It’s Like This and Like That and Like This and Uh…

It’s like this Ilya Kovalchuk retirement thing, as much as it was a surprise to most, shouldn’t be one in hindsight. KHL rumors surrounded him, he delayed his return from Russia (I didn’t buy the excuse Lou Lamoriello offered), the New Jersey Devils lost Zach Parise and David Clarkson, Martin Brodeur is days away from retirement (365 days, give or take) and the Devils don’t look to be competitive anytime soon. Add to that tax-free money in Russia and near God-like status, and what do you have? And before you feel sorry for New Jersey, follow the money trail. The Devils save a fortune and erase this hideous contract from their books. Quietly, Lou and Jeff Vanderbeek are smiling…after all, nobody makes a deal with the Devil and find the Devil who gets screwed in the end.

It’s like that Jake Muzzin kid has a lot to prove this coming season and next. I look at Jake’s career at a critical crossroad. He is 24 years old and while defensemen do take longer, the internal competition for his position (4-6 pairing) is fierce. I am rooting for Jake but I didn’t care for much of anything I saw from him in the playoffs. Those who compare his playoffs to that of Slava Voynov in 2012 need an enema. Slava had a few goals go off his body, due to freak bounces. That is just stupid, bad luck. It doesn’t take away from his poise, control and positioning with and without the puck, none of which Jake showed.

It’s like this whole Trevor Lewis, Kyle Clifford, Alec Martinez arbitration election has me concerned. I know the arbitration election is just part of the process and there is still time to work out a deal but, if it proceeds to arbitration and the arbitrator gives an award beyond what we can afford, we may lose one of them. Of the three, Martinez is the odd man out…and that sucks because Alec’s “off” season (not to be confused with offseason) is not reflective of his skill set or work ethic. He proved himself and his worth in the 2012 season and playoffs. He has shown he can play under pressure and when the big game is on the line. I don’t want to lose him to a competitor and Jake Muzzin, at this point, does not make Alec expendable.

As for the rookies…

I am a big fan of Andy Andreoff. If you have not read it, check out Jon Rosen’s interview with him. I have watched this kid since his first camp and want to see him make the big club, although likely not this season. He may make Dwight King expendable if Dwight King’s offensive output remains at nonexistent…although Darryl Sutter loves Kong.

If Maxim Kitsyn (just sounds like a great hockey player name) can solidify his role as a Tomas Holmstrom type of left wing who makes his living in front of the net, he may make the team. I have watched Kitsyn and his style suits our needs. It’s just a question of whether he can put it all together.

I just got back from a short vacation and have not attended any development camp. Any of you freaks go? What did you see? Got any photos you took to share?

For you old school G’s like me, till the next episode…



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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17 replies

  1. I think part of the reason why Kovalbuck decided to retire from the NHL was because NJ is now a bottom feeder of a organization.
    They couldn’t keep Parise, and now Clarkson, and with no real goaltender to take over the reigns from Martin Brodeur, they barely have any forwards and hardly any defense.
    Their new arena can’t even make their payments because they haven’t generated enough money from all of the events they have, whatever those are.
    Who knows, NJ might even be relocating to Quebec City because with the Islanders most likely moving to the Barclays Center, the Rangers still always a big draw who wants to go to the Prudential Center to watch a crappy NHL franchise?

    Arbitration: Clifford/Lewis/Martinez all given qualifying offers, and all 3 do deserve more than they have been offered, but Dean is letting a 3rd party decide just how much. I don’t see them getting much of a raise, but I do see them getting enough to impact how much money the Kings have to use on a free agent if they need to go and get someone.

    Martinez is trade bait as much as many people don’t like to hear this. Keaton Ellerby over A-Mart? I think Martinez gets shipped someplace, just for what I don’t know but it looks like the Kings are moving on without him.

    Don’t count on Kitsyn or Andreoff being with this Kings this season, or next season. I was at the Development Camp, and its hard to tell who really looks like they are ready to make that jump when everyone is there because they have been drafted recently or have been invited to tryout.

    I like Andreoff. He’s really approachable and really enjoys showing up to the rink and learning and competing. I know Toffoli had fun being in camp with Andreoff.

    I see Andreoff being a 3rd or 4th line wing who plays like Kyle Clifford, but probably has more offensive upside. Andreoff knows his place and is very happy with playing in that type of a role. Andreoff wants to learn as much as he can about playing on a 3rd or 4th line, so he talks to others who play or have played in that role because he really wants to succeed as a hockey player and a good teammate.

