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…
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).