Is signing Jarret Stoll a “must-do”?

I’ve decided that one of my summer projects will be to create a database with graphs charting the mood of Helene Elliott. First, though, we’ll be looking at this summer’s roster issues, pending UFAs and RFAs, logjams…you know, the fun summer stuff. Helene’s article from this morning gets the ball rolling.

Helene Elliott: Kings will be expecting more of this – latimes.com

Most of their key players are signed long-term except for playoff MVP Jonathan Quick, who has one year on his contract. The Kings can begin negotiating an extension with him July 1 and that will be a priority. Re-signing center Jarret Stoll, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, is another must-do. Winger Dustin Penner, also eligible for unrestricted free agency, made up for a lackluster regular season with an assertive playoff performance but might have to take a cut from the $4.25 million he earned last season.

Quick’s stock has risen — um, a bit — in the last month, and he’s clearly in line for triple his current salary, if not more. I agree with H.E. that Penner is likely to be offered a pay-cut compared to his previous offer-sheet driven salary (though I wouldn’t rule out someone like, say, Toronto, doing something stupid — Brian Burke, after all, signed Penner out of college).

But I’m of several minds on the topic of Jarret Stoll:

  • Stoll is 30. This is the last “big” UFA contract he’s likely to get. The next one will be for Stoll in his wily veteran years. This one, he’s just on the other side of the hill, but not yet “over” it.
  • Stoll is locked into the role of “third line two-way forward who wins face-offs and chips in with a goal or two”. I’m not diminishing the importance of that job. It’s important. Michal Handzus, Eric Belanger, etc.. Those guys are important (Handzus was key to the Kings’ success from 2009-2011) but not as rare as, oh, top-six snipers, or even excellent shut-down defensemen (e.g. Scuderi, Mitchell). Is it really worth it to commit $3-4MM to a guy that can be found on the free agent market without much difficulty, or even at the trade deadline if the need arises?
  • Stoll is not likely to want a short contract. Maybe Lombardi can get him to take one, but since Stoll knows his next deal (after this one) will be for “old” Stoll, he’s going to want this one to be as long as possible. Three or four years, not two. Do the Kings want $3MM worth of Jarret Stoll through 2015 or 2016? Will another team be willing to offer that?
  • Signing Stoll to a one-year deal, or two at the most, would leave more room when certain other contracts need to be renegotiated. I’m thinking of Quick (2013) and Brown (2014). Not to mention the fact that the list of free agents deserving new deals in 2013 is daunting (Voynov, Loktionov, Nolan, Clifford, Lewis, Bernier, Quick, Martinez, Scuderi). King and Fraser are RFA and UFA respectively this summer. Including Penner and Stoll (from this year’s crop) and Gagne (from next year’s), that’s 14 players from this year’s team who are due for new contracts between now and next summer (16 if you count Drewiske and Richardson, both of whom expire in 2013). Which of those players should Lombardi cast to the wind in order to retain Jarret Stoll’s 10-15 goals for three or four more years?
  • The logjam. Stoll is a third line center. He’s not really suited to wing, as we’ve seen over the last couple of years. Andrei Loktionov is waiting in the wings. He’s ready to go. Offensively, his floor is Stoll’s ceiling. Yes, I know he’s not a “shut-down” center. But Kopitar and Richards, despite being top-six, are shut-down centers. The third line can have a different role than the usual one assigned to its line “number.”
  • The goal-scoring issue has not yet gone away. It’s reasonable to expect Kopitar, Brown, Richards, Carter, Penner, Gagne and Williams to regress to their various means, which on the whole will result in many more goals. But the Kings were at the bottom of the league in scoring for most of the season, and their power-play was a blight. Jarret Stoll’s contribution to the power-play is generally to shoot wide. A Kings’ team with Andrei Loktionov and Tyler Toffoli on it will score more goals.
  • If you add Stoll to Kopitar, Brown, Williams, Gagne, Richards, Carter and Penner, that’s eight forwards (nearly the entire top three lines) all locked-in, with no room for any developing players to, well, develop. And developing players have to be allowed to develop. Because prospects must continue to percolate their way into the line-up from below, or the cap budget won’t work a year or two down the road.
  • I think I would rather have Penner for three more years at $3.5MM than Stoll at more or less the same price. Because: Penner/Richards/Carter seems to have found some chemistry; and LW2 has historically been a tough slot to fill. (Oh, if we think we’re signing Zach Parise, then both Penner and Stoll are almost certainly gone — but I don’t think that’s in the cards); Penner can at the very least bridge the gap until (for example) Toffoli (or Schumacher, or Kitsyn etc.) are ripe.
  • If you’re comparing Stoll to Loktionov, don’t forget that Loktionov is going to get older and better, while Stoll is going to get older and worse. I don’t think Loktionov is going to have too much trouble scoring 20+ goals a year, once he starts getting a regular shift. Do you want to see him do that on another team? Because signing Stoll likely means dealing Loktionov. It might not. Lombardi can still store Loktionov in the AHL for another year. But that’s kind of risky. If I were Loktionov, and I were demoted to Manchester in favor of Jarret Stoll in 2012-13, I would seriously consider the big tax-free bucks of the KHL. I doubt Lombardi wants to chance that. So I think Loktionov would have to be traded, to protect the asset.
  • Which I hope means that Loktionov stays, and Stoll signs with Detroit or whomever.
  •  
    • https://twitter.com/jsalsLA jsalsLA

