2012-2013 LA Kings Season Preview — Wait, what?

Two or three months ago, I don’t think anyone would have batted an eye if I said that the chances of Dustin Penner or Jarret Stoll re-signing with Kings were about zero. We would have been talking about which rookies might make the team (e.g. Tyler Toffoli, Linden Vey, Jake Muzzin?), would Gagne return from his concussion, what should be done about the logjam at defense, and — given the way things were going before the trade deadline — was Dustin Brown the right captain for this team?

What a difference a few weeks (and blockbuster trade and a historic playoff run) can make.

We didn’t know that Dwight King and Jordan Nolan would be recalled and, even more surprising, that they would change the identity of the team. We didn’t know that Jack Johnson would be shipped off for Jeff Carter and that this would be a big boost to team…defense. We didn’t know that trade rumors would light a fire under Dustin Brown, turning him into a Conn Smythe candidate. And, probably most significantly where next year’s roster is concerned, we didn’t know that Dustin Penner and Jarret Stoll would erase their sub-par regular seasons with clutch playoff performances capped by series-clinching OT goals that will live on in Kings lore forever.

Penner, Stoll, Colin Fraser and Scott Parse are UFAs this summer. And — uh oh — Dwight King is an RFA. Dwight King will no doubt get a huge raise, I’m guessing to around $2 million. Colin Fraser deserves to get a new contract, and I think he’ll get one; also around $2MM, I think. Parse is likely to walk, and I fully expect him to fill nets for someone else. He has always been one of my favorite prospects, but I’m afraid the writing is on the wall for him in LA.

Now, Penner and Stoll. Let’s pretend you want to re-sign them. Stoll is 30, Penner will be 30 in September. If it weren’t for the playoffs, they would be in for a pay-cut. But now? I don’t think Lombardi can re-sign those guys and not reward them. I’m going to pull a figure out of my hat. $4MM/year for two years each. I don’t know if that’s too high or too low.

Re-signing those four guys — Penner, Stoll, Fraser and King — gives the Kings a cap-hit of $64.5MM. I don’t know whether the cap will go up or down, or will go down accompanied by a salary roll-back, or whatever. But I’m pretty sure the Kings can make those numbers work. And the 2012-13 Kings would end up looking pretty much exactly like this year’s post-deadline Kings. With a handful of significant differences.

Brown – Kopitar – Williams

Penner – Richards – Carter

Gagne – Stoll – Lewis

King – Fraser – Clifford

(Nolan, Richardson)

Scuderi – Doughty

Mitchell – Voynov

Martinez – Greene

Quick – Bernier

No room for Toffoli or Loktionov (or Vey, or Moller or Holloway). Kind of a log-jam of bottom-six big-bodies (Nolan, King, Clifford), which probably means Kevin Westgarth is out of a job. Richardson could become the Davis Drewiske of forwards. And Drewiske? Another year of not playing? I guess. Oddly, when I look at that line-up, it’s not a young team anymore. Not old, either. But seasoned, and — I hesitate to say it — in its prime.

And there are still two full seasons of Dustin Brown at $3.1MM. Is that the best deal Dean Lombardi ever made? I guess I’ll save that for another post…

 
  • Nick

    I sincerely doubt King winds up making around 2m.  I’d be surprised if he ends up with much more than Alec Martinez.  AMart, at the time he signed his deal, had probably proven a lot more at the NHL level than King has.  King performance since his callup is impressive, but small samples and whatnot.  Martinez had most of a NHL season under his belt when he signed the deal.  King has 4 goals in the playoffs (excluding empty netter…) and they account for all of his points.  It’s not a historic playoff run.

    I also am not thoroughly enamored with Stoll’s play, certainly not near the level that I am with Penner’s post-season improvement.  Penner I could see making anywhere from 2-4m.  I think he really likes his situation in LA, and I think the room really likes him.  I could see him taking a 1 year deal to rebuild value (although I’m not sure those actually work very often) or a reasonable cap hit (3m) for a few seasons. I don’t think he’ll make 4m on the Kings next year.  Possible, I guess, but I don’t expect it.  Stoll I do not expect back.  

    Fraser I hope/expect will be back.  He’s really solidified the #4 center spot.  Just to have a guy who isn’t a regular negative or nonfactor on the 4th line is kind of new for me as a Kings fan.  To have a few of those guys, or a few guys capable of being that is a new feeling as a Kings fan.  I don’t think he can be let go.  I don’t want to go back to the days of Richardson’s inconsistent games in that role, I don’t want to go back to the days of Westy or — even worse — Ivanans, and I think Fraser (and Nolan and guys like Clifford or Richie on the wing or Lewis or take your pick from our bottom 6′ers really) is a big part of that.  Nothing against Westy who actually is a decent enforcer, but I like the makeup of our bottom 6 a whole lot more right now.

