Forum answers III

The third set of questions and answers…

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Question: There are lots of people posting their ideas about potential lines. I can’t remember if it was something I read here or read Bob or Jim say, but isn’t Terry Murray into building “base pairs” with his forwards and using the other forwards as “parts” to complete his lines? For instance, Stoll and Brown were a base pair last year and saw parts such as Frolov, Sully, Moeller, and Williams from time to time on their line. That being said, who do you think will be the “base pairs” and who do you think will be the parts? I would like to think the Kings can move forward with the roster you posted yesterday. There are certainly enough players for Terry Murray to create his pairs and parts lists. However, there are quite a few posters who still think the Kings should add free agents such as Kovalev and Moen. What are your thoughts on adding guys such as these to the roster? From your knowledge of the Kings and Dean Lombardi, do feel that Lombardi would still like to sign any UFAs at the forward position?

Answers: 1) Yeah, I think every coach, ideally wants a base LINE, not just base pairs, but I agree that Stoll-Brown turned into one. Handzus-Simmonds was one that developed early and had success throughout the season. Much of it will depend on Williams and Smyth, and who they mesh with. 2) Again, I don’t get the sense that there are going to be any additions at forward. The salary structure argues against it. Kovalev just signed with Ottawa, so I’m very happy to not hear that name any longer. Hopefully someone will sign Travis Moen soon.

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Question: Is there anyway to find out from AEG how ticket sales are going for Kings Fest?

Answer: I haven’t asked, really. I’m not sure what they will consider a sellout to be, but they’ve been promoting it well and they still have about six weeks until the event.

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Question: Hey Rich, I visit this site multiple times a day(as i’m sure many other fans do). Do you happen to know how many hits you get in a day on average?

Answer: Yes. A lot. More than the Daily News’ home page for most of the past week. Which I owe to all of you, so thanks…

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Question: In your estimation, how much has the hockey IQ of the average reader/poster risen (or fallen) since you started your blog?

Answer: Hmmm. You’re going to have to designate between reader and poster. That might influence my answer…

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Question: 1.) I’m glad all Kings games will be in HD next season (WOO-HOO!), but there were quite a few games that weren’t telecast last season, in particular 3 of the last 4(?). If the Kings go to Canada at the end of this season and they’re battling for the 8th spot, are we going to be left high and dry? I’m a little concerned. 2.) Will you be doing a Jim Fox Q&A this off-season? I recall them being very good and it was fun having him answer our questions. 3.) Will Dean Lombardi ever “tweet” or is he still trying to type his first “tweet” from the draft?

Answers: 1) From what I understand, there has been an issue involving fees with telecasts coming out of Canada. I was told that if the Kings were still in the playoff race in the final week of last season, there was going to be a push to get those games televised, and I’m sure the demand would have forced their hand. Don’t hold me to this, but I believe the Ducks televised their Canada games, so I don’t know why it would be such an issue for the Kings. 2) Jim does a fantastic job, and if he’s up for it this month, I’d love to have him do some guest-blogging again. 3) Yeah, still waiting on that… I was wondering how the Kings were going to convince Lombardi to “tweet” on the busiest day of his year. I got my answer…they didn’t.

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Questions: Are there any residual injury issues for Ryan Smyth? Do you think any other left wing will be obtained this year? Do you think Brayden Schenn can make the team this year, realistically?

Answers: 1) If there are, the Kings will find out about them after today’s physical, and they have the right to void the trade if they’re not satisfied. 2) I still doubt it. 3) No, I don’t even think it’s a part of the conversation right now.

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Question: Do you think DL is interested in signing Travis Moen?

Answer: Hmmmm. If I say no, will the questions stop? Tempting.

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Questions: 1. What do you think will happen if Kings will miss the playoffs next year? We talked about it before, and DL said that if the players still develop and we feel that we have done progress, then we might be satisfied even if me miss the playoffs. But really? That was before we aquired Smyth, Scuderi and maybe some more.. Do you feel that the management are compelled to do something, like kicking DL or TM? 2. Do you still se us go after Kovalchuck after next season? Maybe if we fail to sign Fro.. 3. Would you rather see us resign Fro (especially if he had a good season) than taking Kovi?

