Kopitar, on what the Kings need

I asked Anze Kopitar the same question I asked Dustin Brown, about what the Kings could do this summer to improve, and he also spoke a bit about his play this season…

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Question: I put this question to Dustin Brown, so I’ll put it to you too. If Dean comes to you and says, `What do we need here?’ what do you tell him?

KOPITAR: (laughs) “I’d tell him to get a scoring winger. That’s what I’d say to him. A left winger.”

Question: That’s what Brown said too…

KOPITAR: “Yeah.”

Question: What would that mean to the team? Not just in the sense of scoring points, but would it be a lift in a mental way?

KOPITAR: “Yeah. Always, when you get someone who can produce a little more, it’s nice, because then sometimes me, Brownie, Fro can go a night and not score and that `X’ guy is going to maybe come in and put up a couple numbers. Obviously secondary scoring is very important here, and if he gives you that confidence every night, that’s great. He would be expected to be scoring and making plays.”

Question: Whether or not that `Mr. X’ arrives, will the expectations change for this team next season? Are the expectations that you will make the playoffs?

KOPITAR: “We have to think that right now, even if that `X’ guy doesn’t come. You’re hoping that he’s going to come, or that we’re going to make some moves in the offseason, but if not, we’ve shown that we can play against the good teams and play really good hockey around here. We just have to stay consistent, but that’s the hardest thing, I guess, especially with young guys like us. We’re a young team right now, but it shouldn’t be an excuse, and next year we should be ready to make it.”

Question: Could you do a little bit of a self-analysis of your season? Obviously, Terry asked a lot of different things of you this season, and I wonder how you think you came through that.

KOPITAR: “Obviously, the numbers are not there, like they were last year. Coming in and talking to Terry right away, he wanted me to be a two-way player. He said I had potential on it. I think my defensive game has improved this year and I think my faceoffs are better this year too, which is pretty important, especially with power-play faceoffs and in the offensive zone. I’ve taken some key faceoffs, too, in the defensive zone late in games. But I think that in my overall game, I’ve played a little stronger and I think I’ve become a better player.”

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  • LBlocal

    Woah! So much for my desire to have Johan Franzen as that key piece. He just signed an 11-year (WHAT??!!??!!) deal to stay in Mo-Town.

  • Bernie9

    But that just makes it an almost certainty that Detroit will not re-sign Hossa :)

  • variable

    hossa is definitely in play…

    but remember, there are going to be about 15-20 teams out there vying for his services…now whether or not he would want to play for all/any of those teams remains to be seen…

    hossa is becoming a superstar gun for hire…3 teams in 2 seasons…

    would he want to sign a short-term deal or a longer one…?

    i mean, he chose detroit over pittsburgh…and i would have thought he would have stayed in pittsburgh with all the young talent and the ability to grow with sidney and geno…not that moving to the previous cup winner was shabby…but look at what detroit is faced with cup-wise…

    i have know idea if hossa would even want to play here…and if he’s a gold digger, well, i’m even more unsure if it would be in our best interest to have him play here…

    do you sign someone like hossa for one or two years for $7-9mil per (that’s been his track record of late)…in hopes he likes it here? is he really interested in being in l.a. for the rest of his career?

    no doubt, hossa is going to expect a fortune…and even though he’s a world class player, at what expense do you mortgage the future caps in trying to land him?

    i would love him here in l.a….i’m just not sure a deal can be worked out that would make everyone happy…but i have hope…right, shep?!?!?

  • src3

    Dont write off Hossa yet. They will trade stuart and save 3.5 mil. Hossa may rather sign for 5 mil then come to LA, Columbus, EDM, VAN.

    Please dont sign Havlat or Gaborik. Not unless we have some kind of special super glue. These guys will want 6-7/year and cant stay healthy. Would rather trade assests for a sound player.

    Going to be interesting trying to sell Frolov on 5 mil or less a year. Hope he stays, and TM keeps him on the front line.

    Any opinions on hartnell in PHI? Gritty and 30 goals. Along with PMs.

  • josh e.

    LWs on free agent market that are good:
    Cammy
    Tanguay
    D. Sedin
    Erik Cole

    Aside from Daniel Sedin, I don’t really like the other two. However, Sedin will want to go with his brother and we can’t afford both of them (though what team can?). Were going to need to trade for a LWer which will probably come at the cost of Fro :( possibly hickey, moller, and our first rounder (for someone like Kovalchuk).