      the current model of this team, that made them successful, was to be big, gritty, hard on the puck with lots of possession.  lokti just doesn’t fit into that model.  i’m not saying he isn’t good. i’m just saying, i don’t think he fits here.

      it’s going to be interesting to see what penner and stoll do.  from what i’ve seen, i think penner really likes sutter.  i think he also really likes playin with richie and carter.  i don’t think it’s beyond reason that he signs for maybe 2.5 or 3 a year.  stoll is a family man.  would he take a cut to stay with the team and not have to move? or does he wanna lock up the biggest check he can?

      i’d personally love to have them both back on 2 year deals – but i think you’re right in that neither will probably wanna sign that short.

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

        The model you describe, which included Loktionov by the way, was extremely successful in the playoffs after very nearly not even making the playoffs. I’m talking one or two wins away from playing golf in April. The Kings problem areas are scoring five-on-five and scoring on the power play. Stoll is not much help in those areas, and he’s not going to suddenly blossom. 

        Also, he takes bad penalties. How would game six have turned out had Stoll been called for boarding Gionta before Bernier had a chance to board Scuderi? Because that could easily have happened. And then what? Game seven tonight? 

        • https://twitter.com/jsalsLA jsalsLA

           ”which included loktionov” — that’s a pretty big stretch of a statement.

          lokti played in two games in round one (just barely 8 mins total between the two games) and was completely ineffective.

          the fact that they barely made the playoffs was the result of NOT playing with this style early in the season. this is the team that went 29-9-3 since picking up carter and bringing in nolan and king – GETTING BIG.  this is the team team that went 16-4 in the playoffs – PLAYING BIG.

          • https://twitter.com/BobKnob2point0 Bob Knob

             Did you not watch the regular season at all? Lokti’s line, when he was at center, completely dominated possession, but just couldn’t score. Lokti isn’t a great finisher, but neither are Lewis or Richardson for that matter, hence the scoring trouble.

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

            I meant the entire season, not just the playoffs. Loktionov played 41 games for the Kings this year. 

            I agree with you that playing big is good. But I don’t think everyone has to play big in the same way. 

      • Garrett79

         Is Jarret Stoll big, gritty, and hard on the puck? No.

        Mike Richards is gritty and hard to play against, but he’s also tiny for a pro hockey player.

        Jeff Carter is big, but the last thing anyone is accusing him of is being gritty.

        You’re over-generalizing what made the Kings successful. You have to have different types of players in the lineup and it’s just as important that you have players who can move the puck well and pot a few goals as having big tough players.

