The words “Kopitar left” swim in my occupied mind. They have done the breast stroke for the past week.
On defense, he is big and has a nice reach. Anze can occupy and take away lanes, keep the puck from the defensemen and intercept passes. That is primarily what a wing does in the defensive zone.
On the breakouts (depending on whether the L.A. Kings are actually interested in “breaking” out versus trotting or moseying out), Kopitar can take the pass from the D1 on the left side and along the boards in the neutral zone. Kopitar can back off the opposing defensemen by his size and speed (what you sometimes hear referred to as “boxing out” a defenseman) and force a larger gap between he and the defense. His strength and puck handling skills will allow him to receive the puck and skate with it in stride (head up) regardless of whether he is taking a direct pass, a rimmed puck or in a (I wish) blue line to blue line situation.
Anze would be placed in a position to be a more aggressive puck carrier and have the first choice to take it to the net or shoot or, second, find his center or right wing for a pass. He becomes less of a play maker and more of a shooter and, therefore, goal scorer. With Mike Richards as his play making center and another big, fast sniper on his right in Jeff Carter, my day and evening dreams of those three on the same line bring me images of puck snapping back white twine, 5 on 5 and on the powerplay.
You are dying to comment. I can tell. Go nuts.