This season: 31 games, 0 goals, 5 assists, 11 penalty minutes, 10:48 average ice time.
The good: In a season full of fits and starts — caused both by coach’s decisions and a freak injury — Richardson did show some potential. He’s a strong skater and plays with some grit, and his 14 goals (in 38 games) with Lake Erie of the AHL in 2007-08 indicates that he has some offensive potential.
The bad: Richardson seemed like the awkward Christmas gift that someone gave Terry Murray. Lombardi spent a second-round draft pick to get Richardson, and Murray never seemed quite sure what to do with him. The season’s most bizarre injury took place in early December, when Richardson suffered a cut on his lower leg during practice and ended up missing almost two months because the injury kept getting aggravated.
Going forward: Richardson falls into a dangerous category, as do several other forwards on the Kings’ roster. He’s a third- or fourth-line player on a team that had a ton of them this season. Richardson spent his junior career with the Owen Sound Attack under GM Michael Futa, who is now the Kings’ co-director of amateur scouting, so the Kings must see something in Richardson. Will he get an extended opportunity to show it next season?
This season: 72 games, 4 goals, 34 assists, 63 penalty minutes, 20:59 average ice time.
The good: The Kings claimed Quincey off waivers from Detroit the morning after Jack Johnson suffered his shoulder injury, but they wanted him anyway. It wasn’t immediately clear why, since Quincey had only 13 games of NHL experience (over three seasons) with the Red Wings, but it became clear soon enough. Quincey finished second on the team in assists, even though he was dealing with back-pain issues for most of the season. Quincey was particularly potent on the power play, with a team-high 27 power-play points, and generally was a great surprise for the Kings.
The bad: It’s a bit difficult to classify Quincey. Is he a young player? Sort of, but he’s 23. Was he a rookie? No, plus he had 13 games of playoff experience with the Red Wings. So it’s sort of hard to judge how much a ceiling Quincey has. He could still improve aspects of his overall game, but it’s hard to criticize any part of the effort he gave the Kings this season, especially knowing that he played with a bad back.
Going forward: There’s little doubt that Quincey has earned a spot with the Kings. His back, surgically repaired near the end of the season, should be fully healed by the time training camp starts, but will his inability to do some conditioning work in the summer negatively impact him in training camp?
This season: 44 games, 21-18-2 record, 2.48 goals-against average, .914 save percentage.
The good: What’s not to like? Quick, with only three previous games of NHL experience, came up from Manchester after the Kings traded Jason LaBarbera and, as Terry Murray put it, gave the Kings a chance to win every night. Well, almost every night, but it’s hard to argue with what Quick gave the Kings. He had four shutouts, ended the season by allowing a total of six goals in his last four games and generally gave hope that he could be the goalie the Kings have been looking for.
The bad: Forty-four games is a good sample size, but there’s still a bit of a “prove it” aspect to Quick. Yes, he thrived during a midseason call-up when expectations weren’t high. What happens if he earns the No. 1 job out of training camp and feels the pressure of being the top dog? Can he handle it? There’s a bit of a consistency issue with Quick, but that can be said about any young goalie.
Going forward: By all indications, Quick will enter training camp as the de facto No. 1 goalie. The Kings will make him earn it, and Erik Ersberg and Jonathan Bernier will be given a chance to knock him off, but Ersberg seems better suited to backup duty and the Kings would ideally like to have Bernier spend another season in the AHL. No player on the Kings is more competitive than Quick, so he should be up to the challenge in training camp.
Alexander Frolov has been chosen to represent Russia, and Michal Handzus has been chosen to represent Slovakia in the IIHF World Championships, which begin Friday in Switzerland. The full news release from the Kings follows…
Continue reading “Frolov, Handzus in Worlds” »
This season: 40 games, 4 goals, 12 assists, 4 penalty minutes, 13:31 average ice time.
The good: Purcell had 16 goals in 38 games with Manchester and, at times, showed that offensive touch with the Kings. Purcell made the most noise in early March, when he had at least one point in five consecutive games and totaled two goals and four assists in those five games. Purcell’s numbers fell off toward the end of the season, but he earned some first-line time during the season, and ended it as part of an intriguing third line with Brian Boyle and, at times, Brad Richardson.
The bad: Purcell’s first stint with the Kings this season, in December and January, ended in relative disappointment. Purcell alternated between the first and fourth line. In Terry Murray’s eyes, Purcell didn’t bring enough offense to stay on the first line and didn’t bring enough grit to stay on the fourth line. That led to a return trip to Manchester.
Going forward: Asumming the Kings re-sign him (he’s a restricted free agent), next season will be an important one for Purcell, a player Dean Lombardi once had penciled in as a potential first-line winger. Purcell’s style of play indicates that he needs to be in a top-six role in order to thrive in the NHL, but will his talent level make him a fit in one of those roles? Lombardi’s activity level in the trade market this summer will go a long way toward determining where Purcell might be able to fit.
This season: 22 games, 3 goals, 4 assists, 6 penalty minutes, 16:45 average ice time.
The good: Well, his blog on lakings.com was pretty entertaining for a while, right? In the best of times, Preissing can be a valuable power-play contributor (five of his seven points this season came with the man advantage) and even during tough times, he didn’t complain and remained a popular figure in the locker room before he eventually got sent to Manchester.