        • https://twitter.com/jsalsLA jsalsLA

           i guess we’re watching two different games then. i agree with you that, in the past, carter wasn’t a gritty guy. he still isn’t a hard-core grinder. but he played in the playoffs with way more grit. he was hitting people more than i’ve ever seen. penner too – using his body, hitting people – totally different game.

          stoll was a beast in the playoffs. he had a lot of hard play in the corners. again – did he do that in the regular season? not really. but that’s not what i’m talking about.

          the call up of nolan and king was done for one single purpose.  GET BIG. nolan and king were effective on this team because they brought their size and used it well to stay on the puck and hit people.

          what i’m talking about is NOT the model that barely got us into the playoffs. the model i’m talking about is the one the WON THE CUP.

      • DougS

        I’ll bet that Lokti finds it easier to strut his stuff under Sutter than he did under Murray. His speed and puck possession skills will make him dangerous on the counterattack, and useful in cycling in the o-zone.

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

          Loktionov actually said as miuch back in December or January. 

      • https://twitter.com/BobKnob2point0 Bob Knob

         ”Stoll is a family man”

        lol, isn’t he dating a hot young starlet or something?

        • DougS

          IIRC, he was dating Rod Stewart’s ex-wife when he came to LA.

          Does that count? :-D

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/XXDOTLSPVBCLIE7JJTPF3BUNJI TomH

      This is the post I was looking for. I think it’s a tough call with Loktionov, and how willing they are to let him develop. Since the King’s are cup champs, there isn’t urgency to stack the roster, and let developing players develop, but at the same time, there is a window of opportunity for the Kings to win as much as possible in the coming years. 

      I’m interested if Stoll doesn’t re-sign, does Lombardi pick up somebody in UFA/trade or does he have enough faith in Loktionov to hold the third line? 

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

        My argument re Stoll applies to any UFA signed for more than 2 years at more than $3MM per year. 

        I also don’t think letting players develop and “winning as much as possible in the coming years” are mutually exclusive. In fact: Voynov, Nolan, King, Clifford, Fraser, Lewis, Loktionov, Martinez…they all had a role this season, some of them huge roles. 

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

          And, obviously, the Kings could easily have missed the playoffs this season, with the same line-up. I don’t think Stoll has much to do with the team’s success, in that sense. 

    • JamesFlagg

      Good points; while Stoll has been a valuable player, the skills he brings as a 3rd line center are usually available for a reasonable price, both salary-wise and in trade value.

      However, I think the real reason to force Loktionov into the lineup next year to to simply keep churning the mix, making sure the veterans know that hungry young players are snapping at their heels…..I can’t remember too many modern-era teams that tried to “bring everybody back” that had a lot of success with it…..The championship will always be a sweet memory for everyone, but change is inevitable. 

    • Saronoff

      - Quick gets a big deal.
      - Bernier goes.
      - Nolan stays but only for the right dollar value – which shouldn’t be hard unless someone else wants to overpay.
      - Same basic idea for Lewis and Clifford.
      - Voynov gets a good deal but nothing crazy unless he lights it up next year.
      - Marty, not sure; depends where Hickey is assuming he’s retained.
      - Retain King as this off-season along
      - Bring back Fraz.
      - Let Richie go

      I think Stoll goes if he won’t take 1.5 mil/year for 2-3 years. Penner stays if he’ll take 3-3.5 with incentives to score and for the team to win. I think Scuderi may go at the end of this deal depending on Muzzin. I love “The Piece” but he or Mitchell have to be replaced by Muzzy at some point.

      Reaching for a large UFA is likely not in the cards. Too many proven pieces to retain. But it also depends on the system and what it produces. You’re going to have to replace older guys with young ones to keep the ball rolling in the salary cap era.

    • Dan H.

      Quisp,  You and I are generally in agreement.

