What The Kings Need And What The Hockey Gods Hate

The Kings are owed one. The Kings played hard and got hosed in Detroit.

Enter Boston, where surely the Kings were due for some good fortune.

But the hockey gods despise the team that gives up quick goals after scoring one. Suddenly the Kings have become the team they used to be, with a penchant for giving up goals immediately after scoring their own. This phenomenon is on par with such undying Kings traditions as scoring troubles, trading players that go on to great success elsewhere, overpriced beer and creatively challenged team slogans.

I don’t want to talk much about this game, but I did notice one thing I wanted to mention: Kopitar had an extremely rare off-game on the defensive side of the puck. He was beaten one on one numerous times. Wasn’t necessarily the deciding factor by any means, just the most obscure thing I saw about today’s performance.

Moving right along, I’ve been mulling over the trade options and rumors floating around. Consensus seems to be “TOP SIX LEFT WING OR WE BURN STAPLES TO THE GROUND”. Ok, perhaps that’s a little dramatic, particularly since I’m not confident those of you who are dreaming of Evander Kane in a Kings uniform could manage to light a match. That takes motor skills. However, there are affordable and reasonable options out there on left wing, I’m just not trading for them.

If I’m Dean Lombardi, I’m trading for a defenseman.

A shut down defenseman.

I want Dan Girardi. I want Mark Stuart. I want Mark Fayne.

Are the Kings struggling offensively? Yup. Are they tops in the league defensively? Yup. So I must be crazy, right? Probably, yes.

I am thinking about the playoffs and I am confident this team has the talent to score plenty of goals come playoffs. The Kings biggest barriers to scoring goals right now are based on system, attitude and bad bounces. Adding another player doesn’t solve any of this. The Kings don’t score enough rebound goals, they don’t score enough one-timers. That will change and it isn’t some savior with a shot from another team that will do it. You don’t go trading for a Jeff Carter when you still have Jeff Carter. Brown and Richards may seem like they forgot how to shoot a puck, but that is temporary. The players we have coming back around to their average selves, not even their best selves, is all the offensive maladies need to be cured.

Conversely, the Kings success on defense is largely system based. The fact that Jake Muzzin doesn’t cost us a goal or four every game is a testament to Sutter, Stevens and Ranford. Matt Greene is hurt again for the second time this season. His back is a mess. Just as Mitchell needed replacing last year, so does Greene this year. I love the rugged Matt Greene we have come to know, but I am not confident that style and level of play can continue much longer even if and when he returns and I have no interest in watching this Muzzin/Doughty pairing go up against St Louis, Chicago, Anaheim or San Jose in the post season.

When the playoffs roll around, shutdown defensemen are the glue and we are lacking in shut down defensemen. I look at our team and on the forward side I see our Stanley Cup team. I look at the defense and I see something else. I see young, brilliant talent tied together by an outstanding but slightly overachieving Regehr and an ever-solid but still declining Mitchell. Voynov and Doughty excel on both sides of the puck, but they are not specialists and playing as much powerplay time as they do jacks their minutes up to the point where they can’t also be constantly relied upon for every defensive zone face-off and penalty kill. Adding a shutdown defensemen, like we did with Regehr last year, will do more for this team in April than another forward will.

I’m not interested in discussing who we trade for what, because that’s just speculation and we will get a choking portion of that whether we want it or not. I am only speaking towards what I feel is the best use of what assets we do end up using in a trade. I am happy to add a forward as well, but I see that as a secondary need. And, if I am adding a forward, it’s not a sniper, it’s a big body. It’s Penner but not Penner. The Kings miss that front of net presence on offense more than they miss a wicked wrist shot. Besides, it’s the bottom six where we suffer in scoring, not the top six.

So am I alone in this thinking? Ironically much of the offense we lack needs to come from the defense, but it’s not an offensive defenseman I crave for the Kings.

Ok fine, I’ll speculate, but just to fit in. A draft pick, a prospect and Muzzin or Martinez gets traded. The Kings will add a shutdown defenseman in his late 20s and an older, veteran bottom six player.

Chew on that, while we chew up and spit out Columbus.

