Pick the first line

In thinking about the upcoming season, it occured to me that before we start analyzing individual players, it might be wise to establish some sort of expectation level. For instance, do you see Dustin Brown as a first-line winger or a second-line winger? That’s an important question to answer before you start to address what you should expect from Brown this season.

So let’s start there, and since we’re all about interactivity here, a poll is in order. Select who you believe should be the three forwards on the first line. Keep in mind, as a coach must, position and which players you believe might fit well together. Then we’ll start the breakdown of the theoretical lines…


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  • http://vanitydesignstudios.com ianmonsta

    this is how i see the top 3 shaping up

    Fro/Purcell-Kopi-Williams
    Smyth-Stoll-Brown
    Fro/Purcell-Zues-Simmonds

  • Daniel

    My first line would be:
    J. Williams – A. Kopitar – R. Smyth

    I saw some chemistry between JW and AK late in the year last spring. I think Smyth camping out in the (light) blue will encourage Kopitar to put the puck on net more often.

    I love Frolov but I think he has a good thing going with Brown on the second line. It’s like Fire n’ Ice, those two.

  • Quisp

    Allow me to be the first to mock the absence of ME KOOOSH in your poll.

    To answer your question about Brown, which I know was just for example, I think he’s best on the third line. I know: BOOOO. Here’s my reasoning.

    First line is the Kopitar line. The only player Kopitar had any chemistry with last year was Frolov. So I’m starting with that. Two guys who don’t check need a third guy who is both a bump/crash/blue-paint guy anda sniper. That’s Williams. Simmonds is two years, but now, it’s Williams.

    First line: Fro/Ko/Williams

    Second line is the Ryan Smyth line. Whatever line he’s on will be the second line, unless he’s on the Kopitar line, which he’s not in my pretend version. Smyth is a blue-paint guy, he plays on the left side. Who should his center be? Moller, Stoll or Handzus? Could be Moller, but I’m going to go with Stoll. They played together in Edmonton. He’s got the shot. He’s physical. So it’s Smyth/Stoll. Now, the third piece on this line needs to be a slippery passing guy with some moves and soft hands. Is that Brown? No, it is not. It’s Purcell. Is Purcell better than Brown? No. But he’s a better fit.

    Second line: Smyth/Stoll/Purcell

    Third line is the Brown line. Handzus is going to be on the fourth line with Simmonds, as the shut down line. That leaves Moller to center Brown and … somebody. Does that work?

    Moller is a sniper with finish, quickness, tenacity, but not a lot of size. Brown is the bump and crash guy. The left side on this line needs either to be a wily passer (ME KOOOSH) or a big scary monster (King, Wudrick, tree to be named later). It could also be Lewis. But I think Lewis fits better in a defensive role next to Handzus and Simmonds.

    I know ME KOOSH is not going to make the team really. But since he intimidates me with his magic, I am compelled to say:

    Frolov/Kopitar/Williams
    Smyth/Stoll/Purcell
    Mikus/Moller/Brown
    Lewis/Handzus/Simmonds

  • pobo the hobo

    Really? someone actually voted for Ivanans and Zeiler on the first line?

  • Naturallawyer

    I like the idea of a Smyth-Stoll-Brown second line. Brown shoots the puck on net a lot, Stoll has a hard slap shot, and Smyth will be there to screen and fight for rebounds. They’ll get some timely dirty goals.

    That leaves Frolov-Kopi-Williams (the “all eyes are on me to improve” line) for the top line. More of a 1a/1b split in terms of minutes.

  • anthonyy

    Everytime I see the name John Zeiler on the end of a list, my heart sinks.

  • anthonyy

    Justin Williams 22% ??
    Are you F-ing Kidding me.
    Keep this guy off the top two lines.
    He’s injury prone and waaaaay overated.

  • Otto Ped

    Every time I see Anthonyy’s name in the comments section my heart sinks. I see you didnt learn tact in the off season. Why not reserve your highly judgmental and negative comments till you see how he plays? Or are you just pushing for him to fail since you promised to stop posting if he outscores Sully this season?

  • DetroitSons1952

    Quisp why would you have three guys on the same line that don’t go to the blue paint, until Kopitar proves that he’s the player everyone thinks he is, he’d be my second line guy and my first line would be Smyth, Fro and Williams, 2nd line would be Kopitar, Brown and Stoll. I’m not going to go out and get a guy like Smyth and then not have him on my 1st line, makes no sense. They didn’t have anybody yo crash the net last year and you want to sart out the same this year????

