Fitting in

Rookie defenseman Joe Piskula returned to the lineup last night. He played a solid amount, almost 11 minutes, took one shot and had a minus-1 rating. Piskula obviously is much less heralded than Jack Johnson, but he’s another young defenseman getting a look at the NHL after his college career (at the University of Wisconsin ended). In four games, Piskula doesn’t have a point and has a minus-3 rating.

“It’s been awesome,” Piskula said, “being able to come in with such a great opportunity and get some experience. This team is rebuilding with a lot of talented young guys.”

I asked Piskula about making the news last week. His contract, in which he received a huge bonus simply for playing five games this season, was held up by rival GMs who accused Dean Lombardi of playing fast and loose with the rules. Piskula said, “To be honest, I don’t know too much about it.”

Piskula also said he hadn’t sought, or been given, much information about what the Kings plan to do with him next season. He will turn 23 in July and the Kings need some solid defensive prospects, but if Peter Harrold also makes the team next season, would the Kings really go with (essentially) three rookies on defense? Doubtful.

“This is just a good opportunity to come in and get a feel for things,” Piskula said.

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  • Ernest

    I am glad to see the Kings getting some young defensive prospects. This time last season we were very low in this category. With Johnson, Piskula, Hersley, Petiot, and Harrold starting their pro careers, things are looking better.

    Piskula needs time down in the AHL. Harold deserves the shot as Johnsons “rookie” partner on the kings next year. Maybe Petiot… but Harold has played great in Manchester and looked decent up here in LA.

  • Marc Nathan

    Haven’t seen enough of Piskula to say that he belongs in the NHL, but I will say that I am mightily impressed with the play of Kevin Dallman, who gets the short end of the stick from both the coaching staff and the fans that are visible on message boards. I saw almost nothing in Harrold to make me think he’d be any better than someone like Rob Palmer, who patrolled the Kings blue line with a silk purse for far too many seasons.

    I’ll take Dallman out of this pack, and believe that he’s going to get better and better with each passing season.

  • Jon

    I’ve been very impressed with Piskula. By that, I mean that I rarely notice him, but, for a defensive d-man, that’s all that you can ask for, and more than you should normally expect from a kid playing his first pro games ever.

    I’d be perfectly ok with Piskula starting with the Kings next season, but I think that some time in the AHL would be best. He doesn’t necessarily need it, but I think that it would help, nonetheless. If he starts down there after training camp, he could be called back up mid-season in an injury situation and, perhaps, finish the season with the Kings.

    Dallman and Weaver are fillers and should be phased out, IMO. They’re good to have around if the kids can’t cut it, but guys like Piskula and Harrold should not have their developments affected by them. The club focus should be on the youth, not the journeymen.

  • Fredi

    I cant wait for training camp this summer. There will be alot of guys fighting for just a few spots.

    I like the way Piskula has played in the couple of games he’s had this season. He is reasonably physical and will get used to the speed of the game after a little while.

  • Aaron

    What are the issues with his contract? I’d love more info on that – Thanks -

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