Answers: 1) There has to be continued progress, but “progress” is in the eye of the beholder. I would not feel comfortable saying that it’s playoffs or bust, but if the Kings don’t show improvement — if the goalies all flop and the defense takes a step backward — Lombardi is going to have some things to answer for. 2) Latest word I’ve heard is that Atlanta will spend huge to keep Kovalchuk, so I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one if I were you. 3) Well, that’s far from an either/or scenario. If you’re telling me that both players would a) want to play in L.A. and b) for the exact same money, I’d choose Kovalchuk without a second thought. In general, I do think Kovalchuk is a franchise player. I’m not sure if I would say the same for Frolov.

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Question: Rich, with all the excitement surrounding the Kings new acquisitions, have you heard anything from TM? In evaluating talent for FAs and potential trades, does DL consult with TM? After all it’s TM that needs to make the team work on the ice. Thanks again for letting us in on the inside info!

Answer: I actually need to call Terry in the next couple days for a story I’m working on, so I should be able to get his thoughts on a few subjects. And yes, there’s good consultation between Lombardi and Murray. For example, there was plenty of discussion about Mike Knuble before the Kings decided to go after him. I’d say it’s more along those lines than Murray going to Lombardi and saying, “I want this.”

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Question: Have you heard DL or anyone talk about dong something about the rule that doesn’t allow players under 20 to enter the AHL when they can play junior? Seems counterproductive. Do you think there is a lack of speed up front or lack of puck-moving defensemen with the subtracktion of Quincey?

Answers: 1) That’s an agreement between the leagues, so I’m not sure what Lombardi or the GMs can do about it. The rules do seem silly, but I haven’t really heard about any movement to change them. 2) Yes, the Kings subtract Quincey, but they have Doughty and Johnson, plus Drewiske and Harrold have some decent puck-moving skills. Harrold obviously spent some time at forward, so the Kings have some confidence in his ability with the puck on his stick.

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  • mike

    Thanks for everything rich!

    Will you be attending the kings game in ontario this year against San Jose?

  • Paul from Oxnard

    Regarding the question about 20 years olds, the AHL, and Canadian juniors, I doubt you’ll see that situation change any time soon. The AHL is basically a professional developmental league for the NHL. Canadian juniors is NOT.

    CHL teams have their players for a max of 4 years (save for the rare Tavares case), and their best players get poached to the NHL directly, such as Crosby, Doughty, Luke Schenn, etc… So if you’re running a CHL team, you realistically have your best players for 2 or at most 3 years. You have to make hay in your league while your very small window is open. It’s a very similar situation to the professional leagues in Europe and Russia, but at least the CHL teams have “rights” over their players.

    So the only real “protection” CHL teams have from losing their best players right in their prime opportunities to win is by not allowing them to leave the league until they’re 20 years old or have played 4 years of junior hockey, unless they go right to the NHL. And as a matter of fact, if the trend continues and more Doughty/Crosby/Schenn types make the NHL and stay there in the future, it wouldn’t surprise me if the CHL made an aggressive effort to make the rules even stricter.

    There are no other sports leagues in North America which are structured the same as hockey. Yes, baseball has the minor leagues, which are pretty much the closest, but those players are drafted out of high school or college and go directly to play in professional baseball in the minors, assuming they sign of course.

  • Bernie9

    Rich, why the distain for Travis Moen??

  • Daniel

    OK, since I doubt you can read minds – Poster. :)

  • AEG rulez

    Any interest in Chelios by DL? Seems like a good fit as a #7 D. Cheap, owns property in the area, and would be a good ‘criminal element’ to tutor the kiddies in the finer points of filth.

  • Buck

    Is there a chance of getting Luc to do a Q&A, like Jim does?

  • HookzNU

    Cam Barker re-signed with the Hawks for $9.25 over 3 years. That sounds pretty much exactly what JJ should get.

  • KevinWestgarth

    YES!! No more Moulsson because he’s officially an Islander product…

  • KevinWestgarth

    Also, DL should let the Isles have Purcell too…

  • tkecanuck341

    Where do you think Oscar Moller will end up this year? I know DL & TM (and myself) were impressed with his performance last year. We obviously have our top three centers in Kopitar, Stoll, and Handzus…does Moller fit in at #4, or does Trevor Lewis move up this year to take that spot, leaving Moller down in Manchester? Is using Moller as a winger something that they would look at?

  • josh e.

    Hey Rich, do you know the different friendship circles that have formed in the locker room or out of the locker room among the kings? Like are Simmonds and Moller buddies, Stoll and Brown, etc. The only one I had known about last year was sully and quincey…both of whom are now gone…

  • Kevin Y

    Rich, do you know what number Scuderi is going to wear? He wore #4 in Pittsburgh, but of course that was Blake’s number.

