Monarchs making noise

Hope everyone had a good holiday yesterday. And for those who don’t have to work today, congrats, and thanks for staying off the 405 this morning.

A couple items of note on the Manchester Monarchs. They got off to a pretty bad start, all around, but now they’re surging, with five consecutive victories heading into tonight’s game against Portland. Who’s making the noise? Well, after a bumpy start, Jonathan Bernier is coming around. He has won four consecutive starts and had a shutout last weekend against Lake Erie. Bernier has a 2.50 goals-against average this season. He’s still splitting time with Jonathan Quick, who has allowed two goals in each of his last four starts and has his GAA down to 2.87.

On the scoring side, Justin Azevedo is back, after his training-camp wrist injury. He’s back, all right. Azevedo has four goals and three assists in his first five games. Teddy Purcell has also been strong offensively in the last two weeks, with six goals and six assists in his last seven games. Purcell now leads the Monarchs with team highs of eight goals and 17 points in 17 games. Gabe Gauthier has 13 assists (16 points) and Trevor Lewis has four goals and seven assists.

On defense, Alec Martinez has one goal, one assist and a plus-4 rating in his last six games, Joe Piskula is plus-4 in his last four games and Viatcheslav Voynov has two goals, two assists and a plus-4 rating his his last six games.

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  • Anonymous

    Rich who do you think will be the first call up on offense and do you think they will give Azevedo a shot, he’s small but can sure put up points?

  • Jesse

    Dear Santa,

    Please make Azevedo=Fleury.

    <3,

    A wishful (but hopeful) thinking Kings fan.

  • lpwinther

    Azevedo is a stud. A steal of a pick by Lombardi. The guy can flat out score!! Yes he is small, but if you can’t catch him you can’t check him.

  • Anonymous

    Moulson is also posting 1 PPG numbers since his return to Manchester.

  • Quisp

    Moulson, Purcell, Lewis and Azevedo are all scoring right now, more or less a point a game. Voynov is also playing great. On a related note, Loktionov, in juniors, is also getting a bit more than a point a game (21 pts in 20 games, I think), and was interviewed (with humorous results, due to the language barrier and possibly due to Frolovian sense of humor) by Hockey’s Future. I was going to link to it, but the interview is short enough just to cut and paste:

    [this is the whole interview; my favorite responses in bold]

    HF: How is the season going for your Windsor Spitfires?
    AL: All is going perfectly well.

    HF: Are you satisfied so far about your personal performances?
    AL: Well, not too much.

    HF: How is the adaptation process going?
    AL: All normal so far.

    HF: Which game has been the best for you so far?
    AL: I think that my best game is yet to arrive.

    HF: What are your expectations for the 2008-09 season? What aspects of your game do you plan on improving?
    AL: I have to work on all the aspects of my game.

    HF: You play in the same team as 2010-eligible Taylor Hall, can you tell us your impression on him?
    AL: Hes indeed a very good player.

    HF: With you and Hall, the team seems to have a good set of centers. Does your coach divide you guys into different lines or does he like to group you?
    AL: He likes to group us from time to time.

    HF: In what line do you play? Can you tell us about your linemates?
    AL: Now I play on the third line, where I have very good partners.

    HF: What differences you see in the coaches approach in Russia and in North America? Do they ask for different things?
    AL: Yes, many things they ask are actually different. But I wont disclose.

    HF: Are you disappointed to be playing in the CHL instead of the pro American leagues?
    AL: A little bit because I would rather play in the NHL.

    HF: What was the experience of Kings camp like for you?
    AL: It was simply great, theres nothing else to say.

    HF: How much time would you estimate it would take you before making the jump to the NHL? Do you feel close, or think there is much to do?
    AL: Honestly I feel that I still need to work a lot, but I want to play there.

    HF: Going back to last year, did you expect to be chosen in the Entry Draft?
    AL: Yes, of course.

    HF: What was your reaction about being drafted by the Los Angeles Kings?
    AL: There was no difference for me about what team would pick me up, so my reaction was normal.

    HF: Did you have any idea that they were interested in you?
    AL: Yes, a little bit.