  • Deadmarsh

    Hey anthonyy what’s your take on the top line then? Always quick to judge, yet you never offer your own solution. And Otto I think youre right. Anthonyy wants Williams to fail so he can win his stupid little Sully bet. How sad is that? Rooting against a guy on your own team!

  • anthonyy

    Frolov-Kopitar-Smyth
    Brown-Stoll-Purcell
    Simmonds-Handzus-Moller/Williams
    The rest

    See, Simple.

  • JPKelly

    When plotting out the lines, one can argue that salary is a determining factor — e.g. should a $4M center be playing on the fourth line? Or one can argue “fit” — e.g. Purcell really only belongs on the first or second line, despite other RWs who might be “better players”, with higher salaries. And there’s always the “plug” theory — e.g. we’ll plug Lewis into whatever hole is left open, even if that’s not his natural position. All good and fine means of speculation.

    But I’m wondering if we shouldn’t also be considering the “Butt Tattoo Factor” (BTF). The Dean Lombardi era in LA has seen the emergence of ways of thinking about building and managing a hockey team that are relatively new to this fan base. According to the Lombardi regime, one of the understated, but seemingly essential, qualities of the desirable player is what sort of tattoo the guy has (or can potentially earn?) on his butt. This seems to be one of those clandestine, perhaps even “secret society” aspects of NHL culture — a la “the code” — that occasionally rears its head when GMs start to wax poetic about their assets. Does Thomas Hickey, for example, have more L.A. Kings Butt Tattoo Potential (BTP) than Jack Johnson because TH was drafted by us while JMFJ was acquired in a trade? (That’s the subject for another poll.) My musings on BTF, BTP and all things BT lead me to wonder if in fact NHL players have several butt tattoos. Not just that of the team that drafted and developed them, but also, say, of their favorite team growing up, or the number of their favorite player, or the date they scored their first NHL goal, or their natural position on the ice, or maybe, just maybe, the line on which they are prone to be most successful. How do we know, for example, that Dustin Brown doesn’t have a RW2 inked on one of his buns? Suppose he does. Now if he’s got the RW2 and the LAK logo tattoos, and Purcell only has the RW2, then who do you go with? What if both Stoll and Handzus have the C3 on theirs butts? What if there’s not a single player who has a LW1 on their butt? This seems really a matter for the coaches and managers to decide, philosophers and arbiters of taste that they are. I suggest we keep in mind that a lot of the answers to these fascinating and perplexing questions lie in some of those mysterious areas where the sun rarely, if ever, shines. What Rod Serling would call “The Two-Tone Zone”.

    Jim Fox, good ‘ol boy that he is, claims to have never seen a LA Kings butt tattoo. Don’t believe him for a second! That’s what they all say. There are worlds we will never know about.

  • DetroitSons1952

    It’s very simple as Anthony sez…. just put the guys together that play the way we want them to and everything will jell, don’t look at who is making this money, heck maybe we should put a line together that drives hybrids, Fords, Chevy’s etc. and of course the goaltender whoever he may be, must drive a Hummer….. oooopppps wrong team, ehhhh a tractor trailer. It’s going to be a super fun season and I can hardly wait.

  • 4thlinechecker

    anthonyy Author Profile Page said:

    Frolov-Kopitar-Smyth
    Brown-Stoll-Purcell
    Simmonds-Handzus-Moller/Williams
    The rest

    See, Simple.

    Not quite simple anthony…. Smyth and fro are both LW, they wont skate them on the same line

    Fro-Kopi-JW
    Smyth-Stoll-Brown
    Simmer-Zus-Moller

  • Quisp

    DetroitSons1952 said: Quisp why would you have three guys on the same line that don’t go to the blue paint

    Williams is obviously that guy.

    until Kopitar proves that he’s the player everyone thinks he is, he’d be my second line guy

    You can call the line whatever you want. It’s the Kopitar line.

    and my first line would be Smyth, Fro and Williams

    Two blue-paint guys, two-left wings and no center.

    2nd line would be Kopitar, Brown and Stoll.

    Two centers and one right wing. Brown and Kopitar showed no chemistry at all last year. Kopitar on the left wing is not going to happen after taking a year to learn the new system at his natural position. Stoll will always be the center on whatever line he skates, because of his faceoff skills.

    I’m not going to go out and get a guy like Smyth and then not have him on my 1st line, makes no sense.

    Why not? What does it matter? He’s a left wing. He’s not going to out-score Frolov, or, for that matter, Brown, and he had better not out-score Williams. Bottom line, though, is that it doesn’t matter what number you give to the top six forwards. First line, second line, whatever. There’s the line Kopitar centers, the line Stoll centers, and then there’s the line Handzus centers, and probably Moller is the fourth center (maybe Lewis, maybe some surprise).