      Stoll isn’t a MUST sign in any case.  The X-factor in this is Gagne.  He’s signed for another year and does he fit in the bottom 6 any better?  I don’t think so.  I think Penner with Richards and Carter is a great fit and they found a groove.

      Lokti isn’t a big banging type but he does add something that we lack and that’s hands and vision with the puck.  He will find more players open than either Kopi or to a lesser extent Richards.  It’s unproven to be sure but just the little glimpes we’ve seen seems to prove this out..or at least add that hope.

      In either case, neither will (or I should say “should”) get the same salary they’ve been getting.  Stoll has been overpaid since we got him IMO and if he doens’t want to take a “team cut” then he’s gone.  Penner is in the same boat but I think his playoff performance put him up a notch as far as who to keep.  I heard an analyst say “he’s one of those guys that just leaves you wanting more all the time”.  I tend to agree. 

      Let’s not forget Frolov who scored 19 goals and was offered a one year one million dollar deal.  He scored 20 a year for what?  5 or 6 years and was much the same moniker.  Took shifts off, thought he could do more, etc…Is Penner going to be offered 1 million?  no, but it won’t be the current rate.

      Quick is going to back up the Brinks truck in July and well deserved.  I hope he realizes he can make good money and still let the team operate in the future…So not milk it for EVERYTHING he deserves type of thing.

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

        Gagne – Loktionov – Toffoli is a 30-20-30 goal line. You heard it here first. (Won’t happen though. Lewis will probably be RW3. Toffoli will probably start in AHL.)

    • Uni

      I project the Stoll situation to unfold pretty easily. I’ve read elsewhere that of all the players most likely to be offered overpaid contracts, it’s Stoll. All Lombardi has to do is determine how much he’d be willing to sign Stoll for and let the chips fall where they may, leaving it up to the player. 

      As for Penner, when you look at the lineup now we suddenly have an interesting logjam at LW. Brown and Penner were awesome top 6 guys these playoffs, but with Gagne returning what happens? Williams and Carter aren’t budging on the RW, so it’s tough to see Brown bumping over…unless he’s on a third line. King has been a revelation and slots perfectly in that 3rd spot LW, with Clifford or Richardson both being good fits for the fourth.

      So what if the lineup sans Stoll looked like this?

      Gagne-Kopitar-Williams

      Penner-Richards-Carter

      King-Lewis/Loktionov-Brown

      Clifford/Richardson-Fraser(?)/Richardson/Rookie-Nolan

      This is basically a lineup that has 7 bonafide top six guys, and offers great options for sliding players around in cases of in****es or lacks of production. Loktionov could get in some games, if not become a mainstay, and King, Clifford, and Nolan could all continue to develop. I’m also all for bringing Fraser back.

    • DougS

      I read that article, too, and was just flattened by the assumption that re-signing Stoll is going to be a high priority. Seriously? Did someone important in the organization tell her this flat-out? I find that hard to believe.

      I have always assumed that Stoll, Williams, Scuderi and to a lesser extent, Greene, were all brought in with a certain degree of planned obsolescence in mind. They were brought in not just to play hockey, but specifically because they had SCF experience that could be taught to the younger players. None of them were truly indispensable apart from that function.

      Having fulfilled that purpose, each is now ironically a little less valuable to the team. The “intangible” of having SCF experience is no longer part of the equation in judging Stoll’s value to the Kings, so his shortcomings as a hockey player are more glaring.

      Like I’ve said before, I’d prioritize re-signing Penner to re-signing Stoll, but even then, that’s based mostly on sentiment and the amusement value of having Penns around for at least another season. He’s funny, and he’s the only NHL player to serve me pancakes.

      Anyway, you can bet that Quisp sees exactly what Dean Lombardi is seeing when he looks at his depth chart. Why can’t Helene Elliott see it? The information is just a Capgeek link away. That’s why the Times sports page is largely irrelevant to me now; I rarely learn anything new or interesting from it.

      • Dan H.