  • jet

    HooksNU – But the Hawks were in an awful bargaining position with the QO screw up. Without the case against the Hawks, Barker would see 4 for 11M. In data analysis this contract would be an outlier and not used as reference for other contracts since the Hawks were under duress.
    Still the Hawks screw up was Barkers gain. The Isles, Yotes and the Leafs are going to be picking up good players for real cheap.

  • stevebone

    Hey Rich, do you know the different friendship circles that have formed in the locker room or out of the locker room among the kings? Like are Simmonds and Moller buddies

    When I played golf last year with Oscar, he said that he was rooming with his buddy Simmonds. Since they were both rookies I think they hung together.

  • Baumgartner22

    HookzNU – great point about barker. JJ also a 3rd overall pick (1 year later) with fewer games played and fewer pts. good benchmark. nice catch.

  • stevebone

    Would there be a creative way that we could create a contract for JJ, and then Fro? Like maybe a signing bonus (it doesn’t go against the cap if you have already reached the cap (I think?). Or even front load a contract for JJ to spread out the cost like some of the other teams are doing. It seems like we should be able to do something, What about incentive bonus’ number of games plus playoffs?

  • Paul from Oxnard

    TSN has a pretty detailed breakdown of the Smyth trade and what it could mean for both teams: http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=283912

  • Mr. Nuff

    Dear Rich,

    This is a comment more than a question since I know the subject is beat with you. However, if you can add some insight to the topic I would be grateful.
    Frolov really seems to be a whipping boy for DL and TM and I just don’t get it. It seems guys like Blake and others who made comparable money or more, took far more nights off and were far more inconsistent YET, somehow NEVER drew the criticism of DL and staff! Blake’s compete level was nowhere to be found on MOST nights, and I never heard a negative word uttered about it.
    Frolov on the other hand can have an injured groin he’s playing with while having opposing players hanging off of him all night and yet his desire to win is questioned!
    I am not a fanboy that falls in love with players. I wasn’t crying with Cammalleri, O’Sullivan, or Visnovsky being traded. But losing Frolov would really hurt this team and set a bad precedent to the team and fans.
    He does NOT have a history of going after the big money. He is entering the 5th year of a very reasonable contract. So why all the ??? surrounding what kind of money he will be looking for?
    He has shown the willingness to play on any line or any situation on the ice and NEVER complains. It would appear to me that he has a great attitude and is easy to coach. Does he have room for improvement? Sure, but who on this team doesn’t?
    He has scored 20+ goals for 5 straight seasons (every year since his rookie season) and scored 32 and 35 in 2 of those seasons. 32 last year on an offensively starved team where opposing players could key on him.
    I know you said you’d take Kovalchuk over him if all things were equal and you had to choose one or the other, and I MAY also. But I don’t thinks it’s that easy of a decision. Kovalchuk will score more goals, but he will likely be the cause of a few against…in which case things are a little more even than they appear at first glance.
    It sure appears that we have a good/great 2-way player on our team that just can’t seem to get the respect of his coach and GM. I REALLY hope they make extending his contract a priority, but from the tone of your recent comments and DL’s regarding him, I don’t think that’s the case.
    Can you add any insight as to why Frolov is the “Rodney Dangerfield” of this team?

  • Ersberg

    With looking at our line-up, I can’t help but think we desperately need another 1a/b playmaking/point producing center. With Schenn being a couple/few years out, another deal should be made to unload Stoll or Zus. Stoll put up 41 points, while Zus put up 42 last season.

    We have too many 3rd/4th line guys. We should unload a bunch of those guys for a bona fide 1a/b center.

    Smyth-Kopitar-Williams
    Frolov-****-Brown

    If we insert Stoll or Zus on that 2nd line, they aren’t going to generate anymore offense than they did last season.

    And mentioning they were learning a “new system” is quite simply an excuse. Many teams have a defensive structure and still score a lot more than those guys did/do. It’s not the system, it’s the overall talent level.

    Take Philly for example. They have a great D and both Richards and Carter generate plenty of offense. That’s what we need on our first/second line(s).

    Smyth and Scuderi are great adds, but DL needs one more piece to make it a perfect 3 for 3.

  • Kings Fan Since72

    DL needs to makeover the 3rd and 4th line’s.
    Out: Zeiler,Ivanans,Purcell,Harold,Moller, we tried this last year, out with the old, in with the new.
    All those players are not NHLer’s in my book.
    We need mmore toughness & character on those lines, including speed and talent…. no more Fillers DL, please. Look at DET 3rd & 4th lines, they would run over the Kings. Please no more Harold on D and FW, send him down, he brings nothing.