    Its clear Andreoff knows how to throw his fists, and hopefully he’ll learn from Kyle Clifford less might be better. Remember when Clifford was dropping the gloves with just about everyone and while it was great to see him not backing down, it was on occasion scary seeing him get his bell rung. I know its part of the role, but it was clear after this past season Clifford learned to pick and choose his battles.

    Kitsyn as it was noted by Nelson Emerson isn’t that 6ft 2in kid that was playing in the OHL and the World Juniors a few years ago, he has filled out, and is much stronger after a few years in the KHL.

    Kitsyn still needs to get some experience in the North American game, especially with the physical demands, along with smaller ice surface and bigger and faster players.

    Kitsyn is going to have to get used to having to make quicker decisions with the puck, and really get comfortable with working with much less space.

    I got a chance to see Zykov and he seems like he could be a solid prospect.

    Forbort/Gravel looked good, although both will need to add some bulk to fill out their frames. The Kings 4th round pick in this past draft Justin Auger is a giant, but 6ft 7in right wings haven’t been very sucessful in the NHL, but…. I can see this kid does have hands and if he progresses he could be a Brian Boyle type of forward who can also stand in front of the net and bang in rebounds on a powerplay.

    Goaltending was interesting during camp. Berube clearly looked years ahead of the other goalies that the Kings had in camp. Its is hard to tell who will be better between Jones and Berube, but I think having Scrivens gives both goalies another year to prove they are ready to move up to the NHL to become a backup to Jonathan Quick.

    I still think Tanner Pearson is probably closest to getting a semi-permanent roster spot with the KIngs this upcoming season. With Frattin not having played on the left side for much of his career both in college and the AHL/NHL, I see Pearson who is a natural LW maybe being the guy who fills that spot on the 2nd line, or 3rd line if Frattin struggles or isn’t able to make a smooth transition.

    I will be interested in seeing how these prospects look when they come to training camp.

  2. Two things:

    1) Remember that fucked up summer of Kovachuk? How we all were in a frenzy and down on Dean for not closing the deal? I was pretty upset at the time. But maybe that’s why I am a fan, not a general manager. Anyhow, Kovalchuk has really proven himself a greedy prick, not the franchise player he was billed to be. Fuck him and that cretin agent of his. I don;t like to see players injured, but I would make an exception here. Hey, if a player signs in Russia, does the American agent get any $ ? I hope not.

    2) Alex Martinez did not have a great season. We know that. He had an injury in Europe and never seemed to find his 2012 form. I think (and would like to believe) he can “come back” and be a strong contributor to the team. I don’t want to see him go. Hope he stays, and can get his dollars up in the future if he deserves.

    This capped situation is pretty fucked for the Kings this year…

  3. Nice job Neil,

    I just cant help but notice that with our huge need on left wing, king really hasnt been able to prove much besides that he can skate well for his size. He does not really hit nor drive the net hard and he doesnt do much screening of the goaltender. To me he is a floater, circles around way too much.

    For Clifford this is a make or break year. I love his game and we’ve seen flashes of skill. His goal against detroit two years was beautiful as was his goal against nashville that they always show with the chubby kid rocking his hair. The consistency needs to be there this season or we need to audition some of our recently drafted lw’s.

    Fraser has served his role well but i cant help feel we may be better suited to dress a fourth line with linden vey featuring guys like pearson or hopefully Holloway maybe even kitsyn or andreoff. Chicago showed our lack of team speed and skill and i feel our defense with Regehr and Greene, hell even doughty has shown he can be a violent hitter; is physical enough to dress a fourth line of skill our top 9 still boasts grit with brown, richards, lewis (hopefully) and the aforementioned clifford that i would like to see more of an ability to roll 4 dangerous lines.

  4. Bobby ck your email..Sent pic s of camp.
    D.Evans says no one ready for team.
    It is fun to watch our babies grow..both physically and skill wise.
    Fobort coming along. I am excited waiting for his NHL debut. Anderoff was impressive.
    Enjoyed watching J.Weal..he is fast..good hands, but his size will be his downfall. A shame the little guys are just being sized out if the Modern game.
    Aguar is an another physically Huge prospect. Like the rest you can tell he needs experience….he looked a bit awkward.
    The Russies. Maxim Kitsyn. Nice. Can skate, Good puck handling, showed an edge.
    Valentin Zycov. Think he had an awakening.
    He may have been Canada’s Junior star( or whatever it’s called this year), but he had some problems adjusting to what he was being ask to do. He is young, I am not criticizing, just saw he is not at the level I thought I would see.
    I do Love the Camp!
    7 weeks til Training Camp?…it will seem like forever.
    GO KINGS GO!!!
    WWTC!!!