        Helene has been a Kings hater or at least a malicious poster about the Kings for years now.  She jumped on with everyone else when she didn’t have a choice.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/RVGR2VMPDVS7XKD7NNLROPUZQQ Professor meow meows

      I think Lombardi’s goal is going to be “To get better” and that will take priority over rewarding Loaylty. Carter and Richards are going to play good with whoever is on their line. DL is going to offer Stoll and Penner the least amount he thinks they will take 2.5 for penner 2.2 for stoll. King will probably fetch 3-3.5 We have allot of young promising players looking to make their way up the ranks and now that LA is a bonsfide winner outside players will be looking to take a paycut to come here and other teams wont hesitate to offer top dollar to current/ex Kings. We are going “To get better” this off season, i see another big name Parise, Iginla, someone coming here. I see a story coming here. Just my hunch/opinion. 

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

        King is an RFA. Unless someone offer sheets him, he’s not getting 3-3.5MM. Someone mocked me for suggesting 2-2.5MM. 

        I agree with your general assessment though. “get better” > “loyalty”

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

        Lombardi may (will probably) not offer Penner or Stoll a contract right away, since he (Lombardi) will be looking at bigger fish first. This obviously increases the chances that those guys end up somewhere else. Certainly Lombardi, Hextall, Robitaille and Leiweke are talking about which big UFAs are desirable. By which I mean, how much to offer Zach Parise. 

      • Dan H.

        I think you overestimate King on a full season basis.  One half season with 5 goals and the same in the playoffs shouldn’t make someone an instant 3.5 million a season guy when we’re talking about dropping pay on guys who have done it in the past.

        Just my opinion though.

    • YzGuy

      the Detroiter’s perspective:

      1. 30 is young.
      2. When you have an employee who does job really well, fits in well with your other employees, takes pride in his role and wants to be a part of your team, sign him long term.
      3. reward loyalty.
      4. keep it in the family.

      • DougS

        If Stoll was a core player, I might agree with you. But Stoll is not a core player; he’s a complementary player. And the salary cap requires that you make difficult decisions. I would think that Quisp’s analysis made that clear.

        The only way that I would sign Stoll to a long-term contract is if the terms made it tradable on a moment’s notice, in case you needed the cap room in a hurry.Are you really arguing that re-signing Stoll should be just as important as extending Quick? Because a big part of the discussion here is what you can afford under the salary cap, and setting priorities based on maintaining the depth and overall strength of the team.

        Frankly, that’s a lot harder than setting out simplistic and virtuous-sounding pronouncements about how you do things in Detroit. ;-)

        • YzGuy

          my post was tongue-in-cheek…but i guess that didn’t come across. If you do it the Detroit way you end up with a bunch of Clearys and Bertuzzis and the occasional Modano….In other words too many reclamation projects.

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

            I understood. And the fact that 30 is young is part of the problem, because Stoll is going to want real money, and it’s the money that messes up the budget down the road. 

      • Dan H.

        I think they paid him VERY well the past few years when he wasn’t worth that much…loyalty served IMO.

        He’s great at faceoffs and shooting pucks wide on the power play.  He’s a role player and had some great moments (OT winner in Vancouver) but it doesn’t justify throwing extra millions.

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

        We’ll see how loyal he is when he has no contract on July 2

    • m_and_m

      I am basically in agreement with you, Quisp.  The philosophy here must always be if you don’t get better, you get worse and standing pat is usually a bad policy for even the best of teams.

      The question should be at what price can we afford to resign Stoll or Penner.  For Penner, I don’t see Lombardi paying any price that would keep him.  He certainly can’t be retained for anything like the 4.25 mil he’s making now and Gagne is a more than capable replacement as a 2nd line lw.  Penner did enough at the end of the season and in the playoffs to make him attractive to some teams, Detroit perhaps, but probably not the Kings.

      Stoll is of course a much more difficult decision, but again the question is not sign or not sign but what price and what term.  He’s a fine 3rd line center at 1.5 to 2 mil but not at 3 and unless he is willing to give a “home team discount” he will probably be gone.

