Rob Scuderi is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent early next month, and the Kings’ veteran defenseman could go that route if he decides it’s best for him and his family. Scuderi talked last week about finding a comfort zone with the Kings over the last four seasons. He also said when asked about his future with the team:
Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi was as baffled by the Kings’ lack of road success, especially during the playoffs, as anyone else. It was perhaps the main reason the Kings were eliminated from the conference finals in five games by the Chicago Blackhawks. The Kings lost all three games they played in Chicago and dropped eight of nine on the road overall in the postseason. Last year, they were 10-1 on the road during the playoffs.
Drew Doughty of the Kings, whose role was expanded greatly during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, finished ninth in voting for the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman. P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens was the winner, with Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild second and Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins third. Doughty played in all manner of roles this past season and teamed with Robyn Regehr to form the Kings’ shutdown pair for the stretch run of the regular season and the playoffs.
Kings captain Dustin Brown was a finalist for the Mark Messier Leadership Award won by Daniel Alfredsson of the Ottawa Senators. Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks also was a finalist for the award, which goes to “the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season.” Messier solicits fans and team and league personnel to compile a list of candidates and then makes the final selection himself. In addition to being the Senators’ captain for the last 10 seasons, Alfredsson also has worked with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Ottawa.
Kings center Anze Kopitar finished fourth in voting for the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward. Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks, Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins and Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings finished ahead of Kopitar. The Kings’ leading scorer for the sixth consecutive season, Kopitar recorded 42 points in 47 games (10 goals, 32 assists) during the lockout-shortened regular season.
So, what’s next for Kings right wing Tyler Toffoli? Kings coach Darryl Sutter would like the 21-year-old to gain strength and stamina before training camp begins in September. Sutter might also consider switching Toffoli from the right wing to the left in order to make that side of the ice a little stronger than it’s been the last two seasons. Dustin Brown is the Kings’ top left wing, but the production on that side drops off considerably. Toffoli could fill the void, if the Kings decide to go in that direction.
Tyler Toffoli knows all about the increased speed and sense of urgency that comes with climbing the ladder as a professional hockey player. After all, he’s climbed it at a great speed and with a keen sense of urgency. The Kings’ right wing scored 100 points (52 goals, 48 assists) in 65 games with the junior-level Ottawa 67s in 2011-12. Then he scored 51 points (28 goals, 23 assists) in 58 games with the Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs of the American Hockey League in 2012-13 and was named the Rookie of the Year. He also scored five points (two goals, three assists) in 10 games with the Kings.
John Stevens, an assistant coach with the Kings for the past three seasons, is considered the front-runner for the vacant Vancouver Canucks head-coaching position and is expected to be interviewed by the team later this week, according to a report. The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper, reported on its website that the defensive-minded Stevens would be a good fit for the Canucks. Vancouver fired Alain Vigneault after the San Jose Sharks upset the Canucks in the first round of the playoffs.
The Kings failed to defend their Stanley Cup championship, with the Chicago Blackhawks knocking them off in the Western Conference finals. Kings captain Dustin Brown shared his thoughts on where the Kings fell short in their bid to become the first team to repeat as champions since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and ’98. Said Brown:
Kings captain Dustin Brown wasn’t right during the Chicago Blackhawks’ five-game victory in the Western Conference finals. Brown revealed after the Kings’ double-overtime loss in the decisive Game 5 that he played with a torn knee ligament. Days later, in his exit interview with reporters, he detailed how the injury impacted his play.