Player evaluation: Armstrong

We did something like this after last season, breaking down the players. Since it’s expected to be a slow period for the Kings, seems like a good opportunity! I’ll try to get through a few players every day, and I’m curious to see what everyone’s opinions are of these guys. So we’ll start with forwards and go in alphabetical order. Up first…

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DEREK ARMSTRONG

This season: 77 games, 8 goals, 27 assists, plus-4 rating.

Positives: Nagging injuries have been a problem in the past, but Armstrong played a career-best 77 games. He also managed a minus-4 rating on a team that allowed 35 goals more than it scored. As usual, served as a steady, respected presence in the dressing room and proved himself most valuable as a third-line center, when he could focus more on defense than offense.

Negatives: Played a career-high in games, but his eight goals were the fewest of his five-year Kings career. The low production came even though he totaled a career-best 118 shots on goal. Armstrong also had a career-high 63 penalty minutes. Too often, he is forced into second-line center duties, and that does not suit his game.

Looking ahead: By now, it’s pretty clear what Armstrong can and can’t do. He’s a consistent performer, for the most part, but the Kings need Michal Handzus, or some other center, to step up so that Armstrong doesn’t have to center the second line on a regular basis.

Contract situation: Signed through 2008-09 (cap number of $1.5 million next season).

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  • laikaloco

    He would be best suited next season as a spare forward. If Boyle can handle 2nd line center, I would put Purcell and Moulson with Handzus as a “third” line…really “#2-B”. Learn to play well on the defensive side with Zus, much like Sully did this year.

    As a spare, Army is capable of stepping into any role and doing a credible job FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.

  • Maverick

    I think Army is a good 3rd line center. He has produced well and finished with a good minus-4 rating on a very poor team. As long as he stays below the top two lines I would love to see him back.

  • Gord

    Army caught a lot of flak this year because he was attempting to do the job Michael Handzus failed dismally at. I like the guy, but only when he is playing where he belongs – the third line.

  • Anonymous

    He doesn’t belong anywhere on the first two lines, I agree. Otherwise, he seems to be a good leader who’s willing to speak up. Every team needs these character guys. Let’s just stop asking him to be the sniper that he’s not.

  • B

    The ONLY reason Army gets a bad rap is because he’s constantly thrown into the top 2 lines because of injuries to other player or our inability to get a legit #2 center. He is a PERFECT team player, great in the locker room, great in the community, and is a very cost-effective player. However, he should be on the bottom 2 lines and off of the power play. He’s an awesome guy and a class act!

  • CHUCK

    Good 3rd line center, on a team that put him on the 2nd. A good depth player and great in the locker room. He’ll have to lite the light more next year to earn an extension.

  • dominic lavoie

    Ideally he centers the 4th line next year because Handzus and Boyle show up in shape, injury free and with their “A” game.

    Kopitar, Handzus, Boyle, Armstrong would not be a bad way to start next season up the middle.

  • anthony

    I can’t stand this player.
    Not one bit.
    I’ve never seen a player miss so many empty nets.
    I’ve never seen a player do little or nothing on the second unit power play.

    How can you have numbers like him when you have Frolov & Cammi as your linemates.

    I don’t know what happened to this player this season. Other than he just tanked it.

    I hope that he becomes a “throw in” in a trade this summer.

    Give his spot to one of our prospects.
    Agreed.

  • nick in 318

    I partially agree with the first few comments,,, but i actually agree with Anthony… I wouldnt mind seeing him gone… I thought he was 100% incapable of playing where crawford had him… I called him Mr. Shank, bc… the plays he’d make or more importantly, not make,,, had huge affects on the games we played this season

  • Moondoggie

    I’ve got to go along with the 4th line duties. He does have leadership and enthusiasm but unfortunately some of the worst hands I’ve seen. He just has trouble shooting on net and the shots that do hit are predictable, easy saves, nothing that’s going to shake many NHL goaltenders. I think to be successful in this league, you’ve got to have three scoring lines and a stopper, energy or checking line. Army seems best suited for this duty. I like Kopitar, Boyle, Handzus, and Army; I put Zeus in the 3rd position, in the even he can find his legs and his shot, he moves to 2nd line center.

  • Len-Det

    Most of you bashing on Armstrong don’t know the first thing about evaluating players. “Can’t find the back of the net.” Ha! “Hands of stone.” Ha! Armstrong is a team first player and a coaches dream. He will do whatever is asked of him. Armstrong was once the AHL MVP in 2001 scoring 101 points for the year in 75 games. While I agree his type of game is more suited for 3rd line duties he can and will step into the top lines as a filler for a short period. The Kings would do well to keep him around for a while.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t get all thes people who claim” He is a good locker room guy.” How do you know? Are you in the dressing room with him? Do you know any of the players that are in the room w/him?

  • nykingfan

    I think Army is a perfect 3rd line center. He was put in a bad situation this year because of the ineptitude of Handzus. If Handzus would have done what he was signed to do…be a 2nd line center, Army would have been perfect for this team. His leadership and character won’t show up on the stat sheet, but I’m sure it does in the dressing room.
    Before everyone goes and blames Army for not being the player they wish he was, how about blaming the guy who was supposed to be that player..Handzus!

  • Eric K

    i think “tanking” is definitely the wrong word for what army did this year. that implies that he didn’t care about the team and dogged it, and that’s the furthest thing from the truth. he belongs on this team, even if he doesn’t belong on the second line.

  • DellaNooch

    Solid 3rd or 4th line guy, good character and knows how to play both ways. This will probably be his last season with the Kings because of his age, but I like Army and feel he contributes well to our team.

    With that said, I can’t disagree with what anthony said…he doesn’t have the same offenive skills as some of our new guys, he’s best suited for a defensive forward role.

  • Dan H.

    I was an outspoken critic of him a lot this year and when I think about it, it’s not his fault. He was playing the top two lines and not where he belonged on the 3/4th lines and OFF of the power play.

    I blame that on Crawford. O’Sullivan should have been the guy on the PP and not Armstrong but for some reason Crawford kept putting him out there much to my anger which I saw (and was) wasted PP time.

    IF they keep Army on the 3/4th lines I’m fine with him around. He’s a good defensive forward, he’s just NOT an NHL goal scorer.

  • laikaloco

    Sorry, guys…only as a spare. He’s not fast enough on his skates to handle a defensive role that’s better going to a Brady Murray (4th line center)

  • http://www.grasstop.info Proxys

    I completely agree, except for 1 point. But is minimal so not a big deal. Thanks for the share!