Categories: L.A. Kings News

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29 replies

    • Trevor Daley sort of fits the bill. Definitely a tough defenseman who can log solid minutes. More of a 2-way defenseman but a better option than either Muzzin or Martinez. I wouldn’t complain with him.

  1. I gotta say that you are 100% correct in my book Surly. Scott Niedermeyer played in New Jersey’s boring ass trap for a decade but he got to ride shotgun with Scott Stevens. Ray Bourque had Don Sweeney for years in Boston and honestly I don’t even remember if that was his name because 1.) Don’t care and 2.) He did his job and did it well as a shutdown, lunch pail, no name D-man. The Kings are wasting Doughty’s wonder years on the NHL playing with Muzzin. I can’t wait to watch Canada in the Olympics because I’ll get to see Doughty unleashed and paired with Duncan Keith again. Remember how dominating they were together 4 years ago? Remember how Doughty came back and kept the momentum going which led to his first (and to date only) Norris trophy nomination. Do it Deano. Get our Scott Stevens. If not, get our Don Sweeney. Do it.

  2. I don’t know about you guys, but I am enjoying watching the Vancouver Canucks go up in flames. No pun intended. Vigneault managed to give that club a professionalism that whitewashed their bullshit on ice antics. Tortorella is fun to watch. He is truly a heart attack about to happen. I can’t remember the last time a coach got suspended, for 6 games no less. When we lose a game like we did to the Bruins yesterday it’s nice to distract myself with a team that is truly falling apart, and a fan base that I couldn’t be happier to see it happen to. GKG\X/

  3. Good comments!

    Surly, I haven’t heard much from you lately. You’re a thoughtful man. I like what you had to offer. It’s a different perspective on this issue, which makes sense. If the Kings were to do this, which WOULD be a good thing, it would do a lot to improve their entire team. We don’t know how much longer Regehr or Mitchell will be with the Kings, and Green is hurting. Muzzin lacks the awareness necessary for a good D-man. There are a lot of quality D-men that have played the game. DL could try to get one of the better ones in the league today. I would love to see a quality stay-at-home guy to pair up with DD. The Kings have a lot of grinders that could be traded to a team that needs them. This would also free up some space to bring up one or two guys from Manchester.

    I do believe that something needs to be done. I don’t think the team is lacking too much. We’re almost there. Some offensive adjustments would help, like you mentioned. That would go a long way to increasing the scoring.

    Go Kings!

  4. Nice Post Surly. esp since I agree :)
    Maybe it is because thru all the years of struggling..all the coaches I tried but could not get behind, my one bit of satisfaction came watching the Kings learn to be strong defensively. I think that is where my Hockey foundation originated. My Dad teaching me the game..it was easier to see a goal scorer..more complex watching how defense excuted their roles..least that is what I remember watching the San Diego Gulls.
    I have tried to give Muzzin the benefit of the doubt..but I doubt him more often then not. He is just not solid..
    he does not fit DD..
    Dan Girardi..that would be Great!

  5. Agreeeeeeeeeeeed!

    And this new addition needs to have the ability to get the puck through on a consistent basis. That would be outstanding and much needed.

  6. That Marchand short-hander though…

    Jesus H Christ

    I wouldn’t even let Muzzin be my bitch in prison so I think it’s time to move on from this kid.

  7. Ducks next oh oh

  8. Here’s a what if:

    Troy Brouwer and Mike Green from the Capitals for
    Dustin Brown, Alec Martinez, Matt Frattin and a 3rd or 4th round draft pick.
    Carter, Kopitar, Williams
    Brouwer, Richards, King
    Vey/Toffoli, Stoll, Lewis
    Nolan, Fraser, Clifford

    Doughty, Regehr
    Voynov, Mike Green
    Matt Greene/Muzzin, Mitchell

    1st team
    Kopitar, Carter, Richards
    Doughty, Mike Green

    2nd team
    Williams, Brouwer, King
    Voynov, Muzzin/Mitchell

  9. What makes you think things like rebound goals, one-timer goals, attitude, and the system will change in the playoffs?

