What I would like to see the Kings do this season

  • Split the starts between Quick and Bernier, more or less evenly. 28/20. No reason to burn Quick out, or let Bernier die on the vine.
  • Commit to a third line that is fully offensive in nature, not a defensive stopper unit a la xx/Handzus/Simmonds, but a speed and skill line a la Granato/Donnelly/Millen.
  • I nominate Gagne/Loktionov/Toffoli. Come on: with opponents being forced to commit resources to combat the first two lines, Gagne/Lokti/Toffoli would destroy people.
  • Drop Stoll to the fourth line, with big mean bookends a la Clifford, King or Nolan.
  • Deal Brad Richardson and use Trevor Lewis in the Swiss Army Knife role.
  • Deal Kevin Westgarth and use Clifford, King and/or Nolan to intimidate.
  • Keep Colin Fraser around for when Stoll is bumped up to another line due to injury.
  • Let Thomas Hickey play a little. Start him off with Matt Greene. Let him wear number four.
  • Use Carter on his off-wing on one power-play unit, and Toffoli on his off-wing on the other.
  • Use Kopitar and Loktionov as centers on the power play.
  • Wear the purple and gold throwbacks more.
  • Announce the use of gold and purple alt throwbacks for road use.
  • After cutting Brad Richardson loose, save #15 for Linden Vey.
  • Give #17, #19 or #21 to Toffoli and Loktionov. (Toffoli wore #16 for the 67s — retired — and wears #26 for the Monarchs — taken; Loktionov wore #12 until Gagne bumped him to #48.)
  • Build a virtual David Courtney from old tapes and have him announce the starting line-ups of  every home game this season.
  • Oh, and: repeat.
 

  13 comments for “What I would like to see the Kings do this season

  1. Dan H.
    January 8, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    I like your takes on all counts. Unfortunately I don’t see Westgarth being dealed even though he played way under the amount of games necessary, DL put his name on the cup over say LOKTIONOV.
    I love the third line idea and the Stoll on 4th line idea. Stoll is a master of the faceoff and frankly not much more. He takes dumb penalties with the stick and isn’t a distributor of the puck which centers are frankly supposed to be…and he can’t hit the net with his slapshot anyway
    David Courtney’s voice announcing the lineup would be great for the opener since they have to have him on tape with the current roster. Going forward it would be tough with the kids coming up unfortunately.
    The other key to Handzus’ line scoring was Fro. Dude always was in the doghouse but put 20 + away consistenly and was a puck posession madman.

    • January 9, 2013 at 4:22 PM

      I don’t see Westgarth being dealt either, mainly because I don’t see anyone taking him. But I agree that there isn’t any place for him anymore, and Sutter clearly has less use for him that Murray did. Just cut him loose and don’t worry about getting anything in return for him.

      • January 9, 2013 at 4:24 PM

        Richardson, on the other hand, might get a low draft pick from someone, and I think that would be worth doing. I agree that he’s gone about as far as he’s going to go with the Kings.

  2. January 8, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    The one thing I hate is the whole “energy line” concept used in place of a legitimate third scoring option. It’s one of those idiotic concepts that Hockey Canada has seemingly mandated and has crept like a plague into all areas of hockey. You know what injects energy into a team? SCORING A FUCKLOAD OF GOALS.

    “Split the starts between Quick and Bernier, more or less evenly.”

    Agreed. Although resting Quick doesn’t always work out.

    “Drop Stoll to the fourth line, with big mean bookends a la Clifford, King or Nolan.”

    That works, since he’s more situational than a pure defensive ace.

    “Deal Brad Richardson and use Trevor Lewis in the Swiss Army Knife role.”

    Six of one, half a dozen of the other. More likely they’ll have to waive Richardson, however.

    “Deal Kevin Westgarth and use Clifford, King and/or Nolan to intimidate.”

    This might be politically awkward since he’s so active in the PA.

