elongated thoughts for the day. Keep up the good work Bobby and Scribe. And thanks.

  12. Trade Martinez while his stock is high and cap hit is low. Bring in one of the rookies and always have Drewiske as a fallback.

  13. It’s great to have such a fan base, just under 30 days from camp and we are all itching and scratching……..GO KINGS

    I never ment to imply that a JJ for Quincey trade was a fair deal

    The point is that JJ commands more attention, that may be more from name than from on ice merits. Quincey was my example of a defenceman who was here when Jack & Drew were both here, and during that season he was clearly our Most consistant D-man on a team that finished 26th overall.

    Also Quincey being 2 years older than Jack is not that big of a gap, concidering Jack’s international play and NHL games played. The biggest difference is/was expectation.
    Jack was a superstar coming into the league, Quincey was just trying to crack Detriots lineup.
    I personally would take that Quincey we had over any season Jack has been here, so that leads into and back to the Voynov situation.

    Voynov has to take the next step, so does Hickey, and Muzzin is right there as well.
    Not signing Harrold was the needed move to keep this option available, NOT so we could sign Moreau…….but lets not go there

    Voynov has done everything Deano and the Kings staff has asked of him, and surpassed Hickey to be concidered the next , and here’s the Voynov next………..
    Puck moving, offensive D-man!!!!!! He’s not going to be called on to replace Greene, Mitchell or Scuds if they get injured. He’s ready to take Marty’s, Drew or JACKS place. Drew let’s be real, in the event of injury. If he is so impressive that he beats out Marty for a spot, then he’s one step away from Jack. And In my opinion If Marty was used in Jack’s spot, and was given all the PP minutes, he would have impressed as he did with all the rest he was asked to do last season. Martinez is damn good……and how do we concider him the odd man out, after 1 season with nothing bad to speak of.

    Also we have to use Terry Murray’s formula of defensive pairing, and position
    Jack Johnson thrives on the Right side, his comfort level is obvious, he takes the puck up mainly when a lane opens up there, holds the puck in the zone more consistantly, but Terry Murray likes everyone’s stick blade on the wall. So you now play for Terry Murray and that could also make or break you.

    3 Manchester forwards poised for a call up, or making the team out of camp, bolt for Sweden, 2 of them weren’t even Swedish……..but not 1 of those guys has the potential that Voynov’s got, and the KHL is screaming for this Voynov kid.

    The way I see it, We need to trade for that big name player we covet. They just won’t sign here.
    Once they get here, they may sign here, but a trade is the only way it’s going to happen.
    So who on our team, has a BIG name tag, long affordable contract, on a team with too much depth at that exact position he play’s…………


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