    HF: For your average Kings fan who has never seen you play, how would you describe your style?
    AL: Sorry, but I dont like to talk about my playing style.

    HF: Do you still hear from Vyacheslav Voinov? Are you friends?
    AL: Yeah, of course we are friends. Its all very good between us.

    HF: What do you think you need to work on most to make the next step to pro hockey successful?
    AL: Well, as I said before, I think that I have to work on all the aspects of the game.

  • CiscoC

    Bring up Purcell, send Boyle down. Boyle needs to be playing to improve, but we can’t afford him playing at the NHL level right now.

    Waive Labarbera, bring up Quick, and give Bernier a #1 starter workload in Manchester.

  • Quisp

    Lewis, being defensive-minded, might be a more appropriate swap for Boyle. My preference — though possibly insane — would be to bring up both Purcell and Lewis, give Boyle a month in Manchester to get his juices going, then bring him back. Waive Calder (I know, I know — ha ha) and Ivanans. Boyle, Purcell, Richardson, Lewis, Zeiler, Armstrong…that’s six forwards to make a fourth line, the wing on the third line next to Handzus/Simmonds, and two nightly scratches.

    I think it’s possible Murray is giving Calder all this first line time because Lombardi is telling him to, so that he’ll show some spark and DL can trade him. Maybe the same deal with Ivanans and his periodic third line duty.

    In the meantime, Purcell, Lewis and Moulson are earning their call-up, and I would be shocked if it’s not in DL’s plan to get the first two of those guys some games this year.

  • anthony

    Purcell and Azevedo seem to have what it takes to play with the Kings.
    And Voynov leads the Monarchs with a plus -6. Not bad for an 18 year old rookie.

    I’d like to Purcell and Azevedo replace Calder and Armstrong. Its obvious that the latter two are useless.
    I would also like to see Voynov relace Gauthier (another joke).

    Trever lewis, on the other hand, is gonna be a bust.
    Trust me. He’s had plenty of time, but has only shown Tukonen like numbers.

  • Anonymous

    Anthony –

    I agree with you re Purcell and (provisionally) Azevedo. Re the latter, it would be cool to grow our own Fleury.

    Gauthier may play himself out of a job by the time Johnson comes back. I’m with you re Voynov; I would like to see him for a couple of games this year. He obviously wouldn’t be replacing Gauthier’s physical presence, which is THE thing he brings to the table (aside from experience). And it would be unreasonable to expect any of the Kings bigger D prospects (Kidd, Campbell) to be ready this year. I guess we could hope for Johnson replacing Gauthier and Voynov coming up for a few games, taking the spot of Harrold or Preissing.

    However, Trevor Lewis: this is the make or break season for him. His numbers last year were no good. But this season, he’s having the season he should have had last year. He’s not Tukonen. Lewis is defensively sound and a hard worker. He’s more well-rounded than Tukonen. And he’s having a very good year. Not a bust…yet. I still hold out reasonably high hopes for him, third line center or wing.

    That said…and because we’re talking prospects, here’s my 2010 (Stanley Cup run) Kings line-up:

    O’Sullivan/Kopitar/Brown
    Frolov/Moller/Loktionov
    Purcell/Boyle/Moulson
    Wudrick/Lewis/Simmonds
    Clune and Azevedo

    Doughty/Greene
    Johnson/Teubert
    Quincey/Voynov
    Hickey/Campbell-Kidd

    Bernier
    Esberg-Quick

    That’s 26, so a couple of D and a goalie aren’t going to make it. And of course maybe no one pans out, etc.. In this version of (alternate?) reality, in which everyone pans out, Handzus (at the deadline, before he can go UFA) and Stoll are traded in ’09 for…what else…picks.

  • Nick

    Trust me. He’s had plenty of time, but has only shown Tukonen like numbers.