      I expect Loktionov and Vey and perhaps Cliche to compete for the 3rd line center (Moller?).  I would expect those same three to compete for Fraser’s spot since I would be surprised if he returns as well.  Gagne will be the 2nd line lw and Toffoli will get a year of seasoning at Manchester.

      This is all barring a preemptive strike at a free agent or a preemptive strike by the players association.

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

        Vey is still a boy though. Moller has converted to wing. Vey can be brought along slowly. Lokti has another year of waiver exemption. Moller and cliche donot. I don’t think gagne can be trusted as lw2 at this point. If he gets hurt and penner ids gone, we’re back to the same old lw problem. Therefore I think Gagne inherets the overpaid third liner role and stoll moves on.

      • BringBackTheShieldJersey

        I disagree that it’s not a question of whether to sign or not to sign, but at what price.

        It’s largely about slots (or boxes, as DL would put it). Do you want Stoll taking up that slot, or would someone else be better? And the reasons for being “better” are varied. Personally, I’m not a fan of Loktionov. I don’t think that, on balance, he brings as much as Stoll. Lokti is someone you would have to protect, giving him lots of starts in the 0-zone. So while he MAY score 20 goals, he would more likely be a liability other teams will look to exploit. He is also too nervous with the puck, although this may change without TM’s poor handling of young, offensive, forwards. Maybe he should go on a 4th line instead of a 3rd and thus get less minutes.

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

          Stoll isn’t signing at a discount. A hometown discount for him would still be $3MM+, anyway.

          A few other points:

          – Loktionov is protected, to use your word, primarily in terms of zone starts. But Stoll is protected, also. His qualcomp is significantly below Kopitar’s and Richards’, and it’s not even close. 
          – You say Loktionov “may” score 20, but frankly, if he isn’t capable of 25-30 goals / season, there’s no point in discussing him. That’s why he’s here. He’s not a checking forward. 
          – I wouldn’t say that Stoll is excellent at defense (c.f. Handzus) and he obviously isn’t excellent at offense. What he “brings” is a little bit of everything, and small deficits in every area. 
          – You can’t compare a decent 30 year old two-way forward third liner like Stoll to a 22 year old prospect like Loktionov. 
          – Datsyuk didn’t play a game in the NHL until he was 23, and didn’t score more than 10 or 11 goals till his third season, when he was 25. 
          – Loktionov is 22. 
          – The risk in letting Stoll walk is insignificant. He goes somewhere else for $3-4MM and scores 18 goals for someone else. 
          – The risk in letting Loktionov go is huge. Bigger than letting Moulson or Purcell go. 
          – You keep Loktionov over Stoll because of three seasons from now, and because you need players with different skill sets. 
          – And because, no matter what happens, it’s a guarantee that Loktionov will get better over time and Stoll will not. 

          Gagne – Loktionov – Lewis or King – Loktionov – Toffoli or even Gagne – Loktionov – Toffoli. 

          That’s the cure for the team that finished last in the league in scoring five on five. More Jarret Stoll is more of exactly what you’ve seen already.

          • DougS

            “You can’t compare a decent 30 year old two-way forward third liner like Stoll to a 22 year old prospect like Loktionov.”

            One would think that Kings fans, of all people, would understand this fallacy. Giving up on young players because you’re trying to compare them apples-to-apples with older players who have already topped out on the development curve is a big part of what kept this franchise behind the 8-ball for so long.

    • number 6

      I heard somewhere, maybe radio, maybe television, someone mentioning the Bill Bellicheck model…. how he would never remain static after winning their Super Bowls. The idea that you have to keep changing and evolving. That really does make sense. 
      I’m not all that certain that Stoll was an essential piece during the season. Much more in the playoffs, especially as he had already experienced a Gm 7 Finals loss.

      As for Penner, I don’t think it can be underestimated, not only the excellent playoffs that he had, but also the whole trajectory of his experience with the Kings. How poorly it went for so long, his humility with the pancakes story and then getting better and better…. plus the fact that his character and sense of humor really does seem to be like a great element to have in a locker room…. especially during any difficult stretches.

