Usually, Cup-winning teams lose a face or two in the offseason. But every roster player who was an unrestricted free agent re-signed with the Kings, even though they likely could have made more on the open market.
This tidbit from Elliotte Friedman caught my eye, however:
Multiple reports the Stanley Cup winners are looking at Doan, too. Get the sense Dean Lombardi is one of those guys who believes it’s not a good idea for a champion to come back intact. It’s hard enough to repeat without being a little stale.
How much does this reflect what Lombardi is actually thinking, though? So far, we know two things:
2. Every other move has been to keep the 2012 Cup winning team intact.
Given fact #2, I don’t think Lombardi is terribly worried about the danger of getting stale.
Why they won’t get stale
The Kings started the season with Ethan Moreau and Trent Hunter, a non-game-ready Doughty, soon to be replaced by a concussed Doughty, a concussed Richards, Simon Gagne, a momentarily healthy Scott Parse, an injured Dustin Penner, Colin Fraser on the shelf, and Terry Murray. Murray did not appreciate the charms of Trevor Lewis; Lewis thrived under Sutter. Kevin Westgarth had played in 17 of the first 23 games before Sutter arrived; under Sutter, Westy played 7 games out of the remaining 79 (counting playoffs).
Talking about the pre-Sutter days seems like a million years ago. It was last December.
Before: Johnson, Hunter, Moreau, Parse, Westgarth, Gagne, Murray.
After: Voynov, Carter, Nolan, King, Lewis, Fraser, Sutter.
I would also note that every one of the added players played critical roles in the playoff run.
Why they will
Actually, I’m not worried about stale so much as tired. The Kings have just finished a 102 game season and will be right back at it with less rest than they’re used to. And aside from Gagne, everyone has played a ton of games. There will be no rest for the weary. (And it won’t help to sign fresh-legged youngster Shane Doan, either.)
If Lombardi sticks to his usual M.O. of keeping the kids (Loktionov, King, Nolan…Toffoli) in the mix, I think the Kings will start 2012 (or whenever the next season is) in a much better place than they started 2011.
Also, there’s this:
Nobody wants to see a work-stoppage. But if there’s any team that stands to benefit from the season starting a few weeks late, it’s the Kings. More rest, shortened schedule…better chance of a repeat? Yeah, I think so.
Heh. I just said repeat. Sounds funny. Repeat, repeat.