  • Quisp

    Ersberg –

    Agreed that Stoll and Handzus are both more or less third line centers. However, given the centers in the pipeline — Moller, Lewis, Elkins, Loktionov, Azevedo, Schenn — I don’t think it makes a lot of sense to deal one of Stoll or Handzus plus some other pieces to upgrade at number two. For one thing, it’s reasonable to assume that Moller will be able to be the number two center soon. Maybe this year. For another, Loktionov is right on his heels. Elkins may or may not be some kind of answer to something, I don’t know, I’ve never seen him.

    I think DL will likely go into camp with the centers he has and see where everybody is. Then, if we get to the trade deadline, and (we should be so lucky) the Kings are clearly headed for the playoffs while still having not settled on a true #2 center, you might see an old-fashioned deadline upgrade, you know the kind where a team dumps prospects in order to get some fancy old-timer for the playoffs. But, these days, where we’ll get the cap space for that is anybody’s guess.

  • PakiFro

    Rich,

    1)Do you think Dean Lombardi uses his public statements calling out Anze Kopitar’s conditioning or Alexander Frolov’s compete level as a motivation tactic or as open criticism? It seems like he like’s what these players have to offer so he tries to motivate them using public comments. I don’t recall him using similar tacticts with Cammy or Sully, hence they’re gone. 2) Do you think this is smart to do? It makes him seem like he’s unsure about his “core” at times.

    And of course, the obligatory question of the week…How long will Frolov remain a King? I kid…

  • Ersberg

    Quisp-

    So you would argue Moller and/or Lok have the same kind of potential guys like Richards or Carter have? That’s what we’ll need if we’re going to contend, because lets face it, it’s possible we play against those same guys in the playoffs. That’s what I’m getting at.

    What we have now, and what’s in our pipeline isn’t the same caliber as what some of these other teams have currently. On top of that fact, why make a deal for Scuds and Smyth when these guys aren’t going to be ready now? That’s less years these vets will be with us.

    People assume we’re using Scuds and Smyth as “bridge players” and or “teachers”, when in fact DL has them in place to win either now and/or in the near future.

    Loktionov is years away from his slated max potential, and Moller may in fact start in Manchester this year. I’m going off of what Dean said about him recently, anyway. Smyth and Scuds will be gone by then. So, DL is bringing them in just to show Kopi and Brown how to play with grit? Just to have them around a few years solely to teach seems awfully expensive to me.

    I don’t know, maybe I’m just not seeing what it is his really trying to do here. Nevertheless, I’m still excited about having both of those guys join us.

  • Quisp

    Ersberg – Safari just crashed and ate my long response to you. I will try to summarize…

    If you want to trade for a #2, we can’t take on salary like we did with the Smyth deal, so it’s going to have to be trading assets of equal value. Briere could be had, if we had the cap room to add him (which we don’t), and he’s old and not an upgrade over Stoll at this point. Carter and Richards? They’re not trading them. they’re not going to take Stoll in trade because that doesn’t give them cap relief. And, again, we can’t add their salaries. We could dump Stoll elsewhere after acquiring Carter (for example) for a massive package of picks and prospects, but I don’t really think Philly would go for that. And the other option is to package two assets to upgrade one better one. But I don’t know who that would be. Stoll and…Greene? Johnson? We don’t have the d to spare now.

    Now, on to your Moller/Loktionov question…

    Yes, I do think that Moller and Loktionov have the potential to be as valuable as Richards and Carter. They’re not the same kinds of players, but in terms of potential, sure. When Carter and RIchards were the age of Moller and Loktionov, they had 74 and 75 points respectively in the OHL. By comparison, Moller had 83 points and was a year younger. And Loktionov had 99 points in 71 games last year. His OHL numbers in the playoffs were better than Tavares’s and Duchene’s.

    Now, does that mean either of those kids is going to be the Kings’ go-to #2 center this year? No. I mean, look, Moller has a shot at the #2 spot this fall, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

    If we happen to find ourselves in the playoffs against Philly (a nice problem to have since it would mean we’re in the FINALS), I would hope that DL would have rented us a Tkachuk type guy for the playoff run, as so often happens.

    As to your other comment, I don’t think DL has shifted to a “win now” mentality. We’re past “rebuilding,” but I don’t think there’s any reason to bring in more veterans.