    They didn’t have anybody yo crash the net last year and you want to sart out the same this year????

    Well, you’ve got Williams on the first line, Smyth on the second line, Brown on the third line and Simmonds on the fourth. That’s pretty good, if you ask me.

    Now, Anthonyy, about those lines of yours…

    Frolov-Kopitar-Smyth [Smyth is a left wing)
    Brown-Stoll-Purcell [Brown is a right wing; Purcell might be able to play off-wing though]
    Simmonds-Handzus-Moller/Williams [I don't know what this is, other than it's two centers and two right wings and no left wing; Handzus/Simmonds are a likely pair; Moller/Williams would be excellent]
    The rest [well, not really. There's only two spots, the left wings on the third and fourth lines. Lewis, probably, and someone else. Mikus? King? UFA?]

  • DetroitSons1952

    Well Quisp you make a fairly good argument if all things were balanced, but the truth is, the Kings are overloaded at center so someone is going to have to learn real quick how to play LW or RW, but I’m sure you have that figured out already. We still own Calder, at least for awhile until they either resign him or give him his walking papers. We have 5 centers, 2 1/2 RW’s unless Cliche happens to make the team out of camp, and 2 LW’s but if Clune makes the team out of camp then we could rest Ivanans so he dosn’t get to tired from all his fights (not). We have Zus, Moeller, Richardson, Kopitar and Stoll at center, 5 RW’s Williams, Brown, Purcell, Simmonds and Zeiler. Also if Lewis comes in that’ll give us 6 centers. As you said “Q” it doesn’t matter what you call them A or B, 1 or 2, we have 6 excellent forwards, now can they mix well when stired? Guess we’ll find out pretty soon though.
    Calder LW
    2008-09 Statistics
    GP G A PTS +/- PIM SOG SPCT PPG PPA SHG SHA GWG ATOI
    Reg Sea. 74 8 19 27 -1 41 93 8.6 2 2 0 0 1 13:10
    PROD 36:05

    Kopitar C
    2008-09 Statistics
    GP G A PTS +/- PIM SOG SPCT PPG PPA SHG SHA GWG ATOI
    Reg Sea. 82 27 39 66 -17 32 234 11.5 7 16 1 0 3 20:27
    PROD 25:24

    Smyth LW
    2008-09 Statistics
    GP G A PTS +/- PIM SOG SPCT PPG PPA SHG SHA GWG ATOI
    Reg Sea. 77 26 33 59 -15 62 257 10.1 10 10 1 0 3 20:17
    PROD 26:28

    Frolov C
    2008-09 Statistics
    GP G A PTS +/- PIM SOG SPCT PPG PPA SHG SHA GWG ATOI
    Reg Sea. 77 32 27 59 -6 30 176 18.2 12 13 1 1 1 19:55
    PROD 25:59

    Williams RW
    2008-09 Statistics
    GP G A PTS +/- PIM SOG SPCT PPG PPA SHG SHA GWG ATOI
    Reg Sea. 44 4 10 14 -8 17 108 3.7 3 3 0 0 0 15:54
    PROD 49:57

    Brown RW
    2008-09 Statistics
    GP G A PTS +/- PIM SOG SPCT PPG PPA SHG SHA GWG ATOI
    Reg Sea. 80 24 29 53 -15 64 292 8.2 7 11 0 0 6 19:24
    PROD 29:17

  • variable

    ok…

    i like kopi centering fro and jw…

  • dmh012

    My lines would be:

    Frolov – Kopitar – Simmonds
    Smyth – Stoll – Brown
    Moller – Handzues – Williams
    Purcell – Richadson – Westgarth

    Reasons why….
    1st line played one period together last year and had two goals. They dominated the whole period and then were forgotten about. 2nd line is a banging offensive line, not to many teams have one. 3rd line is responsible in in defensive end but still have a little scoring touch. 4th line will get 5 – 7 min a night. Just a suggestion.

  • Pumpernicholl

    Frolov as a centerman?

    Detroitsons please. You can’t be serious.

  • Quisp

    Detroit –

    Here’s how I see the depth chart:

    LW:
    Frolov
    Smyth
    (Ivanans)
    —-
    King
    Parse
    Clune
    Wudrick
    Clifford

    C:
    Kopitar
    Stoll
    Handzus
    Moller (can play RW)
    Lewis (can play RW)
    Zeiler
    Richardson (can play RW)
    —–
    Mikus (can play LW, I’m pretty sure)
    Azevedo
    Loktionov (can play RW)
    Elkins
    Schenn (can play LW)
    (Westgarth)

    RW:
    Brown
    Williams
    Simmonds
    Purcell (can play LW)
    —-
    Cliche
    Segal
    Vey
    Kozun

    Calder is a UFA. He’s gone, unless DL signs him at the last minute. Of the centers, Moller, Lewis, Zeiler and Richardson can all play wing easily. The left wing situation is interesting on the third and fourth lines; a lot depends on whether Cliche is (ever) ready to step up, and if any of the kids (Wudrick, King, Azevedo, Loktionov, Clifford, Schenn) are big surprises next month (I would be — er — surprised). Most likely the two theoretically open spots go to Lewis and someone else, a UFA signing (a la Calder but not Calder; I’m tired of Calder), or a prospect.