    Gonna use facts? Wait, it’s anthony. Nevermind. Tukonen, in 3 yrs in the AHL, posted 36 points in 62 games, 31 points in 61 games, and 35 points in 62 games. Last year, Lewis — a defensive minded forward, mind you — posted 28 points in 76 games. This year, he has 11 points in 17 games, which is a better pace PPG-wise than any year Tukonen put up. Plus, he’s showing improvement. Plus, again, he’s a defensive-minded forward and his style of game isn’t really similar to Tukonen’s at all.

  • petey

    Anthony, you’re saying that a guy that has only 1 FULL professional season under his belt is in his make or break season? Oh, brother.

  • JDM

    I hope Azavedo pans out, but if we want to talk about growing our own Theo Fluery then I have my hopes pinned on Garrett Roe.

    In college this season he has something like 20 points in 13 or so games and a ton of penalty minutes. Kid apparently has a wicked mean streak, goes to the dirty areas, scores goals and flies around. He started his season with back to back 4 point games! Obviously not a pace he could keep up but he hasn’t tailed off either. I remember reading an article a few months back at the start of the season that mostly talked about what a mean and tough SOB he is at just 5’8″ (I think).

    At development camp I thought he stood out more than ANY other prospect there, including Azavedo, Lewis, Wudrick and Loktionov. I think he’s eligible for the AHL but wants to finish out college. Everything I’ve read about him screams Theo Fluery.

  • Josh

    what happened to stoll in those lines? isn’t he signed for a while?

  • Quisp

    Petey -

    I’m the one who used the phrase “make or break season” re Lewis, and maybe I’m overstating. I guess what I ought to have said was, he needs to bounce back from last year’s sub-par numbers, which so far this season he is doing. He was leading the team in points before Purcell turned it up a notch. After the top handful of picks in 2006, I don’t think there’s anyone from that draft who is making an impact in the NHL yet. There’s that big Bergland (lund?) kid in St Louis who has ten points this year. I’m sure I’m forgetting someone.

    Another way to look at it is, with so much of the Kings third and fourth forward lines being in flux right now, this is a good time for Lewis to bust out. A speedy, skilled defensive specialist could look pretty good skating with Handzus and Simmonds. Bringing up Purcell, Moulson, Azevedo, etc., while maybe the right move at some point, also begs the question, where are you going to put them? They’re top-six “types,” not especially suited (or, in Azevedo’s case, not at all) to checking line duty.

    With Lewis, you don’t have that problem. When he’s earned it. February 1, 2009?

  • anthony

    Quisp,
    I don’t think Lewis has the skill to be a top 6 forward.
    Where and when do you see him have an impact in the big league.

  • anthony

    And where do you guys see Scott Parse and Marc Andre Cliche fitting. Isn’t time ruuning out on them.
    Looks as though we got nothing for Avery. Except less headache.

  • Josh

    I feel like the kings have so many prospects that we should deal a few of them for some players who currently are nhl proven. Its not all about the future. If the kings continue to fail in the present we’ll lose some fan base. Lets get a legit RW to play with fro and stoll!

  • mrbrett7

    Anthony.

    Parse missed basically the entire season last season due to injury. Oh, and by the way, you may want to check facts. He was not a part of the Avery trade.

    Cliche has battled injuries since he turned professional, and in his time he did play, he played his role perfectly. He was/is a defensive forward, played that in Juniors where he was the captain of this junior team that won the championship, and is doing the same in Manchester, when healthy. He is a defensive specialist. Something this team severly lacks up front (plenty of scorers, even if they aren’t scoring right now…no Kirk Maltby’s or Kris Draper’s).

    Nothing for Avery? How about ridding ourselves of the biggest cancer in the last 30 years of the NHL? Lombardi probably would have taken a bag of used pucks for him, and laughed all the way home. He was thrown out of NY (basically) and has effectively destroyed the Dallas lockerroom.

