The second set of answers. Lots of good questions coming in, and some of them aren’t even about Travis Moen! Apparently, “Are the Kings going to sign a third-line winger?” is the 2009 version of “When are the Kings going to trade for a goalie?” Here’s the next set of answers…
Question: one more, what about Kostopolus, at say 900K on the 3rd line?
Answer: I really don’t get a sense that the Kings are looking to add more forwards, but I suppose there’s alwaya a chance that they could grab a guy at a relatively low salary. I wouldn’t bet on it though.
Question: Has DL had any talks with the Fro Camp? If so are they close at all? What about Jacks Deal are they close?
Answer: As of late last week, the Kings had not started talking to Frolov’s agent, Don Meehan, yet. As far as Johnson is concerned, I don’t think there’s any such thing as “close.” You either have a deal or you don’t. Talks usually run on parallel tracks, because you have money and term. Once you agree on years, you have to agree on money, or vice versa. So you might be “close” on one but far away on the other.
Question: With the departure of Quincey, what do you think comes of our Point Men on the Power Play. I would think Doughty and Stoll would make up one pair but who would you pair Johnson with? I wouldn’t think Scuderi, Greene or O’Donnell would be a replacement or least not good ones.
Answer: Good question. There’s certainly not a natural replacement among the defensemen, and even if the Kings went to a power-play unit with four forwards, as they sometimes have done, I’m not certain who would be a natural for that spot. That will be something to keep an eye on in training camp.
Question: Oh what do you all and DL think about he Hawks screw up on the “QO” to Kris V. and is it possible to pick him up if the NHLPA gets him out of his deal and he becomes a UFA?
Answer: I seriously doubt that those guys are going to become unrestricted free agents, even though the league is going to have to do something to address that, since the Devils had to pay the price for a similar mis-step a few years back. If, for some reason, Versteeg should become a UFA, I seriously doubt the Kings would be the only team interested.
Question: Do you think Purcell still has a place on the team or could be moved?
Answer: Moved, as in traded? I doubt there would be much of a market for a 23-year-old winger with 19 points in 50 games. There’s definitely the chance that Purcell can earn a spot on the team, but a lot of it will depend on what the Kings want to do with the third line. Do they want scoring? Do they want grit? Some combination of both? That could determine how much of a chance Purcell gets.
Questions: How do you forsee the addition of the Scuderi and Smyth contracts affecting the Kings ability to sign some of the other guys like Quick and Frolov? What is your initial assessment of the Smythe trade? With the addition of Smyth, do you still believe that a top 6 forward is the Kings greatest area of need?
Answers: 1) It’s tough to put Frolov and Quick in the same category. You’re likely talking about several million dollars in difference between the two of them in their next contracts. So yes, it might complicate the Frolov possibility, but the bigger issue will be how much the salary-cap ceiling might come down. 2) It can’t hurt. The Kings gave up a solid defenseman, but not a world-class one, and they got rid of a contract that was a world-class headache. In exchange, they get an excellent reader and a guy who, if healthy, should remain a 30-goal threat for the next couple seasons. 3) No. The Kings now have six forwards in Smyth, Kopitar, Williams, Frolov, Brown and Stoll/Handzus. At this point, if a top-six forward comes in, one will be headed out also.
Question: Any insight as to how the summer training is going with the guys in L.A.? Are they working with the new trainer yet, and if so, do you know what the response is? I’m curious to hear, say, who’s dedicating a lot of time to working out in the offseason and showing that committment.
Answer: The new strength coach has had close communication with the players, and a major chunk of them will be in L.A. this week to start working with the coach, and each other, in off-ice workouts. From what I’m told, there’s been a good reaction from the players to the new coach. Beyond that, it’s basically impossible to track who is working out when, when they’re all over the continent and the world. It’s usually pretty obvious when they show up for camp.
Question: 1. i hope you get a paid vacation this summer…not a furlough… 2. in yr opinion, which team out there is still looking to make a significant trade (buyers/sellers)…? 3. i’ll spare you a frolov question… 4. which team has come out of the draft/signing day(s) best/worst up until this point…? who made the best move…? i still don’t know what philly was thinking (pronger), do you…? 5. where does the barrie/koules battle end…? which way are they really leaning w/vinny, marty & co…? 6. thank you for yr dedication…
Answers: 1) Starting next week, assuming I live that long. 2) You’d have to think that Brian Burke is looking to do something dramatic still, because his efforts to make a splash at the draft (Tavares) and through free agency (the Sedins) failed. Teams that signed players to those enormous contracts a few years back, particularly Philadelphia with Daniel Briere, will still probably be looking to sell, the way Colorado did with Smyth. 3) That is much appreciated. 4) As far as single moves go, I really like what the Ducks did in dealing Pronger. I’m on the fence about Montreal. That could either be great or a disaster. How’s that for hedging my bets? I agree with you about the Flyers. They have made a series of odd decisions. 5) I would recommend a UFC-style cage fight. Honestly, I wish they would sell the team and split the profits (if there are any). If I was a Lightning fan, I don’t know how much confidence I would have in either guy. 6) Thanks, I appreciate that, as I do all of the kind words.
Question: I like Quick but do you all think we have a top notch goal teneder?
Answer: At this moment? No. The Kings don’t even have a proven No. 1 NHL goalie, but they have three guys (Quick, Bernier and Zatkoff) with great potential. I think of Ersberg as being more of a strong backup. It’s going to be up to those three (and perhaps Martin Jones in a couple years) to sort it out based on the way they play. The Kings aren’t going to acquire any more goalies.