    • Nice, hockeyjockey! Wish I could have made an appearance this year.

      There s always someone who seems to be everywhere in these kind of camps. Where did your eyes naturally gravitate? What number seemed to earn the trust of your observation? Simply put, who impressed you the most, regardless of reason?

      • yes just My observations..of course I watched TT.. the other prospects were really giving him a hard time.. He was their target.. you could see their minds saying.. he played with the Kings.. he was in the playoffs.. scored a goal! ..if we can bottle him up.. strip the puck from him, knock him on his ass ..a point for us.. kinda funny to watch.
        As I said Weal.. really a shame he is so small.. I happen to like small speedy guys.. and good puck handlers.. maybe a reason I like Euros.. they always have puck skill. Maxin Kytsin .. like him a lot. Good Hands. Auger.. his size forced you to notice him. Andereoff was everywhere .. energy.. hitting.. liked him. Forbort.. remembered him from last year.. saw improvement.. amazed I could rembember but I think I did.
        Ebert as well caught my eye.
        When we have access to the Draft, not like this years, but in previous and they profile the prospects, it is very helpful and I sit and take notes on what I see.(ok, over the top)
        Same when they have showed the Combine. Helps me to remember the players.
        Going to camp more then once also helps you to get an idea on the players as well.

  5. I’ve noticed lately a lot of Kings fans getting way too caught up about right wing vs left wing. Maybe it’s from reading too much Mayors Manor and getting brainwashed by the completely inaccurate things he writes.

    Guess what, right wings can play left wing, too. Just look at Dustin Brown.

    Matt Frattin also played left wing with the Leafs last year, and had success, even though his preferred position is “right wing.”

    So people need to get it straight, just because someone has a preferred position doesn’t mean they can’t play the other position. Just look at Brent Burns going from defense to forward, which is 100x more difficult and more rare than just switching wings. The lesson learned is that talent wins out over all. I would rather have a great right wing forced to play left wing than an average left wing getting to play left wing. What a good GM does is finds the best 8 wings he can for his top 4 lines, and then figures out where to put everyone afterwards. There should be none of this “well we have a left wing spot open, but not a right wing spot, so I’m sorry prime-Martin St Louis but you can’t sign with us for the cap minimum contract because even though you’re amazing and that would be the best bargain in the NHL history, we only have room for a left wing, not a right wing.”

    That’s just not how it should work. Even most NHL GMs don’t operate this way, and many of them are closer to the John Hoven cautiously-stupid mold of thinking.

    So with the record set straight on that, Matt Frattin should definitely be ahead of Tanner Pearson on the depth chart unless Pearson has developed into a star over the summer. I’m actually worried that Dean Lombardi sees Frattin as the 2LW and that’s why he hasn’t gone after anyone else.

    Now, that’s not the worst thing in the world. I hope they do give Frattin a real opportunity, and I think he’s already a very good 3rd liner, with potential to be top-six. I think if he has a great summer, working out like never before, building even more on his good leg strength, getting faster and more powerful, getting those hands from B to B+ level, that he will really surprise everyone and have a good year.

    But realistically, Frattin should be on our third line, even if he does develop the talent of an OK 2LW, with an even better 2LW on our 2nd line.

    But the point is, as of right now, Frattin is a better left wing than Pearson EVEN WITH RIGHT WING AS A PREFERRED POSITION. Because that’s not a big deal. Physically, everything is the same. Frattin is just as fast as on either wing, he skates just as well. His hands are just as good. His shot is just as good. His hockey sense is just as good.

    The only difference is he gets a better shooting angle on left wing than right wing, but has to pass off his backhand more, and can’t have his body between the defense and the puck unless he’s skating back up the ice, plus you’re just on the other side of the ice and you have to get used to that.

    But he’s been playing hockey all his life, he played left wing last year in the NHL with good results… physically everything is the same for him. It’s just some adjustments from being on the other wing, but it’s not this huge deal-breaker like John Hoven of Mayors Manor tries to tell Kings fans, and has apparently had success in fooling some into believing this misinformation.

