Player evaluation: Kopitar

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ANZE KOPITAR

This season: 82 games, 32 goals, 45 assists, minus-15 rating.

Positives: Almost too many to list. After an excellent rookie season, Kopitar played all 82 games and improved his numbers in almost every category. By all accounts, he’s a hard worker, a good teammate and a potential team leader. On the ice, he’s creative, strong on the puck and has tremendous vision and great hands. What else is there?

Negatives: Someone would have to be fairly creative to come up with a major negative in Kopitar’s game. Kopitar’s main challenge will be to continue to improve, make his teammates better and fill a team leadership role.

Looking ahead: Kopitar is the Kings’ unquestioned No. 1 center, and the only remaining question is, “How good can he be?” It’s almost shocking to think he doesn’t turn 21 until August. His ability to play at a high level will be crucial if the Kings are to

Contract situation: Signed through 2008-09 (cap number of $955,867 next season).

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  • DellaNooch

    Kopi is awesome, just needs a bit more work on his backcheck

  • anthony

    My favorite player on the team.
    I haven’t been this excited about a player since Lucky Luc.

    I’ve said this before. I truly believe that he was the best player taken in the 2005 draft. That he will be putting up numbers as good or better than Sid The Kid. And alot of you guys bad mouthed me for that.
    I don’t care. I stand by my statement.
    I see something VERY VERY special in this player. A gift in fact.

    The toughest thing about him is signing him to a long term contract.
    He says he hates losing and he loves the Detroit Red Wings tradition and history. He said that prior to leaving for Slovenia for the up coming games.

    DL is gonna have a hell of a time signing him to a long term contract. Which I hope he does.

  • Gabby

    I love this kid! I don’t think a 100-point season is impossible in the near future. What a gift that he fell to us in the 11th spot! The hockey gods were smiling down on the Kings that day.

  • Bruce

    Kopitar needs some tutoring to improve in the faceoff circle. That is the one major flaw preventing him from being considered a dominant first line center. He’s still young and improving. There might be at least 10 other GMs kicking themselves right now for not drafting Kopi and to them I say “Thank you!”

  • Vinnie

    Negatives – Needs to improve on his face off percentage.

    +/- is also not where it should be for an almost PPG player.

  • ryan oliver

    I love Kopitar , but he is awful in the defensive zone. Way too many missed assignments in the d-zone that led to goals. He will have to improve on that for sure.

  • Dan H.

    Can anyone say “long term deal”?

    Get this guy signed like Brown now and lets keep this core together. We have a great group of youth. Some solid goaltending (hopefully out of the 40 we have signed now) and a couple of defensemen and we can be looking great.

  • 4/10/82

    there aren’t many holes in his game, but what would take him into the really elite ranks is better finishing.
    he makes stellar moves, especially down low and in traffic, but he loses the puck or for whatever reason doesn’t put the puck in the net. when he starts potting those highlight-reel plays, he’ll be ranked with the ovechkins, malkins and datsyuks.

  • scooter

    once again, you guys are missing the bigger picture. sure Kopi can score but to be considered one of the greats he must learn to do the intangibles – make other players around him better, do the little things (face offs, not taken off the puck so easily). If Kopi learns to make the other players around him better, then he opens the ice more for himself and creates more opportunities not just for him but for the whole team. Don’t just focus on goals and assists. Kopi has much room for improvement before he can be considered in the same light as Crosby, Ovelchekin, Malkin, etc.

  • Moondoggie

    Welcome to Los Anzeles…What a great kid, not too much down side on Kopi, the sky is truly the limit. Hopeful for major long term contract which we all hope DL can secure soon. Having Brownie and Kopi signed long term translates into long term success for the Kings, period. One of the most exciting players in the league, the center piece of a great young nucleus.

  • jkwondachef

    The only thing I see wrong with Kopi is his lack of physical presence. I wish he would throw his body around some more. Other than that he is a future captain for this team. If you can compare him to anyone it’s Joe Thorton. Although Kopi already has better numbers in his first two seasons than Big Joe did. 100 points is not out of the question for him

  • Neva

    I somewhat agree with ryan oliver, I wouldn’t say kopitar is awful in the defensive zone but he needs to improve that aspect of his play. but who knows, if it weren’t for the defensive problems they had maybe this wouldn’t be an issue for kopitar. bottom line though he’s a huge star, can’t wait to see what he does next season.