The bad: A mysterious bout with dizziness, coupled with ineffective play, led to Preissing playing only 22 games this season. That’s $125,000 per game played, which is pretty amazing. Preissing received his big four-year contract with the Kings after a strong season with Ottawa in 2006-07, when the Senators made the Stanley Cup Finals. It seems increasingly clear that Preissing simply was a better fit in Ottawa’s system.
Going forward: It’s not pretty. The Kings have Preissing under contract for two more seasons, at $2.75 million per season. If there’s one contract the Kings would like to get off the books, it’s this one, but they’re already paying two buyouts next season (Cloutier and McCauley), and Dean Lombardi would have to do quite a sell-job to get another GM to take that salary this summer. More than likely, it’s, “Hello, Manchester.”
This season: 82 games, 0 goals, 12 assists, 71 penalty minutes, 20:29 average ice time.
The good: When the Kings acquired O’Donnell from the Ducks — essentially for free, since the conditional draft pick ended up staying with the Kings — they didn’t have unrealistic expectations. In O’Donnell, they sought a veteran who would be a good presence in the locker room and be a left-shot defenseman whom they could pair with rookie Drew Doughty and be a steady presence. O’Donnell ended up being all that and more. His average ice time was at its highest level since the 2003-04 season and, at age 37, he played all 82 games for a second consecutive season.
The bad: After a brilliant start to the season, O’Donnell’s play did take a bit of a mid-season dip, and Terry Murray sought to cut back his minutes, but O’Donnell still regularly played more than 20 minutes per night.
Going forward: The Kings could easily have traded O’Donnell at the deadline, but chose to keep him and sign him to a one-year extension. There’s still very much a place for O’Donnell on this team. Even though Doughty has graduated, so to speak, and probably doesn’t need the defensive protection that O’Donnell provides, O’Donnell’s steady play and leadership can definitely be utilized by Terry Murray next season. O’Donnell’s conditioning is strong, and he should be able to hold up well for at least one more season.
This season: 7 games, 1 goal, 0 assists, 2 penalty minutes, 14:30 average ice time.
The good: Moulson was one of the training camp “winners,” as he impressed Terry Murray enough to earn a spot on the team at the start of the season. Moulson played in seven of the Kings’ first 10 games and had some first-line time but eventually got sent down to Manchester. With the Monarchs, Moulson had his third consecutive 20-goal season.
The bad: Moulson is just sort of “there,” seemingly not going forward and not going backward. At age 25, he’s not old, but he’s also on the wrong end of the age curve. As the Kings’ depth chart gets filled with progressively younger players, it’s going to be easier for Moulson to simply fall off the radar. His AHL numbers have been decent, but nothing to suggest that he’s due for a NHL breakthrough.
Going forward: It’s certainly not out of the question that Moulson could earn a roster spot out of training camp — if the Kings bring him back (he’s a restricted free agent this summer) — but it’s more likely that he would continue to fill the role he has filled for the last two seasons, as the guy who hops on an L.A.-bound plane when someone strains a groin muscle.
This season: 40 games, 7 goals, 8 assists, 16 penalty minutes, 13:22 average ice time.
The good: The Kings didn’t plan for Moller to make the team this season, but he forced their hand with an outstanding training camp. At times, he certainly displayed an NHL-caliber game, and a surprising amount of his offensive production came on the power play (five of seven goals, four of eight assists). Moller’s ability to play center and wing made him versatile, and he has the potential to fit on any of the Kings’ four lines.
The bad: He’s small. Really small. But he’s also young (20), with the potential to pack on some bulk, which he will need to do in order to make a big impact at the NHL level. Moller was doing pretty well until he left, in mid-December, to play for Sweden in the World Juniors. He hurt his shoulder, missed almost two months, and was never really the same after that. Moller often found himself as a healthy scratch in important March games.
Going forward: There’s little doubt that Moller is an NHL player, and that he has the potential to bulk up enough to earn a bigger role next season. Moller’s work ethic and competitiveness have been two of his biggest stengths since draft day, and wherever the Kings are headed, he’s going to be a big part of their future. The question in training camp might be, is Moller ready for a top-six forward role?
This season: 6 games, 1 goal, 2 assists, 0 penalty minutes, 11:36 average ice time.
The good: Either through reality or mere perception, it seemed as though Lewis’ stock was slipping within the organization before this season. He had only 12 goals and 16 assists in 76 games with Manchester in 2007-08. He rebounded nicely this season though, and totaled 20 goals and 31 assists in 75 games in the AHL. His work ethic also impressed Kings management enough to earn him a brief December call-up, and at one point he was playing first-line minutes. Lewis put himself squarely in the forefront in terms of forward prospects.
The bad: Six games at the NHL level isn’t much to judge. It was a good cup of coffee for Lewis, but he will have to prove that he can consistently play at the NHL level. One issue might be where Lewis fits. His offensive numbers, even though they were better this season, weren’t overwhelming at the AHL level, so it’s hard to see him stepping into a top-six forward role right now. For now, is he ready to replace Derek Armstrong as a fourth-line center?
Going forward: It seems likely that Lewis will be given a chance to earn a roster spot in training camp, but his margin for error will be slim. At age 22, he’s certainly young enough to spend another season in the AHL without giving the appearance that he’s simply treading water, but the potential is there for Lewis to at least claim a fourth-line role.