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  • Quisp

    I believe Anthony was referring to Cliche re the Avery trade. Hopefully his injuries will clear up and we’ll see what he’s capable of. I thought he stood out at the prospect camp.

    re Parse: I have been rooting for him for awhile, and I agree with Anthony that he’s in danger of slipping down the depth chart if he doesn’t get it turned around sooner rather than later. After not doing much the first couple of games in Manchester, I’ve noticed his name a lot more in the write-ups, and he’s putting up some points, too. So rumors of his demise may have been premature. If he can’t get a call-up this year, maybe ’09 camp, where there should be more room with the (presumed) departures of Calder and Armstrong. He’s going to be fighting Purcell, Moulson, Lewis, Clune, Richardson, Azevedo, Loktionov, Zeiler, etc. for those spots, but it’s possible. His last shot? Could be. I wouldn’t want to give other big-bodied prospects (e.g. Wudrick) too much time to grow into their frames.

    JDM, re Roe: I agree. I had the same reaction to him at the prospect camp. 5’8″, yes. We could have dueling Fleuries!

    Josh: Moller is a legit NHL RW. Nevertheless, I think there will come a time in a year or two when DL moves some prospects for the last pieces to the puzzle. I think that time will be sometime in the 2010-11 season.

    As far as Stoll in my utterly baseless 2010 Kings line-up, in my fantasy he’s been traded away, made obsolete by Boyle, Lewis and others. Needless to say, there’s no way my little line-up happens exactly that way; trades happen, prospects go bust… Maybe Zatkoff is the goalie of the future. My Voynov will out-Hickey Hickey. Who knows?

  • Quisp

    “My Voynov” should be “Maybe Voynov.”

  • Quisp

    Anthony –

    I missed your Lewis question top six question. He has the speed and agility to be top six. He has a certain amount of grit, check-finishing, and he’s defensively sound, and I think that, and the fact that he hasn’t lit the AHL on fire point-wise makes people think of him as a high-end (sort of a blue-chip) third line prospect. I thought he looked great in the prospects camp, which is not a measure of much apart from, well, how a player looks compared to other prospects. If he continues to produce at his current rate, I would be surprised and disappointed if he didn’t get at least a half-dozen games this year, sort of like what happened to Purcell, Moulson and Boyle last year. I think he has a good shot at making the team in ’09, in any case. I think it’s likely that Armstrong, Calder and Ivanans will be gone by then — and that leaves — let’s see — Purcell, Moulson, Lewis, Richardson, Clune, Cliche, Parse and Azevedo (and long shots for next year Wudrick and Loktionov), that’s eight names (ten counting the long shots), to fight over something like five spots.

    I left Zeiler off that list, but only because I think he will fight it out with Clune and Clune will prevail. But it’s possible Zeiler will out-Zeiler Clune, or out-Clune Clune. Either way, one of those guys I think will make it.

    I can’t see more than two small, speedy forwards on this team. That’s Moller and one of Richardson or Azevedo (or Loktionov, who it’s reasonable to expect will end up in Manchester next year, but, again, who knows).

    With Handzus still on the team, I don’t think the Kings will carry three additional defensive forwards of the type that Simmonds, Lewis and Cliche all offer. Likely one of them won’t make it. Right now, I give the edge to Lewis, but I like Cliche too.

    And that leaves the prospective top-six type forwards, Purcell, Moulson, Parse (and long-shot Wudrick, who won’t be ready next year, since he’s still a big goofy teenager — he’s not twelve like Hickey, but he needs to grow, sort of like Teubert, only more so). Any one of Purcell, Moulson and Parse — and maybe all three — could crap out. But I think it’s extremely likely Purcell will earn a spot next year, and maybe (though less likely) this year. Parse is a long shot because of the bumpy road he’s traveled, but he could get it together and be the one of all of them to emerge. Moulson (who I know, you, Anthony, don’t like) should not be discounted. I’m going to say his poor showing early this year had as much to do with the problems of Kopitar and Brown and POS, and the growing pains of the team in general, as with any specific failing of Moulson’s. I think the Purcell/Moulson/Parse battle will continue at least through next year. I choose to believe Purcell and Moulson both will prove to be important pieces of the Kings’ future.

    So I would think, for ’09, the five spots will go to Purcell, Moulson, Lewis, Clune and Richardson, leaving Wudrick and Loktionov to grow into their bodies more, and Azevedo to wait for the mid-season call-up.