  • john

    Why don’t those guys, who are bitching about improving in the FO circle, actually check the numbers? To be more precise, check his % from last season AND this season. Do you see any improvement? Is there any special reason, why you don’t believe he is going to continue his improvement in this part of the game? Also, why don’t you check Malkin’s FO %? The only thing keeping him from being a dominant center? That’s funny, there are many other things that are still keeping him from being a dominant center in the league and FO % definitely isn’t one of those. Why don’t you check Crosby’s FO %?

    You don’t know what are you talking about.

  • Tito Jackson

    I agree with jkwondachef. I wish kopitar, like Ovech, would be a stronger presence and push and check other players around more. Then again, I guess its like asking for a nicer plate for a choice filet.

  • joe

    kopitars only(minor) flaws:
    Needs to start punishing defenseman and playing a more physical style.

    He needs to improve on face-offs.

    More focus on defensive coverage, though I think that was more a result of the playoffs being out of question about half way through the season or less.

    anyways, the kids a beast but once he hits half as hard as brown that line will dominate.

  • Marc Nathan

    Certainly no one here will agree with me, but what Anze Kopitar SHOULD be for the next 5 years is the BEST #2 center in the NHL… but you know those Kings and their fans… always living in a fantasy world.

    Great player, who has been given a tough task… to lead this team out of the bowels of the NHL, and it’s just not gonna happen in the immediate future. I would have loved to have seen the Kings get Stamkos for a “1A/1B” setup (and yes, Stamkos will be, and is that good.)

    This scenario would not be unlike when Gretzky and Nicholls were both centering lines on a very offensive Kings team almost 20 years ago.

  • nykingfan

    marc,
    You have to be kidding….If you can’t see the talent that this kid has, you have no idea about hockey. He’s only 20 years old and improved off a great rookie season. He’s a #1 center…no doubt about it. Also, Stamkos certainly has the potential to be a big time player in the league, but lets remember..there’s a big difference between dominating junior hockey and being a star in the NHL.. Kopitar is already a star in this league.

    Scooter, you talk about the fact that he needs to make other players around him better….Is it possible that he’s made Dustin Brown a better player?
    We can all knit pick on this guy, but we haven’t seen anyone like him come through this organization in a long time. Lets just let the kid continue to improve and I can guarantee you all one thing..if we do win a cup, Kopitar will be a huge reason why.

  • SuperSonic420

    Kopitar is definately a #1 center, and will be a great one for years to come. The one player I think he has the potential to be like is Mats Sundin.

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php3?pid%5B%5D=5252

    Not as physical yet, but I think Kopi will round out that part of his game. He doesnt have to be all that physical playing alongside Brownie and some tougher d-men. He is an effective forechecker and very responsible down low in the defensive zone. His transition game is exceptional and uses his teamates effectivly. He has exceptional vision on the ice, as well as the hands and skills that can seperate him from good players to great players, maybe even a special player. The best part is the best is yet to come from him and Brown and we Kings’ fans can finally feel some pride about drafting and developing such talented players. The questions really are can he keep improving at this kind of pace, and can he step into that much needed leadership role coming from the youth of this team? I have to think he will. I just dont see him hitting a wall in his development anytime soon.

  • Anonymous

    His line lacked a big size winger that could open up the ice in the offensive zone for him. His line needs a big winger who can crash the net on a consistant basis. The kings should also consider putting Boyle with Kopitar and Brown. This could be enough to scare any team playing against them.

  • Hockey Only

    Just remember guys ….. +/- don’t mean jack, one of the worst stats kept, because the player isn’t always up against a like type player. It’s only for the GM and agent. If I have 40 goals against the other teams #4 line and 2 against their number 1 and they’re all open nets and I always just happen to get off the ice at the right time and the guy who replaces me is a -37 is it his fault or was it mine. +/- don’t mean jack.

  • Anonymous

    Kopitar will be fine in the FO circle.

    His game doesn’t lack physicality, he just uses his size while carrying the puck and he DOES finish checks, even if they aren’t bonecrushers.

    IMO, his #1 flaw is that he’s hesitant to shoot and doesn’t really have that pure scorers touch. That seperates him from Malkin, Ovechkin, and Crosby.

  • Anonymous

    Kopi played well against Italy given the jet-lag and getting used to the bigger ice. Although the surface of the ice in Maribor was horrible.
    They won 2:1. Had an assist.
    This was the 1st preparation game (Slovakia and Norway follow) before the WC08 in Canada!

    Go SLOVENIA and go KOPI

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