    1. The Kings play a defensive system under Sutter. This will continue in the playoffs.
    2. The Kings are already one of the most physical teams in the NHL, so I don’t see a major improvement in that area coming in the playoffs.
    3. The Kings are already one of the most physical teams in the NHL, so if they’re not already scoring a lot of rebound goals, why would that improve?
    4. The Kings don’t like to play their forwards, or defenseman, on their off-wings (or sides), which is why the Kings don’t score on a lot of one-timers. That’s not going to change. The Kings also don’t generate a lot of odd-man rushes, which is also where one-timers happen a lot. This won’t change because they’re not a rush team. The Kings also don’t have a good power-play, which is the other situation where you can generate one-timers frequently.

    As for wanting a shutdown defenseman, even if that wasn’t crazy, Mark Stuart is not a shutdown defenseman. He would make Matt Greene look like a top pairing guy. Mark Stuart is a worse version of Keaton Ellerby. I have absolutely no idea why he’s on that list with Girardi. I like Girardi a lot. I thought Mark Fayne was awesome in the playoffs two seasons ago, but he’s a puck-mover two-way guy. He’s more Slava Voynov than a shutdown defenseman. So I don’t know why he’s on that list either.

    • Don’t confuse names being next to Girardi’s with an assertion that they are as good as Girardi. No ufa to be dmen this year are as good as Girardi, who may not even be moved and would be expensive if he was. He’s just tops on the wish list. Stuart and Fayne are affordable options, tho I doubt Fayne would be moved too.

      Stuart was very solid in Boston, and not so much on shitty teams since, like Regehr before him. He is big and not over-the-hill.

      Fayne is a burly beast and definitely plays more in the D-side of the puck than the O. If you get Fayne, you aren’t getting him to be a puck mover, which he has never really been.

      As for the offensive problems, you point out exactly why adding another winger won’t change the offense. That’s what I said. Sutter’s system won’t change in the playoffs, shooting %’s will average out, as they do, players will bear down and slumps don’t last forever. We will never win games with a lightning offense under Sutter, which is why bolstering the defense is priority number 1 for me.

      • I would like to see someone in similar style of Kyle Quincey. Someone who plays solid defense with a certain edge, but who can also be productive offensively. I loved that guy when he played here.

        • He was young and inexperienced and for whatever reason..timing..more pressing needs( do not recall) he was traded..I also liked him and saw his potential..and he has developed into a solid and gritty player.
          While thinking on ones we lost..Brad Stewart..was So sorry we lost him.

      • Surly your argument seems to be that since our system is defensively-oriented, we just have to accept that we’ll never be a good scoring team, and we shouldn’t even bother adding more offensive talent because they won’t fit the system anyway.

        I don’t understand that argument at all because Jeff Carter has been a big help to the team. I remember this blog didn’t exactly endorse trading for him either, especially at the cost of Jack Johnson and a 1st, but it obviously turned out great. Personally I was begging to trade for Jeff Carter and I was right about that. Not that track record should be taken into account here based on one trade since it’s just one trade and we’ve all been wrong in the past. But talent wins hockey games, offense is just as important as defense, and just because the coach has a defensive system doesn’t mean you should just give up on acquiring talented offensive players.

        I get your point that a 30 goal scorer somewhere else might only be a 20-goal scorer on this team, but it doesn’t matter. If you want a 30 goal scorer then, you go find someone who scores 40 on another team. Or you settle for the 20-25 you’ll get from someone who scored 30 on another team. But I mean this is a ridiculous conversation to be having. If it was Lee Stempniak we were talking about, who had that one year where he scored 25 goals or something, or even Brad Boyes who has been decent the last few years, it would be different. Yes, I wouldn’t expect players like that to continue having success on offense on this team. But that’s not who we’re talking about. Players like Evander Kane and Thomas Vanek will score goals anywhere. They would be a huge boon to our offense no matter the system. Even Matt Moulson would score goals here. He has developed into a very good player.