    As far as the expense of bringing in Scuderi and Smyth:

    Scuderi – he’s possibly a little more expensive than Quincey would have been next year, but not by much.

    Smyth – this year, he costs us $3.5 ($6.25 minus Preissing). Next year he costs us probably about $1M, because Quincey would be getting his raise. So it’s basically a wash.

    For whatever reason, I’m not that worried about Stoll in the second line center role. I think the Kings have upgraded at all positions over the beginning of last season. There’s no reason to expect anything less than a playoff berth.

  • Ersberg

    Quisp-

    Fair enough.

    I knew we wouldn’t get Richards/Carter, but if we made another trade(Stoll/Zus+prospect+pick) to get another guy is my point. If we equal the same amount of cap space going out, we could do it. As you pointed it out, we just did it with Smyth.

    That’s what I was getting at. We could, on paper, contend if we dealt for a guy this year.

    We agree that Stoll/Zus isn’t the guy(I hope). We’re definitely missing a 1a center, unless Kopi shows that he’s the guy this season of course. If he does, then we’re missing a proven 1b guy.

    I’ll break it down:

    If Kopi is 1a:

    Kopi
    1b center
    Stoll or Zus
    Moller

    If he’s not:

    1a center
    Kopi
    Stoll or Zus
    Moller

    Those are completely realistic and reasonable center line-ups.

    If Lok pans out in the next couple of years, then you remove Stoll or Zus(depending who we traded out this season), and replace him with Lok and/or bump up Moller.

    Stoll is $3+ishm/per correct? Throw out Zeiler or Richardson, then we’re at $4ish+m/per. If we still have maybe $1ish+m/per left we could use off the cap, that’s over $5m/per we could use on the center.

    It’s doable.

  • Quisp

    The problem is just as much with the other teams. Somebody has to be willing to trade for Stoll and Handzus (who has a NTC but let’s pretend he’s game). How many people are going to give up one real #2 center for two failed #2 centers? I would guess: zero. However, you might be able to find someone who will give you a real #2 center in a salary dump, but in that case they’re not taking our failed #2 centers, they’re taking our picks and prospects. Which means we would take a cap hit. And we don’t have room. You could gamble and make such a deal (for the sake of argument: Jeff Carter for Teubert, Bernier and our 2010 1st round pick), and then hope to be able to dump Stoll elsewhere for picks and prospects, which is potentially doable but risky as teams tighten their belts — especially as the summer drags on and teams fill their roster spots, meaning that there will be fewer and fewer teams with cap space to take on a Stoll without taking salary back. In other words, WE would join the ranks of the teams who need to dump salary. And as I think we’re about to see, someone is going to get screwed really badly in that game…at some point there is going to be a team left with players they must get rid of and yet can’t get rid of because there is literally no-one to trade them to. What happens then?

    But I digress.

    if DL can work out a way to grab Jeff Carter without giving up anything but prospects I don’t like and/or Stoll, while staying under the cap, I’m all for it.

  • Ersberg

    Quisp-

    I was using Carter and Richards as examples. I don’t think we have a chance at either of those guys.

    Stoll does have value, just not as a 1/2 guy.

    We could do Stoll+prospect+pick for any of the above-average 1a/b centers in the league.

    Roy
    Briere
    Bergeron

    All three of those guys are roughly a point-per-game centers. All of them we would, barring injury, would be beneficial to the KIngs. Bergeron would be the toughest to get, due the Bruins’ cap space.

  • 3krazekatze

    Ersberg-

    Briere’s contract is for 6.5mil till 2015. Why would we want to do that? Roy’s contract is for 4.0 mill till 2013; why would they want to do that. As for Bergeron he is one of Boston’s building blocks if he can keep from concussing. The team with the most young centers with reasonable salaries is St. Louis; they have 4 or 5 young guys with good potential all under 4mill, and some under 2.5 mill. Boyes, Oshie, Bergland, Backes. They are in a similar salary postion to the Kings but they have the depth at center to give up one of these guys for the right package. This would also allow us more cap flexibility than going for a Briere type with an already high salary.

    Kraze

  • Quisp

    Okay, Ersberg, I’ve got one for you that makes a certain kind of twisted sense. Some will say this is just insane or stupid or one of those trades Kings fans come up with that have no basis in reality. However, bear with me…

    http://kwisp.wordpress.com/2009/07/07/utterly-irrational-trade-thought-involving-other-peoples-stars/

  • http://www.roescher.nl/board/member.php?u=4436 KauffVIAGRA