2013 Kings’ opening night line-up?

The 2013 season starts in 10-14 days. Camp starts in less than a week, I suppose. Anze Kopitar and Willie Mitchell sound like they’re out with knee injuries for at least a few weeks. Tyler Toffoli has been tearing up the AHL. Jonathan Quick either has just been cleared to play (surgery, remember?) or is “seeking” clearance. Jordan Nolan is, if I’m reading the box scores correctly, back from his hand injury. Alec Martinez’s face is healed enough for him to be playing again. Andrei Loktionov didn’t get his name on the cup. David Courtney is dead, which will make the opening night festivities seem “off” no matter what happens. I wonder if the Kings will do what the Clippers did and use a recording of Courtney to introduce the starting line-up. That would be nice.

Anyway, opening night. Who will it be? My guess:

Dustin BrownJeff CarterJustin Williams

Dustin PennerMike Richards – Simon Gagne

Dwight KingJarret StollTrevor Lewis

Jordan Nolan – Colin FraserKyle Clifford

(Kevin Westgarth, Brad Richardson)

Alec Martinez – Drew Doughty

Rob ScuderiSlava Voynov

Jake MuzzinMatt Greene

(Davis Drewiske)

Jonathan Quick/Jonathan Bernier

IR: Kopitar, Mitchell

  • The premise of the line-up above is that Jeff Carter (a natural center) replaces Kopitar on the first line and Gagne takes Carter’s place on the second line.
  • Martinez replaces Mitchell, and Muzzin is recalled to play with Matt Greene on the third pair.
  • There are some interesting alternative possibilities, though. Thomas Hickey has been playing very well in Manchester (and his stats are nearly identical to Muzzin’s). I would kind of love to see him get some action with Mitchell out. I can see him playing really well with Greene, and I have this fantasy that Hickey/Doughty  could actually be an awesome pair (though I understand I’m dreaming at this point). Hickey has put in his time, and we know Lombardi loves to reward “seniority” and all that loyalty stuff which I used to believe from Lombardi until he LEFT LOKTIONOV’S NAME OFF THE CUP. (Sorry.)
  • I was thinking for a minute that Gagne could play with Stoll and Lewis, in which case Toffoli could be recalled to play on Richards’ RW. If that happened, one of King or Nolan would have to stay in Manchester (or else one of Clifford, Westgarth or Richardson would have to be let go). Really, I don’t think we’ll see Toffoli until the slew of groin injuries that are inevitable with all these out of shape forwards being thrown into action so quickly, in a compressed schedule no less.
  • With Quick coming off injury and a short to non-existent training camp coming, I expect Bernier to get many more starts (relatively).
 
  • Kings of Hockeywood

    I wonder if Bernier will get more starts to show him off to prospective trade partners as well. Or with a shortened season and thus the prospect of an injury to an important player derailing the season, does Lombardi bite the bullet and hold onto him as insurance, only to let him go as an RFA this summer?

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

      lombardi will trade him but not on bernier’s timetable. I don’t think he’ll get more starts as a “showcase” but because with the compressed schedule and quick’s recovery, it makes sense.

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

      If Jones had played better in the AHL, I think you’d see the trade. But right now… nope.

      (Assuming they don’t get a backup back as part of the package, of course.)

  • Kings of Hockeywood

    According to Helene Elliott, Kopitar’s injury is not that serious and it may only keep him out for two weeks, which would mean he would most likely be available on opening night.

    “Kings center Anze Kopitar, is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the knee injury he suffered Saturday. The Kings will immediately get a copy of the test. Initial indications were that it wasn’t serious and would keep him out two to three weeks.”

    from:
    http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-teemu-selanne-dustin-penner-dustin-brown-kevin-westgart-lockout20130106,0,5692940.story

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

      opening night is going to happen sooner than that though, it seems.

  • Kings of Hockeywood

    If I was drawing up the lineup and Kopitar was going to be unavailable I’d probably leave Richards, Carter, and Penner together and just call that the top line. Put Loktionov between Brown and Williams and give him his opportunity to earn a regular spot on the team. Stoll, Lewis, and King can be the 3rd line like in the playoffs. Gagne, Fraser, and Clifford make a hell of a 4th line!

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

      I don’t think Loktionov would come up before Toffoli at this point.

  • Token

    When did Mitchell get injured? Fishing/hunting accident?

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

    I was kicking this around on my walk to work and I think you put Lokti in on the top line. He’s going to be traded at some point, might as well cheat a bit and see if you can up his value. I doubt they get more than a third-round pick for him, but something’s better than nothing.

    Not having Mitchell annoys me. What was their ridiculous record with him in the lineup last year again?

    • SCSF

      It’s nice to showcase trade bait (as opposed to the various “in the doghouse” routines that we’ve witnessed in the past) but I certainly didn’t think Lokti showed anything close to first line talent last year, and every game matters (shit, I really thought I could hold this comment down to two cliches) in this shortened season.

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

        I’d agree with you, but… there are guys who just don’t work right if you play them even remotely out of position because their heads just aren’t wired right for it. I remember watching Peter Zezel slotted into the first line for the early 90s Leafs, pre-Gilmour; he had the talent to do the job, but in his mind he couldn’t handle it. So they turned him back into a third-liner and he should’ve won a couple of Selkes.

        I think you have to check if Lokti is one of those guys who’s the other way around. No time like the present, and I personally don’t like the idea of Carter playing first-line C.

  • Mik3ysfv

    Even Kopitar comes back, Why not go with Kopitar, Carter, Richards, and Lewis down the middle? Roll the lines like a freight train, keep the shifts short, and avoid the groin injuries with which you have now cursed us with. If nothing else this could work for next year. Bring up Toffoli, Vey, Pearson, and Andreoff And see if they can fill out the wings. Of course doing it this year leaves out Fraser. I just have been really intrigued with the thought of the top 3 centermen being Kopi, Carter, and Richards, and giving them relatively equal ice time. A 1A, 1B, and 1C. As you pointed out Carter is a natural centerman, and we have a glut of wingers (possibly).