    It’s hard to not be really, really excited about the short term AND long term future of this team right now.  They have a few seasons with a wide open window and I really hope this is just the start of something spectacular.

    • http://www.mcsorleys-stick.com/ Quisp

       You’re probably right about King; I’m not very good at gauging salaries in that $1-2MM range. I was thinking more of the roster spots that more or less disappeared. Penner, Stoll, Fraser, Nolan, King … even if only three or four of them are on the team next year (and I don’t have a problem with that — necessarily), that’s a seismic change from the way I was thinking about the team for next year. This is not bad. It’s just…different.

      And it’s not entirely bad that Loktionov, Toffoli, Vey and company can hone their skills in Manchester and wait for the inevitable inj****s.

      • Nick

        I would be entirely surprised if King and Nolan aren’t back.  Unless they’re total idiots and come to camp out of shape or look bad or something, then I think we can safely pencil them in for spots in the bottom 6.  They’ve been pretty huge for our success.  Only OTHER way I can see them not being on the team is if Dean makes a trade (perhaps a Bernier deal) and includes one of them while each has maybe slightly elevated value.

        Penner I now want back at least.  Seeing that he’s capable of being productive in a Kings uniform is really nice.  I’m also wagering that we can get him to take a paycut, even if it’s a slight one.

          Stoll I still don’t want back, and a good portion of that is believing that Loktionov can replicate a good portion of his production and even possibly exceed it.  Would be a loss in the faceoff circle, not a huge loss defensively (small loss on PK, but Gagne hopefully being a bit more healthy could help that too), and a possible gain offensively.   Loktionov would probably take several fewer dumb, momentum killing penalties as well.

        I definitely agree about Vey/Toffoli/having AHL depth.  Williams, Carter, Richards, and Gagne are nearly locks to miss time.  

        • number 6

          As per Lokti replacing Stoll, here is the obvious question. I’d be very curious to get Quisp’s take on it. Clearly Lokti is weak(er) in the areas that Stoll is strong in…… ‘d’ and faceoffs. But does having Richards on the team restructure the demands and necessities that would be put on Lokti’s game (if you get my drift)?

          • Nick

            I think this is a strong point and why I actually would consider splitting Richards and Carter and rolling 3 scoring lines instead of the standard 2 scoring lines + checking line + grind/4th line.  Carter and Richards are both solid defensively and can anchor a talented line.  Richards is close to Selke level, or has been in the past, and Carter has been very good defensively as a King.  I think everyone close to the Kings has avoided buying into Loktionov as a center at the NHL level yet, so I wonder if they’ll try (again) him on the wing early next season just to see how it goes.  Even if that fails, you can have him center, say, Lewis and Gagne or something — 2 defensively responsible forwards — and protect him a bit.  Or you can let him off the defensive leash and put him with Penner and Carter while Richards gets Gagne and Lewis (or someone more skilled) or something like that.  Penner and Carter could also serve as big bodies to protect him a bit and Carter can even take some faceoffs for him while still allowing him to center the line.  I do think bringing Penner back, while maybe not CRUCIAL to the team’s success, would be a good idea.  Especially in terms of providing depth and taking some weight off King’s shoulders next season.

            I don’t think Stoll’s defense is so good that the drop to Loktionov at 5 on 5 is significant.  Loktionov will suffer more speedbumps defensively, but he can tear up some of that difference in what would ideally be better offensive production and zone time.  Stoll is not a good possession forward, Loktionov is.  Stoll has been one of our worst forwards possession wise all playoffs long and this is even with him playing “better” hockey.  He’s very frequently been the weak link on a line with Lewis and King…I’m not even that thrilled about his post-season and that’s the reason for bringing him back?  No thanks (IMO).