        So I mean, I don’t know what your plan is. This team beat the Sharks in the playoffs last year scoring the least amount of goals ever for the winner of a seven game series, and then they lost in 5 games to Chicago. That’s what this current roster has shown of itself most recently. We almost lost to SJ because we couldn’t score, and then we got pounded by Chicago for a variety of reasons, including lack of team speed especially at forward, and just being outgunned in terms of offensive weapons.

        Would you suggest we fix none of that? I just don’t understand that philosophy.

        As for the defenseman you mentioned, I wasn’t trying to say the others were as good as Girardi, just that they didn’t belong on the same list for various reasons. You bring up Robyn Regehr, but Regehr was one of the biggest “name” stay at home defenders in the NHL for a good period of time, then he got traded to Buffalo and he’s aged some, and now he’s declined into a decent depth defenseman. Mark Stuart was never a household name. He was a good depth defenseman in Boston, when everyone on defense played well in Boston, and now he’s gotten old and regressed as well. It’s the difference between regressing from a star (sort of) to a depth defenseman, and regressing from a depth defenseman to a bad depth defenseman. The reason you want to acquire another defenseman is presumably because you don’t think Regehr or Greene or Muzzin are good enough to play next to Doughty, but what I’m saying is all three of those players are better than Stuart. Stuart is not the same player he was in Boston anymore. His skating has regressed. Robyn Regehr skates better than he does. I’m just saying he’s not the player you remember, he would be a useless addition.

        As for Fayne, I like Fayne like I said, so we’re in agreement there. He’d be a good addition. I just don’t see him as the same style player as Girardi or Stuart. He’s more of a skater and a puck-mover. It’s hard to come up with perfect comparisons for these guys, but I just don’t see him as a shutdown guy. He is someone who skates pretty well and if he’s giving you value, it’s that he’s a good corsi guy making good decisions and moving pucks effectively. He has pretty decent hands for a dman. But he’s not someone you put out to shutdown the other team’s top players in the defensive zone. When you say “shutdown defenseman” I think like, prime Robyn Regehr, or Scott Stevens, or Pronger, but obviously those guys are at another level. But in terms of that prime Robyn Regehr style, you’re bang on with Dan Girardi. He’s one of the guys who fit that description the best currently in the NHL. And I just don’t think Fayne fits that mold at all. But he’d be a good addition.

        But make no mistake, this team needs more offense. That’s the biggest need. Maybe if Dean can swing a trade for someone like Mark Giordano, it can make us both happy because at least then it’s a defenseman who can help the offense. But the thing is Giordano has taken a nosedive the last two seasons in my opinion, or at least last season. Wideman has actually outplayed him in my opinion, but then Wideman doesn’t bring the shutdown edge you’re looking for. I’m trying to think who else is out there. I’m a big fan of Byfuglien but he’s not a shutdown guy. But I’d be happy with him on defense or at forward. He’d do great with Kopitar, or he’d transform the power-play as a defenseman. He could play forward at 5 on 5 and defenseman on the power-play. But I dont know who else is out there. This team definitely needs more scoring though.

        • I wrote about how much I wanted Carter many months before we acquired him, before we traded for Richards and before Carter went to Lumbus. At least one article. What you are misconstruing is that I did not care for the fact we signed JJ to a discount price because he wanted to stay here and then promptly traded him. I thought that was dishonorable.

          As for your questions for Surly, he will respond if he has the patience to sit through your novella

          • He’s probably referring to my epic rant about the Carter trade when it happened. But like you, not a word about that was disappointment in acquiring Carter. I knew he would he a big help and we needed a player like that, but was just upset that he signed JJ to the contract and then traded him. This was back when we were all still a little leery of DL and hadn’t resigned several players he since has. The concern at the time was that such a display of lack of loyalty, happening twice with JJ and Lubo, would be a problem down the road.

            While it was still a shitty thing to do to JJ, those concerns proved misplaced.

        • Ok… First I’ll just say that if Stuart has been crap this season, i’ll take your word for it. Admittedly I haven’t seen much of him this year. I arrived at those three names by looking at the ufa d-men list and picking the one I really want (girardi), one that I could see happening because he is affordable and almost fits the mold (Stuart) and one I doubt would be traded but think wouldn’t cost the farm and i would love (Fayne).

