From Matthew Barry:
In an interview with Team 1260 this afternoon, Kings centerman and faceoff specialist Stoll admitted he had arthritis in his knee, wrist and elbows (at the tender age of 27), to the point where he couldn’t move. He’s currently under medication and plans to be ready for the start of the season (didn’t we hear this about Adam Deadmarsh and Jason Allison a few years ago?).
Coming off of a major groin tear, if Stoll is not ready to take on the role of 2nd line center, it bumps up Handzus, leaving the checking line thin and the 4th line absent of a veteran/decent center. With Derek Armstrong not waiting around for the Kings to make up their minds about him taking a 2-way deal with his former coach, Lombardi will once again be hitting the phones looking for help.
So presumably Stoll is not going to be passing any trade-related physicals any time soon. And I would just have to assume he’s not going to be ready for the season and he’s not really going to contribute much of anything. Because, frankly, chronic debilitating arthritis is kind of a problem.
So, my first question is, do the Kings have the personnel to play up to everyone’s new expectations, without Stoll in the line-up? Secondly, is there any kind of silver lining if Stoll can’t play? Sometimes, as with POS’s non-hold-out this time last year, it creates an opportunity (i.e. Moller, Simmonds). Is that likely to happen this time? I know I’m getting ahead of myself a bit, but there’s no hockey on TV, so f you.
I don’t really have a problem with the first three lines. I think Moller would do better as C2 than Stoll would. So that doesn’t bother me. But I have a problem with the fourth line. Which is my usual problem, since I hate hate hate the Ivanans/Zeiler/Richardson island-of-misfit-toys line.
Maybe Dean should sign Theo Fleury to center the fourth line, or at least get him to camp. Is that Calgary offer firm yet? Didn’t I read that somewhere?
I guess in a few days, we’ll know if it’s reasonable to expect any of Clune, King, Westgarth, Clifford (?? I know, that’s a loooooong shot), etc., to be possible this season. A Clune/Fleury/Westgarth line is kind of funny to contemplate.
So, for now — and since we don’t really know what the deal is with Stoll — I’m going to have to say that any time off for him is an opportunity for Moller, Purcell and some other kids I like. And maybe it will force Dean to bring in someone who can play on a real fourth line. I hope it doesn’t mean — as Matthew suggests — that he’s going to deal Frolov for a center and a defenseman.