            Quick’s obviously going to get a huge raise after next season (well, he’ll likely have it inked this summer, but still…), Brown after that…but there’s always going to be ways to make room.  Scuderi I don’t see being brought back, personally.  His game has maybe not disintegrated, but it’s slipped a bit and it will likely continue to slip.  Although his style of play (solid positioning + smarts + stickwork + not physical + not reliant on speed) tends to slip slower than most, it will still trend backwards as he continues to lose a step here and there.  We’ve been pretty reliable with developing defensemen (even if Doughty was a gimme).  I’m not terribly worried here.  Not that guys like Scuderi, Mitchell, and Greene are dime a dozen or anything, but we have the skillsets available in the prospect pool.  Even have enough guys like that available to make people like Colten Teubert easily expendable (even if he busts, his skillset was expendable because of our talent pool).  Plus, I mean…Dean got guys like that once, he can do it again.  If a prospect isn’t ready, we could always go out and find a trade target or free agent and pursue him heavily.  One of Mitchell or Greene will probably be retained, could even see both if Mitchell is brought back short term at slighter pay.  Don’t see Greener getting a raise.  Stoll’s contract will be gone, Penner’s will likely be gone at that point, Gagne’s will be gone, etc.  Dean Lombardi has very effectively managed his cap and maximized his ability to retain his assets that he always intended to keep.  Guys like Kopitar, Brown, and one of Quick or Bernier (now, obviously, Quick) were always meant to stick around here for the long term, and Lombardi was always working to put himself in a position to retain those guys.  

            Bernier is likely ours until trade deadline next year unless Yzerman blows us away with an offer.  Unless there’s a reasonable veteran backup available on the cheap (and, well, there usually is to be honest), there is no chance Jones is the guy behind Quick next year.  Look at how slow they were to make Bernier be the backup, and he’s like, ultra talented and stuff.  Jones is good, but the pedigree and performance don’t rival Bernier’s.  Bernier had a Quick-esque .936 sv% the year before he was called up to the NHL for good.  Jones has been very good but not as exceptional and not as relied upon as Bernier was.  Going by the Dean Lombardi Rule of Being Here Longer, Zatkoff would be more likely in the event of a trade, but I still lean toward a veteran backup for a year.

          • DougS

            It’s true that Loktionov’s skill set will not directly replace Stoll’s, but I suspect that Lombardi ultimately decide to give the little Russian kid a chance to show what he can do. The rest of the lineup will be solid enough so that he can roll the dice a bit, knowing that if it turns out that badly,  he’ll have until the trade deadline to find a solution.

            Lineups are not set in stone over the summer, or even during training camp. See Hunter, Trent; and Moreau, Ethan.

          • http://www.mcsorleys-stick.com/ Quisp

            It’s already the case that the first two lines are acting as scoring/shut-down lines. Probably my favorite idea for the third line is King/Loktionov/Toffoli, with Clifford/Lewis-Fraser/Nolan as the fourth unit. Of course, I don’t know what to do with Gagne then, or Penner. 

            Maybe it does come down to a Gagne/Penner lw2 decision. 

  • Doughty99

    Fast Forward:

    - July 1, 12:01AM - 
    *Ring! RRRRRing!*

    JQ: Hello?
    DL: Jonathan, it’s Dean. Let’s make a deal.
    JQ: YAY!!!!!!! I would like a reasonable, lengthy contract because I love playing in LA!
    DL: Oh that’s great. I’d love to wrap this up quickly, so I can get Dwight on the line.

    • Doughty99

      Maybe if enough of us dream this dream we can make it happen?

  • Garrett79

    I’m not convinced Gagne comes back next season. I could see the Kings trading him because A) they have had incredible success without him in the lineup, B) I’m not so sure he can be effective as a third line player and actually kind of doubt that he can, and C) for what they would be paying him to be a third line player it would make considerably more sense to have a kid on an ELC like Toffoli.

    Similarly, I’m not so sure that Stoll returns. Yes, he has been a huge catalyst on the third line providing great energy and creating scoring opportunities (it is so hard to believe that he has only 4 playoff points), but the fact is that he is not getting any younger and Loktionov is ready to step in and take his place at a much cheaper price. Lombardi can’t commit to him for very long because he does have a lot of kids who can step in and take his place and the simple fact of the matter is that the Kings would be coming up against the cap if they give everyone raises, especially because Jonathan Quick might well ask for $10 million a season in his extension, and you know what, he will have earned it (or as much as one can earn money like that for playing a game).