          As to the offense. I didn’t say the Kings should just accept the offense being crappy and not do anything about it. I said I think the offense will get better on it’s own, that no 1 addition is going to really help the problem and that defense is the first priority. Lombardi, historically, isn’t one to make more than a single deadline move. I don’t see him shaking up the core of the team, which getting a Kane or Vanek would likely require. Anyone less than that or a Moulson or Perron would be a near meaningless addition offensively. So I simply put the notion of getting one of those guys out of my mind. Could happen, but I HIGHLY doubt it will.

          The situation now is very different than when we acquired Carter. We were missing a pure goal scorer before we traded for Jeffy. The team isn’t missing that style of player. We have a damn good amount of offensive talent on this team, we just have a bottom six not contributing and 2 top sixers slumping hard core. If this team needs anything offensively, it is a big body to stand in front of the net, not a sneaky sniper that everyone seems to want. Interesting you say Byfuglien, because he is more the TYPE of player the Kings need than a Kane or a Vanek. We need another Penner, but not Penner. That’s the only element the offense is lacking in the top six. It should be Dwight King, but while he has been very good this year, that isn’t his style of play. It should be Brown, but he’s been awful. It will never be Kopi, Williams or Richards, and at times it has been Carter on the PP, but that’s not really his focus.

          The team needs to score more goals, but that doesn’t always equate to needing to add offensive talent.

  10. You guys are right. D is priority number 1 right now. A small tweak on the offense would be greatly appreciated though. All I’m asking for is a fucking natural lw for Richards line. Even if it’s just a 10-15 goals a year guy. It would be better than what they got now.

    • The problem is that none of the depth guys who performed the Cup year are really performing anymore, other than King who’s bouncing back. But while the difference between 10 goals and 15 goals doesn’t sound like a big difference, when it’s literally every depth player regressing by 5 goals (or 10+ in some situations), it adds up to a huge difference.

      Jarret Stoll doesn’t seem like the same player to me anymore. He’s picked it up some recently but overall, not the same. Jordan Nolan hasn’t produced as consistently. Kyle Clifford isn’t doing as much as back then. Dustin Brown has been useless all season doing absolutely zero. Even Justin Williams, while still one of our best forwards, is two years older, and looks at time just 5% slower. And Kopitar, before that Cup season he was rehabbing his knee and working out like crazy, “on a mission” and Dean Lombardi even pointed out that he saw this attitude shift in Kopitar. Well, I don’t think he’s done that every offseason, or last offseason, and while still our best player, he’s not kicking ass and taking names like he has at times in the past either. Not to the same degree. You look at what Getzlaf is doing in Anaheim and Kopitar isn’t close to that offensively. Trevor Lewis has 1 goal or whatever it is now instead of 5-10, which is a difference. They all add up.

      And then on defense, Voynov looks a bit worn down. Still out second best defenseman but the offense and the explosiveness isn’t the same.

      So this is why the argument that “we have the same players that we won the Cup with, so we don’t have to add anything” is incorrect. Players are not the same every year. This team has some wear and tear on it, and some players maybe aren’t as motivated since they won the Cup, or they’re just not the same for whatever reason. This league is always evolving and you have to keep getting better, either internally or externally. The problem for the Kings is that a lot of these internal holdovers from the Cup team have gotten worse, not gotten better, so the only way to outbalance that internal decline is to improve externally.

      • Also when is Doughty going to take the next step as a power-play quarterback? I think back to all the top defenseman of the last era like Lidstrom and Pronger, and not only were they dominant 5 on 5, but they all quarterbacked elite power-plays. And even recent Norris winners like Subban and Karlsson are doing huge damage on the power-play. And when you think of the top offensive defenseman in this league, they are all good on the power-play. Dan Boyle. Drew Doughty is supposed to be that guy for us, but there are times when Jake Muzzin and Slava Voynov are outperforming him on the PP. That’s not how it’s supposed to work. If you’re a #1 offensive defenseman, you should be owning that power-play. And Doughty still isn’t there.


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