    I personally like Alex Burrows. He scored 28 goals this year and not one on the power play. Plus, if the kings can get playing who can play and fight, theres no need for players like ivanans to take dumb penalties because we won’t need him! Players like scott hartnell and alex burrows are extremely valuable on a team because they can play and protect. But I would only add burrows in addition to a scorer, as he doesn’t solve our immense scoring needs.

  • variable

    src3…

    hartnell is a nice player and would probably be a nice fit with this team…

    i just don’t think he’s the missing piece…he’s a nice complimentary player on the second line…but not the big time scorer we need or d.l. will be going after…

    he’s definitely a second-tier type that if all else goes awry with the first crop of studs on the wish list, you can definitely consider him, if available, along with another 30+g/70+pt player to go along with him…at 26 (same age as fro), he could be a safe cost/high reward type of player…but on philly, he has a lot of good forwards and centers helping him along…would he continue his ascension out here? hmmm…like the suggestion, though, as a second tier option…

  • variable

    burrows just signed a 4yr/$8mil w/vamcouver about a month ago…he’s not going anywhere….he was also named the teams “most exciting player” by the fans…

  • josh e.

    damn

  • src3

    Variable..

    Who do you think we are going after if Hossa wont sign???

    If Kov. in ATL, would do you think it would take to get him and does he really fit (2 way game)?

  • BakoCAcameraGuy

    Variable…

    Why not take the Warrior-For-Hire Hossa, for 1-2 years?
    Here’s the problem for Hossa: If he takes the highest salary he sees, he will probably STILL be disappointed. With the salary cap hit pending BUT the economy likely to turn around in 1-2 years, this contract will likely be short in dollars AND short in length. The Angels (MBL) signed Bobby Abreu LATE in the off-season precisely because he could not command the same dollars he could have had he signed the year prior; the catch was that the term was short–1 year.

    Both parties get the most from a bad situation. Low money/short term also means the team gets a well-motivated player (see Cammy), rather than a fat, poorly-motivated player early in the term of the contract. Hossa, just like Abreu, could then remain hot, be the biggest fish on the free agent horizon in later years when the cap is likely to go up again.

    Finally, the Kings would be receiving a motivated superstar player at a time when they are trying to establish their credibility as a contending franchise. No question, many free agents have NOT been motivated to be a King simply because they were not strong enough yet to contend. It would not be such a bad plan to establish credibility in a 1-2 year environment, definitely make the playoffs and begin playoff runs, even if the bottom line was that Hossa ultimately moved on.

    Like they say in the movies, DM:

    TAKE THE SHOT!

  • variable

    src3…

    i like kovy…and he would be great out here…whether or not the thrash would trade their captain is a big question mark…it would have to take a lot to bring him over here…

    i think the easiest…i want to stress that word…easiest….(however, nothing’s easy, but in the grand scheme of things)…choice is gaborik…because of gabby’s interest in making a year round home here…

    word had leaked out that minny offered him for frolov straight up at the deadline…d.l. said no (thank someone’s god…why would he trade for him when he can just sign him in the off season…

    i’ve already stated the pros and cons of gabby…and of course, the biggest fear with him is the injury factor…

    if kovy is available and you don’t have to give up tons ‘o’ prospects and current, proven players, you make the deal…

    i also like the idea of vinny in tampa if the crazy-go-nuts owners out there are foolish enough to trade him…

    my list of top 5 players to go after would be as follows (regardless if they are under contract or not):

    1. kovy
    2. hossa
    3. vinny
    4. parise
    5. gabby

    i didn’t put malkin, crosby, datsyuk, etc. on that list because i don’t think there would be a chance in h.e.double hockey stick we would be able to pry those players from their respected teams…

    we will have plenty of opportunities to expand/cut that list as we all prognosticate for the weeks/months to come…but it’s a start…

  • variable

    bako…

    great points…

    i’m just not convinced if there are two or three other a-/b+ players out there in lieu of signing hossa to a short-term deal, that i would go after them instead…

    i don’t know if hossa is going to want $9mil or 10mil…if that’s the case, do you extend yrself all-out for that player…? hossa is great, but besides public opinion, we do need other type of players…

    i’ve said that for every high-impact score sheet player, we need to sign a high-impact non-score sheet player…i think that would be the ideal situation…

    for every kopi…you need a zus…
    for every fro…you need a simmer…
    and so on…

  • BakoCAcameraGuy

    Variable–

    But that begs the question: What do we expect from the farm this season? The other way to build high-impact scorer/high-impact non-scorer is to find that player in the development pipeline…

    Who could be next year’s Simmonds and/or Doughty?