    I’m not sure Penner will be back either. That has as much to do with me wondering whether Penner will want to return or if he’ll try to cash in on his playoff success by hitting the open market to see what hes worth now. I have a feeling there is some team out there that will overpay him and then he can sit back and not have to work as hard as he would as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

    The core of the Kings is going to stay in place for many years (Quick, Kopitar, Brown, Richards, Doughty, Voynov, Carter) but a lot of the other guys can be replaced and will be replaced. Championship teams have to make changes. You can’t go with the same lineup year after year because the other teams are only going to find ways to get better and you have to as well. Hockey at the NHL level is more and more a young man’s game and Lombardi would be a fool to think he can keep all these guys in their ’30s and repeat this success. It’ll be kinda sad to see some of them go, but at the same time it’s incredibly stupid to have all these talented kids wasted in the minors. At some point you have to use them in the NHL or move them.

    And all of that is ignoring the free agent market this summer. Will the Kings go after Parise? If so, I guarantee you, Penner is not returning. And Stoll either because they sure won’t be able to afford them both and will have to give time to young cheap guys like Lokti and Toffo.

    • number 6

      Garrett, that is a really astute post on your part. The one element to me that was obvious was wrt Quick. You’re obviously gonna need space to get him paid. As per the structure of Quisp’s post, the only obvious money that would come off would be Gagne’s either this off season or next.
      But then you have Brownie who clearly will also need a big raise just after that. So it starts to get really tricky.
      Finally, I very much like your reasoning having to do with change. It’s easy to want to see this as permanent, but you wisely point out that you have to keep moving forward. Regardless of what happens in the finals, DL will have some very difficult decisions to make.

      • http://www.mcsorleys-stick.com/ Quisp

        I have a speadsheet that charts the potential roster into the next three or four years, which I haven’t (yet) boiled down into something post-able.

        The issue for season after next, as you all suggested, begins with Quick. Yes, his salary is going to quadruple. If you look at the other contracts, you’ve got Scuderi and Gagne coming off the books. Gagne is 99% certainly gone by summer of ’13. Scuderi is a question. He’ll be 35 then. And both Mitchell and Greene are UFAs the following summer (2014). Will all three of those guys be gone by opening night 2014? My guess is, one of Mitchell or Scuderi will stay (Scuderi). My other guess is, Greene will be replaced by Derek Forbort and/or a younger UFA defenseman (younger than Greene I mean). 

        I have not ruled out Thomas Hickey, whose contract is up this summer (RFA). He had a pretty good season last year and I think — if there’s room to develop him for two more years — he would/could be an excellent replacement for Willie Mitchell in 2014. Kevin Gravel is closer to the Greene/Mitchell/Scuderi stay-at-home prototype, but he doesn’t seem like he’ll be physically mature enough, even two years from now. 

        Anyway, in 2014, you could have Doughty, Voynov, Martinez, Scuderi, Forbort, Hickey and (hopefully) Deslauriers. He had a not good season in Manchester, but if he pans out he’s like a meaner Voynov. Voynov with the good bits of Jack Johnson. And if you can replace Mitchell and Greene with Forbort and Hickey, and Scuderi with himself on a cheaper contract, that’s several million dollars in cap savings. 

        Enough to be able to afford Dustin Brown, who gets a new contract in 2014. 

        Looking one year ahead of that, I think Lombardi probably hopes Toffoli will replace Williams when Williams’ contract expires in 2015. 

        Unfortunately, Quick isn’t the only one who will be getting a new contract in 2013. Nolan, Lewis, Bernier, Martinez, Clifford, Loktionov and Voynov are all RFA in 2013, and that’s 7-9MM worth of cap increase (or more: you could be looking at seven guys with c*p r*ngs there). 

        Can you add $4MM more for new Quick, $3MM for new Brown, $8MM for those seven guys I just mentioned (in all cases, I’m talking about increases, not totals)…while only subtracting…Gagne, Greene, Mitchell, Stoll, Penner (not to mention Drewiske, Richardson and Westgarth, who don’t make enough for it to matter that they will be leaving). 

        actually, that just about adds up. 

        Brown – Kopitar – Toffoli
        Schumacher/Kitsyn/Andreoff/Moller/Holloway – Richards – Carter
        King – Loktionov – Lewis/Vey
        Clifford – Fraser –  Nolan

        Hickey – Doughty
        Martinez – Voynov
        Scuderi – Forbort

        Quick – Bernier

        For 2015, I mean. 

        • number 6

          That all makes very good sense then. And realistically it’s gonna be a very step by step procedure for Lombardi to sort it out. As he’s prone to do his boxes and all, I assume he is likely to prioritize the players that have to be dealt with and consider very seriously the options to filling those players spots with others already in the system.

        • Garrett79

          Whether that makes sense or not in team-building, does it make sense in the grander scheme of building a good team?