    All this based on the big assumption that there are no trades or acquisitions. Or UFA signings. There are quite a few of those coming up this summer, I think.

  • Quisp

    Apropos of our Lewis conversation, he got two goals tonight in the Monarchs 3-1 win. That’s 6 goals (behind Purcell’s 8) for the year, in 18 games.

  • Quisp

    Parse’s two year contract expires next summer, so the time is now for him. Obviously, he won’t have the chance to make the team out of camp in ’09, if he doesn’t give the Kings reason to re-sign him due to his play this season.

    I hope he makes it interesting.

    Okay, I’m done posting for the night. I’m hogging the comments.

  • Moondoggie

    Interesting comments by all regarding our youth and it truly shows the depth this organization has and the phenomenal job that DL has done in building this club. I really don’t pitty the other clubs in the conference since the Kings have been getting the hell beat out of them the past 5 years. Still tho, it’s really going to be a fun time in LA, actually it’s already started…..

    My comments are pretty simple, I agree with most of you, Azevedo was a steal with a 6th rounder and seems to be the real deal, a pure scorer. Still tho, its early. Lets see how he carries himself throughout the course of a full season in the AHL. A mid-season call up wouldn’t be out of the question if he continues to play the way he’s playing.

    Martinez & Voynov…Our list of stud defensemen just continues to amaze me. However, there’s still Hickey whom I think has an excellent shot at making the Kings next year, same for Teubert who is currently tearing up the WHL. If you think this year has been fun, just wait until next year. What an amazing job DL has done in such a short time….

    The goalies, finally! Bernier is now playing to form, Quick is right there and….pity, there’s no room for Zatkoff (he’s at Manchester next year waiting for his shot). Bottom line, the Kings are stocked and set for what is going to be a very long, fun ride.

    Last note and my only question, why did DL trade for Richardson? I’m still trying to figure that one out. It seems to me that for a 2nd rounder he could have definitely gotten more “meat” that what’s he’s received so far…..Just a thought…..

  • Duckhunter

    Quisp or anybody else, I was looking at all our prospect stats and came across someone who is tearing it up. Who the heck is Jan Merek. He has 37 points in 28 games in the KHL. But has a contract with the Kings. First, who is he? second how is that possible to be under contract with the Kings, but play in the KHL?

  • -J

    Duckhunter- the Kings got the rights to Marek from the Rangers in the Avery deal. He turned down a contract (so he is not under contract) with the Kings a year ago and has shown little interest to come over to North America. He has it good in the KHL so he’s not going to leave. Also, since he didn’t sign with the Kings, the Kings got a third round pick from the Rangers in last years draft. He’s not really a prospect.

  • Duckhunter

    Thanks J. Well that’s a bummer. Obviously I’ve never seen him play, but his numbers are impressive. That could have been interesting if he would have signed with us.

  • Quisp

    The Marek compensation pick from NYR was used to pick Andrew Campbell. Actually, DL traded the Ranger pick to Buffalo in order to move up a handful of spots in the third round to take Campbell, which was a slightly odd move since Campbell was unranked (presumably DL knew that someone else was about to grab Campbell). Campbell is listed variously at 6’3″, 6’4″ or 6’5″ and is playing in Manchester right now. He is one of the three big trees in the Kings d prospect corps (the others being Kidd and Teubert). I seem to recall DL saying something about Campbell taking a puck in the face in a game last year and not missing a shift (character player, warrior, etc.).

    It’s always a drag to lose a player like Marek who puts up numbers elsewhere (even in the KHL), but keep in mind that, two seasons from now, SOD will be retired, Gauthier will be long gone, as will Preissing, and in their place will be two or three giant snarling animals (Tuebert and Kidd or Campbell) and one or two speedy freaks of nature (Hickey and/or Voynov). In addition to, you know, Doughty, Johnson, Quincey and Greene.

  • Quisp

    Moondoggie, re Richardson:

    That acquisition makes a lot more sense if you assume (as DL did, I think) that Moller was not going to be ready this year, to say nothing of both Moller and Simmonds.

    Purcell got another goal tonight. Bernier in net, for a 2-1 loss.

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