    The argument could even be made that this year we added TWO HI-NS without an HI-S…

    In fact, if you count Quick, that’s 3 HI-NS!

    Could Cliche be a keeper? If you look at Manchester’s failure this year, it seems as though a lot of DM’s scorer ‘boxes’ are lacking throughout the organization.

  • src3

    variable…
    Vinny is gone if T.B. is lucky enough to get the 1st pick. But I would imagine him going to Montreal. However it would be nice to see him in black.

    What do you think it takes to get kovulchuk? Fro, 1st rounder and…? The other problem is the 9 mil he will want after next year. This creates problems as well as Hossa if he also wants ovie money.

    So, in essence-Gabby is the pick here. How much and how long. He could really hurt the pocket book if he does not sty healthy. Another point is the obvious need for a LW. Gabby is a RW.

    Fro-Kopi-Gabby
    Brown-stoll-Williams

    Another point..If Hickey is as advertised, and with the play of Drewiske-JJ is trade bait if the contract demands are mre than 2.5 mil.

  • David

    Are the Kings missing the forest through the trees? Speaking of trees, let’s talk about Brian Boyle.

    Last year the Kings tried to convert Brian into a defenseman. He went along with their plan and played half the season in Manchester on D.

    Why not move him from his current center position to left wing? He certainly has the size and could do some damage in the corners to opposing defensemen.

    If he stays healthy and plays on a decent line (Boyle, Stoll & Purcell) and for a decent coach, who didn’t shuffle lines like a crazed black-jack dealer in Las Vegas, I see no reason why he couldn’t score 25 goals or more next year.

    You guys are dreaming if you think Hossa or Kovalchuk will be in a King uniform next season. Why should they trade Frolov, promising young talent and a first round draft pick?

  • HookzNU

    Tanguay as a plan B?

  • Quisp

    BakoCA, re candidates for “next year’s Simmonds” –

    Lewis, Wudrick, Loktionov, Cliche and Evander Kane.

    Everyone else, re Hossa:

    http://kwisp.wordpress.com/2009/04/11/528/

  • Quisp

    src, re d/hickey, etc.:

    Drewiske is making a case for himself. What does this do to the Kings D depth chart?

    You’ve got your big bodies: SOD, Greene. Up and coming: Teubert, Campbell, Kidd.

    You’ve got your speedy, offensive-minded but maybe smallish types: Doughty, Harrold. Up and coming: Hickey, Voynov.

    Hybrid of the first two types, bigger than the speedsters, but still with offensive chops: Johnson, Quincey, Drewiske.

    The team is going to want to replace Gauthier with someone who can punish people, if possible. Removing Johnson, who is the nastiest of the three “hybrids,” would make this even more glaring a need.

    Anyway, I think Johnson will get re-signed. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got traded if there’s some giant blockbuster; but I think he’s likely to be here for a few years. That’s where I would put my money.

    Johnson/Doughty
    Quincey/Greene
    SOD/Hickey
    Voynov/Drewiske

    Those are my eight for this year. Then Teubert the following year, in place of SOD, who will retire a King.

    Unless we draft Hedman or Cowan, in which case there will be some shuffling.

  • -J

    “I’d tell him to get a scoring winger. That’s what I’d say to him. A left winger.” Translation- Dean, get us Kovalchuk.

    ATL needs to rebuild, and the kings have a nicely stocked cupboard of prospects, and a high 1st rounder that “could be in play”. Of course, if the kings win the lottery, forget about it.

  • Derek Bargaehr

    Kovalchuk…THAT would be nice, and he’s likely bait. Hossa would also be a great addition, but I’d say no chance…he took less money to chase a Cup this season, and I’m pretty sure he won’t go looking for one in LA.

    I’d also love to see Gaborik, but only if he decided to not break like a pixie. Which is improbable.