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yave1964

Kings offseason review

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yave1964    1,779

Might as well knock another one out. Going to go piddle around Columbus for much of tomorrow and wont be on much so here is the Los Angeles Kings offseason:Drew Doughty

2016-17 EXPECTATIONS: A couple of cups in the first half of the decade followed by a couple of first round quick knockouts, the Kings entered the season as an aging cap heavy team hoping to make the playoffs with a veteran squad and be a hard team to knock out. 

  It did not happen. In the first game of the season Jonathan Quick was injured and did not return until the final few weeks of the season when all was more or less lost. Peter Bedaj pulled a Lazarus imitation and came back from the dead and did a decent job of keeping them afloat but he faded late. Jeff Carter at times WAS the offense, he had 32 goals, Tanner Pearson had 24 but nobody else managed more than 16. In head scratching moves late they added Ben Bishop (right when Quick finally came back) and Iginla but they faded badly and missed the postseason. At seasons end long time GM Dean Lombardi and coach Darryl Sutter were shown the door, the new GM Rob Blake brought in John Stevens to work behind the bench and try to bring life to a team that is stagnant.

  Anze Kopitar was pretty bad at times last year, he came on somewhat after they were close to dead and finished with 52 points which is easily his lowest in any full (non strike shortened) season. Toffoli took a step back, Marion Gaborik looks to be done and none of the kid forwards stepped up. On defense, as per usual Doughty was solid, Martinez continues to impress as well. Jake Muzzin took a step back, his minus 21 easily led the team and he slipped from forty plus points two years in a row down to 28. Matt Greene is no longer declining injuries and age have ravaged him. The team was old and slow and the skill that they possessed is no longer there. They quite frankly are not a very interesting team to watch right now but in Quick, Kopitar, Carter, Doughty, Toffoli, Pearson and Martinez they do have pieces to build around or to move a few out to fix deficiencies. At seasons end Bishop was dealt to the Stars.

 

FREE AGENTS:

JAROME IGINLA He still wants to play but it will be elsewhere.

 

Teddy Purcell: Rumor is he is still in the league.

 

Matt Greene was bought out. Devin Setoguchi was a nice story but has nothing left. Not much to lose with this bunch. 

 

OFFSEASON QUESTIONS:

 

1) IS IT TIME TO BLOW IT UP AND START OVER? IMHO no, it is not, as mentioned above they have a solid core it is the weak supporting cast that is hurting this team. Adrian Kempe has been hyped, probably overhyped but if he can crack the middle six and score 15 or so goals it would help, there are rumors swirling around Muzzin. Yes he had a bad year but defenseman capable of scoring 40 plus points do not grow on trees and he is rumored to be dangled for a top six winger which makes sense. IMHO it would be a good move for the Kings who are fighting the cap so any move pretty much has to be cap for cap, they have a little over six million bucks and three RFA they need to get under contract. 

 

2) CAN QUICK BE QUICK AGAIN? Again, I believe he can. I have always kind of thought he was a bit overrated but still a good goalie, if healthy nothing changes as far as my opinion goes.

 

3) CAN ANY OF THE KIDS PLAY? Here is the problem, guys like Pearson and Toffoli have claimed top nine roles, they are probably best suited for middle six wing spots but get bumped up because of the decline from Gaborik but at least they can play. as for the rest:

Nic Dowd, Nick Shore, Andy Andreoff, Paul Ladue, all have been given shots and all have failed miserably and look to be NHL busts or at least on their final shot. Kyle Clifford and Jordan Nolan are plodding 4th liners with no chance of moving up. So the top two lines are literally carrying the bottom six on their backs. 

  The AHL has Kempe who was touted but has struggled, Jonny Brodzinski who has a scorers touch but is slow as slow gets, he looks more like one of those guys who hangs around the AHL forever than a true NHL winger, Michael Mersh has shown flashes at the AHL level but that is about it. 

  From that bunch, at least two or even three must develop into true NHL scorers to take the burden off the top six. They do not have cap space to go and get bodies, it is up to them. Maybe a new regime will light a fire.

 

4) CAN JEFF CARTER REPEAT HIS BRILLIANT YEAR? They better hope so or it will be a looooong season.

 

Overall, I think they have a solid core, four forwards who can play for anyone, Doughty and Martinez are a dynamic one two on defense and Quick is Quick, it is the rest of the team. Usually it is easier to fill in the spear carriers than to go and get star quality players, last year IMHO the spear carriers let this team down and were a primary reason they were reserving tee times in early April and with the lack of cap space barring a trade or two they will be a bubble team yet again.

 

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