Welcome Back Kubiak!
Keep Calm and Chive on
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Southern California
Originally Posted by chadta
now onto the laughing stock of the kings, come on dood, the penguins are young and good, your just young, there is a difference.
What the **** does the penguins have to do with this conversation? Penguins have Malkin and Crosby. There isn't anyone on the Kings with that kind of talent, the closest is Kopitar who I project to be the next Joe Thornton. However the Kings have more younger players on the roster right now and a deeper pipeline than the Penguins. As a result, the Kings will have a deeper team and depth. Plus our Blueline, headlined by Doughty will be one of the best in the NHL soon.
Even your hero Bill Clement agrees...
Kings Aiming for a Rise to Royalty
By Bill Clement
updated 3:58 p.m. MT, Wed., Dec. 10, 2008
Last season the Kings tied the Lightning for fewest points (71) in the NHL. Consider that rock bottom for them because they’ve gone to a full-blown youth movement that makes them the best positioned team in the NHL to within three years or so complete the great leap from poor house to powerhouse.
By the 2010-11 season the Kings should have the caliber of talent where they could not only contend for the Western Conference championship but also for the Stanley Cup.
So while it’s surprising that two weeks into December they are flirting with a .500 record, it’s not about this season for the Kings. They likely won’t make the playoffs but the future promises to be extremely bright.
Two months after last season ended, the Kings made a coaching change, hiring Terry Murray to replace Marc Crawford. Murray has been behind the bench with young teams before in Washington, Philadelphia and Florida. Although he was last a head coach with the Panthers in 2001, he’s a constant student of the game. He was an assistant coach with the Flyers last season and played a vital part in their run to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Murray is the right man for the Kings because of his philosophical approach to coaching, which is preaching to your team the need for a deep dedication to defense. The quickest way to get competitive with any team is to improve defensively. Murray should be credited for his ability to get all his players on the same page and united towards achieving one objective – keeping the puck out of their net. The Kings are the most improved defensive team in the NHL because they have bought into Murray’s system.
Last season the Kings ranked 28th in the league in goals against average (3.21). Under Murray they have moved up to 12th, which clearly shows the coach is getting his message across. And what shows that even more is they have gone from last season’s average of allowing 32 shots per game (28th in the NHL) to being tied for first in that category (25.6).
A preseason look at the Kings’ defensemen didn’t knock anyone’s socks off. They are young, old or average but there have been two big surprises with this group. The first is the immediate emergence of Drew Doughty, who was taken with the No. 2 overall pick in June’s draft. He’s shown tremendous poise for a 19-year-old while performing excellently at both ends of the ice. On offense he’s very assertive in a confident way. He’s been anything but overwhelmed playing at the NHL level. He’s playing like he belongs and there’s nothing not to like about him. Doughty’s been so impressive that he leads the team in time on ice per game (23.27).
The second surprise from the rearguards is how well Kyle Quincey has played since the Kings claimed him off waivers from the Red Wings on Oct. 13. Quincey couldn’t get many minutes in Detroit given the logjam of blueline talent the Stanley Cup champions possess but he’s been a real nice addition to the Kings. He has jet-propelled skating ability, moves the puck and competes hard.
And actually a third surprise that ties into the overall improvement defensively by the Kings is that they have achieved it without one of their promising young blueliners in Jack Johnson, who underwent surgery Oct. 14 to repair a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder. He’s not expected back until late January.
So while the present is an upgrade over the recent past, the real excitement for this franchise lies ahead and it’s not that far away. In June’s draft the Kings had six picks in the first three rounds. Besides Doughty they also got a first-rounder in Colten Teubert, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound defenseman whose highly touted for his punishing play and his toughness.
Among the other high draftees of last summer who figure prominently in the team’s future plans are defenseman Vyacheslav Voinov (2nd round), defenseman Andrew Campbell (3rd round), center Robbie Czarnik (3rd round) and left wing Geordie Wudrick (3rd round).
By drafting Doughty, Teubert, Voinov and Campbell, Kings general manager Dean Lombardi has built a good portion of the infrastructure of Los Angeles’ future blueline. The Kings will have good quality depth in this unit very soon.
It will be interesting to see how the team’s goaltending picture evolves over the next couple of seasons. Gone is Dan Cloutier, who did not play nearly as well as expected and was hurt a lot during his two seasons in Los Angeles. Erik Ersberg and Jason LaBarbera are sharing the load at present but three talented prospects Jonathan Bernier, Jon Quick and Jeff Zatkoff are on the horizon.
The Kings struggle to score as they rank 23rd in goals per game (2.56). In the short-term Murray is stressing to his team to shoot more. But come the 2009 draft it would not be surprising for Lombardi to focus on adding scoring centers and wingers.
Besides having so much promising young talent in the pipeline, another huge factor in the expected transformation of the Kings into one of the league’s elite teams is they have the most salary cap flexibility of any team in the NHL. This season they have about $13 million in cap space. And beyond the 2010-11 season, they’ll have only three players under contract: center Anze Kopitar, who is an absolute blue-chipper, winger Dustin Brown, who is their captain and a young, tough defenseman, Matt Greene.
So with cap flexibility and no financial burden of long-term contracts, Lombardi has put the Kings in great position to fill any needs they might have in what will be a belt tightening stretch by NHL clubs as they weather the storm economically. With the economy in bad shape not only will a lot of teams not be willing to re-sign some of their players who are coming up for free agency in the next couple of years but there’s also likely to be less competition for the services of these free agents as clubs closely watch their bottom lines. That means not only will Los Angeles (providing ownership gives the green light) be able to get help on the open market, it might well get that help at discount prices.
For Los Angeles this season will have its growing pains for sure. But with the youthful blueprint put in place by Lombardi, Kings fans have something to look forward to and it could well be something real good real soon.
Now you can all shut the **** up.