    “Let Thomas Hickey play a little. Start him off with Matt Greene. Let him wear number four.”

    Still not sold, but they have to see if he can hang in the bigs sooner rather than later, much like Loktionov.

    “Wear the purple and gold throwbacks more.”

    I know you love them, but there’s something to be said for WINNING THE CUP the year they got rid of Purple again. Coincidence…? :)

    “Announce the use of gold and purple alt throwbacks for road use.”

    They’ll probably have a new 3rd jersey next year. This year, jersey sales will be fine enough without them.

  3. January 8, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    Your always looking to move on to the next hot thing. Quick isn’t going to get burned out in a half season geesh! And no don’t push Lokti into a spot just cause Kopi is down. We got plenty of depth way ahead of Lokti with more proven ability. And oh yeah trade Westgarth. When do enforcers ever get traded for anything of value? How about we change nothing given its a half season, guys have had plenty time to rest and heal and they all proved themselves last year. Let the kids rock on in Manchester. No need to rush especially this year.

    • January 9, 2013 at 12:48 PM

      I believe I said elsewhere that I would put Carter in Kopitar’s place. I would bring up Loktionov in Stoll’s place. Re Westgarth: yeah I don’t really care how you deal with him; there just isn’t room for him. Re Quick: it’s not the length of the season, it’s the compression of the schedule combined with the fact that Quick hasn’t played in seven months for literally the first time ever.

    • January 14, 2013 at 3:22 PM

      “When do enforcers ever get traded for anything of value?”

      Oops.

  4. WantedPlayerX
    January 11, 2013 at 6:05 AM

    Commit to a third line that is fully offensive in nature, not a defensive stopper unit a la xx/Handzus/Simmonds, but a speed and skill line a la Granato/Donnelly/Millen. I nominate Gagne/Loktionov/Toffoli. Come on: with opponents being forced to commit resources to combat the first two lines, Gagne/Lokti/Toffoli would destroy people.

    Loktionov is not an answer, and if he is, it’s the wrong question. The guy does not yet fit the system, and saying “yet” is being generous, I fear. He is close to being a one-trick pony, and that trick is thwarted regularly. He simply does not excel defensively especially in the tough areas/corners, has limited versatility, and his offensive production is a disappointment.

    Lokti had tons of time during the regular season, including power play time and good linemates, with disappointing results. He’s young, too, and while that may be a positive regarding eventual up-side, he plays young. My point crystallizes when I see you compare a line involving Lokti to a line involving Mullen, as I remember Mullen’s impotence against a certain guy named John LeClaire in overtime.

    Gagne plays carefully, almost as if he has had serious head injuries and is trying to be protective of himself. I respect him, he works hard, he is a viable threat and capable defensively, but he does not the exhibit the “wild abandonment” of play like Richards, Greene, Brown, even Kopi. Toffoli is completely unproven. Lokti can’t finish at the NHL level for whatever reason, does not make his teammates better at the NHL level for whatever reason, and is easily and regularly knocked off the puck at both ends of the rink. This line would indeed destroy people; sadly, that would be his teammates.

    Stoll/Lewis/King are exactly what is needed; a 40-60 line of offense/defense. The ability to disrupt and deflate the opponent’s top lines, while wielding a very potent threat offensively, is an indispensable component. As well, there is very little room for experimentation in the shortened schedule, plus one of the greatest advantages the Kings have over other teams is that everyone is familiar, no new wrinkles to work out, no new chemistry to be established.

    Mixing guys in is one thing, injury and prevention of same will warrant roster moves “involuntarily” as the season progresses. To voluntarily re-design 2 complete lines injecting one guy that has not worked out, another that needs to be considered at least somewhat fragile and a risk when considering a playoff grind, and a totally un-established rookie in place of a Cup-winning mix is a risk that is for me totally un-warranted.

    You may sense I feel strongly about it, not sure if that came thru here. Nyuk nyuk.

    • January 11, 2013 at 6:55 AM

      Corey Millen.

