My picks

Here’s how I voted on the Kings’ end-of-season awards:

Team MVP: Dustin Brown. I thought he elevated his play tremendously this season. The coaches challenged him to be a 30-goal scorer, and that’s exactly what he became. He’s not the most dynamic player, but he has come a LONG way from when he was the 18-year-old kid who just skated around and hit people. Anze Kopitar and Alexander Frolov are strong runners-up.

Outstanding defenseman: Jack Johnson. In my mind, it was 51-49 in favor of Johnson over Rob Blake. I don’t know what else to say. With all respect to the talents of these NHL players, I wouldn’t say any of them were “outstanding” this season.

Top defensive player: Patrick O’Sullivan. He completely reinvented himself this season and started the season as an energy-line player and a penalty-killer. Who knew he could do it? After he thrived there, he played himself into a top-six role and he now has a minus-7 rating.

Top newcomer: Jack Johnson. Again, this isn’t because he was particularly brilliant, although it’s wise to remember that he’s only 20 years old and this was his first season playing anything other than college hockey. Brad Stuart probably would have received my vote here had he not been traded.

I know there’s a lot of differing opinion on these categories, so feel free to rip my picks!

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  • diehrdkingsfan38

    Those are acceptable picks, no doubt. D-Brown isn’t the most skilled but i think that he is our MVP. Team MVP Brown 50% Kopitar 30% Frolov 20% Ersberg 100%, lol just kidding not yet.

  • Have to agree. MVP was Dustin Brown. Sure, Kopitar will probably come out on top on points, but I think Brown’s physical play sets the tone of the game.

    For defenseman, none were particularly outstanding. Certainly, you could argue that the goalies have played a detrimental part to this sorry season, but much of the responsibility belongs to the defensemen.

    No question, Patty O has had a standout season. He’s greatly improved over last season. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like he gets better every time he loses a tooth.

  • nick in 318

    rich… i have an idea for a poll… how about making individual voting counters for all of the teams UFAs and RFAs on whether Lombardi should resign them…. i’d love to see that

  • Pat McGroyn


    I couldn’t agree with you more about your pick for the Top Defensive player this season. O’Sully’s penalty killing efforts have been OUTSTANDING this season, and all the hard work he has been putting in this year is impossible to notice.

    Also, I can’t disagree with any of your other player award picks. However, my question for you is this: how much of Sully’s tenacity on the PK and forechecking is a result of him being in Crawford’s doghouse early last season?

  • Mark

    No offense to Jack but shouldn’t the best New Comer be Erik Ersberg? The Kings were a complete joke with LaBarbera and Cloutier and Quick and Aubin but Ersberg has made the team seem like a team that has a chance to win games.

  • Crash Davis

    Rich, all of your picks make good sense based on the players’ performances and your logic. Kings fans, for decades, have appreciated a blue collar effort, a work ethic based more on substance than style. Just mention Krushelnyski, Taylor, Tonelli, Granato and Deadmarshh (and probably scores more) that fit that bill. Each of your player picks, at this early stage in their careers, aren’t flashy, just solid. They bring it, every night. Lot to be said for that. These aren’t “sexy” picks, but deserved picks for the dogged determination of Sully, JJ and Dustin to step up to the next level. There is a strong sense of selflessness in these picks. Which portends well for both a team concept and the Kings’ future.

    Thanks, Rich, for your insight and ALL the great effort you, and your contributos, have provided in this tough season.


  • Anonymous

    I agree with Ersberg on best newcomer… JMFJ as best defenseman is a good choice…

    I’d go with the Beachball as unsung hero…as without him…we wouldn’t be close to being in the Stamkos sweepstakes…

  • Shakes

    Quote of the day from Randy Hahn while announcing the game: The Kings should keep the number one pick if they get it and use the other 14 picks they have in the first few rounds of the draft and give it to the team picking #2 to get both picks…

  • Daniel


    I totally agree with you on most of those picks. Although, I have to say Blake should earn best D-man for the fact that he actually changed the complexion of some games. Granted, it was not as many as we had hoped but he was the difference maker in more games than any other defense-man. There was a 20 game stretch where he looked 28 again. I guarantee you those games had an effect on JMFJ. I see value in that.