          In other words, do you really think that both Stoll and Penner are going to continue their playoff success this spring into next season and then repeat it next spring? One of them might, but both of them? Unlikely. And I want the team to get better, not just to reward guys who played well this spring. They will get rewarded by winning the Cup, getting big paydays from lesser teams who think they can replicate their success, or both.

          You also have to worry about Stanley Cup hangover, which is a FACT. And at this point, it doesn’t matter if the Kings win or not, there will be a hangover. Both the Bruins and the Canucks had it this year early on. If the Kings go with a lineup that has a healthy number of fresh faces, perhaps they can avoid that to some extent because those guys are going to be hungry (this is also an argument why Loktionov’s name should not be on the Stanley Cup if the Kings win).

          I also think there’s a very good chance that Bernier will be traded this summer and Jones will back Quick up next year.

          • http://www.mcsorleys-stick.com/ Quisp

            Well, Loktionov’s name won’t be on the cup unless he plays a game in the final. I don’t think the team would petition. You have to draw the line somewhere. 

            I don’t think Bernier will be moved. For one thing, there’s no advantage to moving him, other than bringing in another big asset. Bernier is an RFA in 2013. So he’s ours forever, essentially. He’s affordable next season, and if he’s a backup all year, he’s likely to be affordable in his next contract. 

            The downside of trading Bernier and then having Quick get hurt is too steep. 

            I suppose you’re right about Penner and/or Stoll. I don’t have a problem letting Stoll go. But I would feel bad about Penner.   Don’t forget he’s scored 20 goals every season except for this one, and he’s only, what, 27? (and I’m pretty sure he’s 7-1 in career playoff series.) He is finally flourishing under Sutter. I think there’s a world in which he gets re-signed and it’s a good thing. 

            • Garrett79

              You guys are probably right on Bernier. Maybe it does make more sense to keep him so he continues to push Quick.

              I do see a potential Gagne trade as salary dump and opening up a space for a guy like Toffoli (or whoever can win that spot out of camp in September). The Kings probably can’t get more than maybe a 5th round pick for him, but I’m not sure they lose that trade.

              When it comes to the Stoll/Penner debate, I just don’t see Lombardi as being a very sentimental fellow. He will be happy that they have contributed to this run, but I think he knows that especially Stoll is getting older and less likely to continue contributing much longer.

              Penner will be 30 in September, by the way. Stoll will be 30 on June 24.

              • https://twitter.com/geoffdes78 Geoff DeSouza

                “You guys are probably right on Bernier. Maybe it does make more sense to keep him so he continues to push Quick.”

                Or maybe Quick gets po’d that the Kings continue to feel the need to push him after he damn near got nominated for the Hart and has been a more than solid starter / game stealer for three years now.

                I don’t believe in keeping players around for motivational purposes when they can provide returns on investment in areas that are needed.

          • DougS

            I don’t understand — why trade Bernier? What trade value does he have right now, and why should the Kings even bother trying to trade him?

            As a backup, he’s a more proven quantity than Jones and Zatkoff combined. If you want to free up a logjam in the goalie pipeline and create room for Gibson, trading either Jones or Zatkoff makes more sense.

            • https://twitter.com/geoffdes78 Geoff DeSouza

              “I don’t understand — why trade Bernier? What trade value does he have
              right now, and why should the Kings even bother trying to trade him?”

              You obviously don’t live in Toronto.  People here are begging the Leafs to go out and trade for Bernier to solve their goaltending issues (I think he’s been mentioned twice this week by various people in the media as an ideal candidate).  The issue would be what the Leafs could give up; they’re obviously not trading away their first-round pick, and I don’t know if just getting the #35 pick in the draft is enough of a return.

              He’s still REALLY hyped in NHL circles, and trading him now (there’s a few other teams in need of goaltending help) isn’t a burden.  Quick’s progressed to the point where a more traditional backup like Jones is probably better for the team’s salary structure.

    • DougS

      If Gagne is traded, it’s a pure salary dump. I don’t see that he has any trade value at this point.

  • Dan H.

    As usual I like your takes Quisp but I have to say I don’t think there’s ANY way that Stoll and Penner get a sniff at 4 million.  Remember Frolov?  He scored 19 and got a 1 million dollar one year offer.  Penner has the same “lazy” stigma to him and even though I like him and would like him back, it has to be reasonable and no way is 3-4 million reasonable.