      Finally as Quisp points out, the importance of a LW2 slot that isn’t always easy to fill. I’m less than convinced that over an 82 game season King is up to filling it offensively at this point in time.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/CTBWMGXPWY7ZCBMAXHRH2RMS5E/ Don

      There’s no way I’d bring Stoll back, and Penner only comes back on a team friendly deal, which I don’t see happening. However I think Fraser should be the main target of these three to be brought back, and moved up to 3rd line center replacing Stoll, with Lokti replacing Fraser 4th line. Gagne slots in to the LW2 role, eventually to be Tof’s.

      Brown-Kopi-Williams
      Gagne-Richards-Carter
      King-Fraser-Lewis
      Nolan-Lokti-Richardson
      (Clifford, Westgarth)

      • DougS

        Depending on Lombardi’s definition of “team-friendly,” I wouldn’t be 100% surprised if Penner instructs his agent to take it. It sounds like he really wants to come back.

    • Uni

      They played on the same line so it’s tough to statistically back up the thought that Lewis is better defensively than Stoll, though for my money he is. I’ve thought for a while he’d be a natural fit to replace Stoll.
      Loktionov is really quite a question mark this season. I believe he’s ready, if given a shot, to be productive. If he adds that many more goals, than Stoll’s face offs in the d-zone may theoretically not be as important, should games not be so close in the Kings’ favor. How intense would a King-Lewis-Brown line be? Seriously? I know the old “Brown is a third liner in top 6 clothes” angle sounds a bit archaic after this year’s incredible playoff run, but if he, God forbid, goes on a decent cold streak this season how many people are going to be sulking about Brown “not being the player he used to be” or something like that? The beauty of this third line is that if Penner is resigned and Gagne back in the lineup, is that Brown could step up and take either of their spots should either get h**t or  go on a slump. Meanwhile I do believe that it would be another deep line capable of putting in some goals and could play against any opposing line. I think the Kings would really wear teams down.

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

        Lewis is much better than stoll in my opinion and more versatile.

        Sent from my Droid Charge on Verizon 4G LTE

      • https://twitter.com/BobKnob2point0 Bob Knob

         I think Lewis is a good replacement for Stoll, in terms of filling the same role. But if you have him at 3C, where does Lokti go? Perhaps use Lewis as 4th line center?

        I think DL really needs to put Lokti together with a good strength coach and put some muscle and strength on him, it’d be silly easy to get this kid strong. Otherwise, I think he is going to always be the odd man out.

        Right now he can’t compete physically in the corners and such because he’s small and easily pushed around, and isn’t strong enough himself to move anyone when he has the chance (Stoll is also smallish but he is pretty strong and can lay some big hits when he gets moving). Like it or not, this game is also physical and the puck often moves slowly around the corners, neutralizing Lokti’s skill advantage over other players.

    • DougS

      BTW, I’m pleased that Cliche got a new contract, but a little surprised about Clune. He’s got to be well down on the depth chart and beyond the point where he’s considered a prospect. Do the Monarchs really need him  that much?

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

        Well, Lombardi wouldn’t sign him (I don’t think) just so the Monarchs could have him. That’s a valuable contract spot. I assume he has signed him in order to protect him as an asset. Clune has been passed over on the depth chart quite a bit lately, but that doesn’t mean he won’t have an NHL career. 

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

          To clarify, the Monarchs can and do sign people independently. 

        • Alobarisright

           I really doubt he will make it back to the NHL. He’s small-ish, fights a lot and loses, and is probably a bit crazy (well, he HAS to be). He’s probably good at being a pest, but that doesn’t mean he will fill that role in the NHL well.

          imo

    • angelofdeath

      I’m hoping somebody does something stupid and takes the decision out of our hands… I love how he played during the playoffs, but we have to make room for Loktionov and see what he is and what he can be…