    One observation – in the race for top newcomer, I think Ellis deserves a few votes as his presence lead to a downturn in penalty killing goals scored against. I think.

  • Moondoggie

    Can’t argue with your picks Rich, good logic, thought and imput on all….

  • TweenerSongs

    hey rich.
    first off, to the guy who says ‘ellis is the best newcomer’: come on, mate. he’s a decent penalty-killer, granted, but really watch the pk and you’ll probably agree that it was more coincidence than ellis, that our special teams started to improve recently. in the end, the guy will be another fringe player, another bubble guy (like giuliano or chartrand) who just takes up space on the bench (or, more likely, in the press box and on the roster).

    gotta disagree on your pick for defenceman, though, rich; blakey came on at the halfway point, and — at least in my opinion — has been far & away the best and most valuable blueliner on this team. choosing jmfj is definitely a ‘sexy pick’ (contrary to another poster’s claim), but it seems pretty obvious to me that he is hardly the best defenceman on this team, at this point. next year? probably. but right now, he’s still green, still plays a bit too safe and deliberate (something a little more experience will cure, and quickly), but definitely shows the promise that we all hoped he would.

    and rich, come on! dustin brown “not a dynamic player”?? he’s not a bure, sure, but how much more dynamic can a player be? he hits like crazy, shoots from anywhere, makes bure-esque moves at times (that actually work, once in awhile), and has become a legitimate scoring threat — something i wasn’t completely sold on, early in his career. he’s shown that he’s a top-end talent, with great hands and that unique physical play (in today’s NHL), and he’s only going to improve. if we can get him to drop the gloves a bit more often (not too much, don’t misunderstand), we’ll have another cam neely on our hands. and there’s nothing wrong with that (he’s my all-time favourite player). anyway, i’d say dustin is indeed one of the most dynamic players in the game today. but i could be wrong. there’s always a first time, right?

    boyle is going to make a tremendous impact next year, as well. kopitar & boyle up the middle. . .wow. we’re working on a dynasty here, are we not?

    go kings!!

  • Rob B.

    Nothing wrong with any of the picks. I don’t know the criteria for best newcomer, but I don’t think Ersberg has been around long enough to be considered. He’s been solid at a time when the Kings defense may be the weakest it’s been all season. Ellis has been a welcomed addition, but not substantial enough. I like Blake, and I wish him well and welcome him back for next season (at a greatly reduced rate, no trade clause or not), but he seemed to be the difference maker in the wrong way too many times this season.
    Brown has certainly blown me away this season. He has handles I never saw coming. I was leaning a bit to Kopitar, but whatever…

  • Bob Bobson

    I like the Sully pick for best defensive player. I like how he has drastically improved his defensive play over last season.

  • Chewy Rocky Horror

    What happened to all the Dustin Brown haters from last year? Oh, I know where they are, they turned into Cammalleri haters.

    When Cammy is gone, I wonder who they are going to turn on next?

    Hmmmm, there was some Frolov hate in the beginning of the year. My bet is on Frolov.

    Dustin Brown for MVP.

  • joe

    Chewy Rocky Horror, I was never ever ever nor will I ever be a Dustin Brown Hater. And if cammy isn’t traded by the start of the season, I’d rather see JMFJ manning the half wall on our powerplay.

    And no, when he gets resigned (if, and hopefully not but most likely) Nagy will be the team’s whipping boy. If not him then it’s gonna be Blake. Because unless blake is a #5/6 or retires, were not making the playoffs again. At least not with the way he has played this season.
    So yes theres my prediction for the teams new whipping boy/men.

    And good call rich taking my suggestions for both the MVP and least disappointing defenseman.

  • Great post!