      King/Stoll/Lewis would not be played against anybody’s top lines. That responsibility belongs to Kopitar’s and Richard’s lines. The reason Loktionov has not been effective so far is that he hasn’t regularly skated with anyone who can finish.

      The Kings’ problem is not defense. It’s scoring. A full season of Stoll in 2011-12 and the Kings came within a game or two of missing the playoffs entirely.

      • WantedPlayerX
        January 11, 2013 at 8:47 AM

        A full season of Jarrett Stoll…?
        A partial season with Hunter and Moreau. A partial season without King and Nolan. A partial season with Jack Johnson, or without Jeff Carter. 39 games with Andre Loktionov. 34 games with Terry Murray….I mean, to say that Stoll was why we barely made the playoffs is quite the leap. In my mind it was getting the lineup that could handle the current Sutter system, and having time for the players to adjust as it evolved.

        Also, you can hope that you get the line matchups you want, rendering King/Stoll/Lewis not against certain lines, etc., but of course there will be times when the matchup does not go your way.

        The Kings problem WAS defense, not scoring. The “lack of scoring” meme was not true at the end of the year and thru the playoffs. By a quick count, from March 1 to the end of the regular season the Kings cored 54 goals in 18 games, an even 3 per game on average. That would put them 4th in the league, if done for the full season. In the playoffs the Kings scored at 2.85 per game while maintaining the lowest Goals against at 1.5. The nearest was Ottawa at 2.0, by the way, a stellar performance of defensive hockey, which paired with the 2.85 in goals-for shows you can play defense first and still score, too.

        At least we agree on Gagne.

        • January 11, 2013 at 9:23 AM

          Lack of scoring wasn’t a meme, it was a fact for most of the regular season. The playoffs were, as you point out, another story. I do agree with you about Moreau and Hunter (blegh and double blegh) and I thought Terry Murray should have been fired two years ago. And Jack Johnson is fairly terrible. So those are several points of agreement.

          I didn’t say that Stoll was THE reason for anything. It’s not his fault. He’s a perfectly fine bottom six forward and face-off guy. it’s not his fault he’s overpaid, nor that he’s often asked to do things he’s not really qualified to do. My main problem with Stoll is two-fold:

          (1) He’s not as good offensively as, say, Loktionov, and he’s not as good defensively as, say, Handzus. He’s betwixt and between. He’ll do in a pinch. But he’s a compromise. An expensive one.

          (2) I believe that the main reason the Kings struggled to score under Terry Murray is that the forward lines were usually three versions of the same line, playing the same way (and a fourth line that barely played), rather than building a roster that employs different lines for dramatically different purposes. On the Kings, because of the way Richards and Kopitar play, there really is no reason to have a third line that is defensive in nature (since the top two lines have that job), or is even a hybrid (like the top two lines). In fact, if you try to do that, you can hardly avoid making a line that is just a lesser version of those other two lines.

          • WantedPlayerX
            January 11, 2013 at 9:51 AM

            #2- Interesting, like it. I remember hearing Minnesota lauded for their early season record (when they were league-best maybe 40 games in?) because they did have 4 lines that all played the same way, and I agreed but wondered if that doomed them to come down to the lowest talent level, or would allow them to continue to play up to their top player’s talent levels.

            I like your take on variety, still worry on vulnerability defensively if caught in bad matchup. If it were just described as keeping Richards and Kopi lines intact, but also having a light-it-up line offensively added to the other two lines, that would indeed be scary. For me the personnel you mentioned might have colored the actual concept.

            Not to harp, but the scoring problem went away convincingly enough for me after March 1, and was “blossoming” previous to that somewhat in February, to the degree I don’t worry about scoring as being a central problem anymore. Gonna think more about it, fun chat.

    • January 11, 2013 at 6:57 AM

      I mentioned Gagne because he’s on the team. I wish he wasn’t. But whatever. You’re going to have to put him somewhere.

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