    Stoll is in the same boat.  Strong on faceoffs and USED to be great in shootouts.  His goal scoring hasn’t been great and to be fair that could be part of the TM system.  He’s also STUPID when it comes to taking stick related penalties.

    Quick is due for a big raise and I don’t know what’s fair but he means more to this run than Doughty did and I don’t think he’ll get that kind of money but if he asks for it, he’s earned it more than Drew did before he got his.

    King and Nolan aren’t going anywhere and aren’t getting near 2 million I hope.

    There’s reward for the prize if they win it but you don’t go crazy and Penner and Stoll frankly have been living their bonus the past 2 years without the performance to earn it.

    • http://www.mcsorleys-stick.com/ Quisp

      I do tend to over-estimate the value of pending free agents. However, I should clarify I was thinking of one year deals for both. I would like to see Penner stay, and I don’t have a problem with Stoll leaving. Neither one is in the cards, long term. 

    • https://twitter.com/geoffdes78 Geoff DeSouza

      Coming up big in the playoffs changes anything.  Some desperate team with cap space will easily give Penner his old salary back, if not more.  I think the play is to thank him for a great run, swallow hard, and let him go, much like the Kings forced the Pens to do with Scuderi.

      And, yes, I know the Pens have been trying to replace Scuderi ever since he left.  But they’ve got King as a pretty effective Penner replacement, assuming we’re not living in a fantasy world where Gagne stays healthy and they just run out Philly West as an official line.

  • DougS

    Based on sentiment, I hope that Penner comes back. But I don’t pretend to know how much it would cost or if he would be interested. I suspect that much will depend on whether or not the Kings win this series. If yes, he is redeemed in pretty much everyone’e eyes and his value goes up. If not, instinct tells me that, as far as some people are concerned, perception of him will slide back towards ‘the guy who screwed up his back eating pancakes.’

    I would not mind seeing Stoll go, based mainly on the idea that this was the plan all along, I think. He, Williams, Greene, Smyth and Scuderi were all brought in as high-level bridge players — players who were supposed to show the young core players how to get to where the team is now. I agree that Scuderi will probably be needed beyond his current contract, but the other guys have already done what they were supposed to do.

    Another way of looking at them would be to call them ‘Moses’ players —show the way to the Promised Land, but it’s not necessarily part of the plan that they get to enjoy all of its fruits.

  • DougS

    I guess there’s a limit to how many comments will nest?

    “You obviously don’t live in Toronto.  People here are begging the Leafs to go out and trade for Bernier to solve their goaltending issues (I think he’s been mentioned twice this week by various people in the media as an ideal candidate).”

    Correct; I don’t live in Toronto and don’t know what they’re buzzing about up there. But I still don’t see why the Kings would trade Bernier at this point. I disagree with your premise that it’s better to have Jones as the backup, and I agree with Quisp that Bernier is a great insurance policy for the Kings. Whether or not he has any chance of usurping Quick, there’s always the chance that Quick will get hurt. If that happens, would you rather have a moderately-priced and proven Bernier next in line, or a completely unproven but slightly cheaper Jones?

    I still maintain that Lombardi will hang onto both Quick and Bernier up until the point when it becomes clear that he can’t afford to keep both. I had thought that point would be next summer, but as Quisp points out, Bernier is still only RFA at that point and the Kings still own him body and soul. I can see trading Bernier to fill a definite need, but where is that need right now? Maybe a need will become apparent by the next trade deadline, but I don’t see one now.

    • https://twitter.com/geoffdes78 Geoff DeSouza

       ” or a completely unproven but slightly cheaper Jones?”

      … *and* whatever they get in return for Bernier, which is kind of the point.

      If the Leafs are willing to give up a Brett Gardiner (or another team is willing to give up a similar prospect), SOLD.  That’s unlikely, which is why you have to examine the options.  Heck, Detroit is probably in the market, Montreal would obviously kill to get their hands on him… you have to take advantage of his black box status now before he actually plays 40 games in a season.

      Remember: Bernier’s a .910 SV% guy.  Could be be more? Possibly, but his hype has always outpaced his actual performances unless he happens to be playing against the Preds (I’d say he’s Jamie Storr 2.0, but that might be a little unfair).  I’ve got no problem in assuming that Jones would be capable of performing to a similar level in a backup role, at a cheaper cost and with a potential return in the form of a forward prospect.

      The Kings are screwed either way if Quick gets hurt.  No sense paying a backup any additional money once you acknowledge that fact.  But this team doesn’t really need any prospects in net or on D lying around, and they need help up front on the wings (as usual).