    • Respectfully call bullshit on this. If a player throughout his junior year, AHL and/or NHL career has played both wings regularly, then transitioning from one to the other is easier. Still not easy but from breakout to forecheck to cycle, etc can be done. A player who has not played both regularly struggles something fierce. At this level, they have years of instinct built in to their game that impacts their positioning in all three zones. JW is a great example. He would have a hell of a time ever adapting to playing his off wing.

      You paint with far too much of a broad brush.

      • I haven’t read anywhere that TT personally said that he can’t play LW. I’ve only heard hearsay. So is this claim bullshit or what?

    • Your moved to Florida? I’m CAN take the 3rd Step!

    • “Just look at Brent Burns going from defense to forward, which is 100x more difficult and more rare than just switching wings. The lesson learned is that talent wins out over all. I would rather have a great right wing forced to play left wing than an average left wing getting to play left wing.”

      Get your facts straight before start claiming that a player like Brent Burns was moved up from defense to play wing and it just magically worked.

      Burns played wing pretty much his entire time playing pre NHL draft. It was only after he was drafted by Minnesota that he was moved to a defenseman.

      “Burns was drafted by the Minnesota Wild in the first round, 20th overall, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Burns spent most of his minor hockey career playing for the Barrie Icemen and Ajax Knights of the OMHA. He spent two years playing in the Metropolitan Toronto Hockey league (MTHL) now called the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL) for the North York Canadiens, along with fellow NHL draftees Anthony Stewart and Geoff Platt. Burns then played his OHL career as a right wing with the Brampton Battalion in the 2002–03 season. He led the team in playoff scoring that season with five goals and six assists in 11 games. Burns was runner-up for Most Improved Player in the OHL as voted on by the leagues coaches.[1]
      Upon turning professional with the Wild in 2003, Burns was converted to defense by defensively minded coach Jacques Lemaire. Burns played in 36 games with Minnesota in the 2003–04 season, showing flashes of natural ability in rushing from the blueline.[2] After spending the 2004 NHL Lockout in the AHL with the Houston Aeros, Burns adapted as defenseman and earned a regular spot on the Wild team in the 2005–06 season, contributing 16 points in 72 games.”

      Dustin Brown is not your typical situation. He is one of the small percent of forwards who can play both sides and center if needed.

      Andrei Loktionov was asked to play LW and he couldn’t adjust. He was given time in Manchester to adapt and learn, and could not get comfortable. He was even given an entire summer to learn the position and just couldn’t do it. This is one of the reasons why the Kings traded him. Loktionov was #5 or lower in terms of depth at center and was not going to crack the Kings lineup unless he could be used as a wing, not just at center.

      Teams pay a premium for a player who can play multiple positions.

      Using your logic the Kings should have a plethora of forwards who they can plug into any forward position. This is obviously not true, especially because they have been looking for a 2nd line LW for a few seasons now, but have yet to find one.

      “So with the record set straight on that, Matt Frattin should definitely be ahead of Tanner Pearson on the depth chart unless Pearson has developed into a star over the summer. I’m actually worried that Dean Lombardi sees Frattin as the 2LW and that’s why he hasn’t gone after anyone else.”

      Right now the Kings have Toffoli/Richards/Carter as their 2nd line. Frattin is your 3rd line LW as of today, but Tanner Pearson isn’t that far behind.

      There are too many unknowns right now with Frattin. His health or his knee more specifically is an unknown, his being comfortable playing LW if he is healthy. Just because he was acquired in a trade doesn’t make him automatically their 3rd line LW. Pearson will have an opportunity to battle for a roster spot when camp opens.

      “But the point is, as of right now, Frattin is a better left wing than Pearson EVEN WITH RIGHT WING AS A PREFERRED POSITION.” ?? WTF??

      BULLSHIT!

      Mayors Manor and John Hoven have no influence on the way I think, or who make my decisions for me. Frozen Royality, Mayors Manor, Kings Insider etc… all offer good information and also help explain some of the finer points of the business of hockey, the CBA, Salary Cap or player transactions along with some good debate among other Kings fans.

      I alone make up my own mind, regardless of which one I read, or if I agree with their opinion.

      • Like it.. agree.. good responce.. I am constantly trying to learn and read as much as time allows.. but in the end it still is how I perceive the game and players and form my own opinion.
        GO KINGS GO!!!
        WWTC!!!

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