    A lot also depends on whether we’re going to carry one of Ivanans or Westgarth.

    I agree with Pumpernichol. Frolov will never play center.

  • PRMan

    Actually, Quisp had a very good set of arguments for the first 2 lines but then went off the deep end with Mikus.

    His reasoning was sound. Which means…

    Put Dustin Brown on the 3rd line with Handzus and Simmonds. Think about it.

    He’s pretty responsible defensively.

    That line needs someone who can shoot.

    The other team’s top players are NOT going to want Dustin Brown headhunting them.

    He may score MORE because the defense against him will be worse.

    Thoughts?

  • DetroitSons1952

    Quisp, I keep forgetting about the kids, could we possibly have lightning hit us two years in a row and have one or even two make the team out of camp in positions that we need filled? You know Tanguay is still loose. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggg, I was wondering what you meant about Fro not being a Center, forgive me please, it was a finger typo, I meant to type LW. I had to go back and look. Camp is going to be very interesting

  • King Arthur

    I think Frolov deserves a shot on the 1st line. I don’t think he played on the top line all last year.

    Frolov/Kopie/Williams
    Smyth/Stoll/Brown
    Simmonds/Zeus/Moller

  • macdup

    pobo the hobo Author Profile Page said:

    Really? someone actually voted for Ivanans and Zeiler on the first line?

    I heard they both finally got computers and the internet over the off-season. Or maybe their Moms did.

    -Dave

  • Quisp

    DetroitSons re lightning strikes twice -

    Probably not. But I’m wondering about King, Azevedo, Elkins, Mikus, Cliche, and maybe even Clifford (although I’m thinking Clifford, like Schenn and Loktionov, is a year or two away). Is Parse finally possible? I’m on my last leg of hoping for him. But it could happen. Okay, put him on the list, too.

  • Mike in Oregon

    Add Richardson to the heart sinking list with Zeiler

  • KingNewfie

    I personally would like to see a Purcell / Kopi / Williams line, but I think that a little unlikely so my real thoughts on what the top lines will be are below. A lot of others seem to think the same way:

    Frolov / Kopi / Williams

    Smyth / Stoll / Brown

    Simmonds / Handzus / Purcell

    To me, the most powerful line out of these is the 2nd. I really love the thought of those three linin’ up together.

    That’s my 3 cents.

  • Winsomemore

    My 1st Line: Fro/Kopitar/Williams

    Fro: Puck Possession, Scorer, Playmaker
    Kopitar: Playmaker, Scorer
    Williams: Front of Net Presence, Scorer, Playmaker

  • darko25o

    Frolov/Kopi/Williams
    Smyth/Stoll/Brown
    Simmonds/Zeus/Moller
    and I’d add a fourth line of
    Ratis/Lewis/Purcell
    My biggest concern is the lack of toughness on the 1st line. The defense is going to have to really step up in the way of protection for our forwards, especially our first and 3rd lines.

  • Some fan

    Frolov Kopitar Williams
    Smyth Stoll Brown
    Purcell Moller Simmonds
    Ivanans Handzus Westgarth

    Drewiske Doughty
    Johnson Greene
    O’Donnell Hickey (Voinov)

    Quick
    Ersberg

  • Bickle Wigglesworth III

    I think we’re all in agreement that Kopitar is the first line center so then it become a matter of filling out the wings around him. Brown and Kopitar played very well together for long stretches of time last year. While Frolov and Kopitar don’t seem to quite click, they’re styles just don’t compliment each other as well as we’d like. Williams has speed and a 30-goal history but is he too fragile and a first-liner? Smyth has been a first liner for a long time, maybe too long.

    I have to say I like Brown and Smyth. Brown has a good shot and makes room for his linemates as well as creating turn-overs that Kopitar can take advantage. Smyth drives the net and sets up in front for rebounds and second chance goals (something the Kings didn’t capitalize enough on last year).

    Second line, Stoll, Frolov, Williams is an excellent line with speed, skill and defensive awaredness. Handzus, Moller, Simmonds on the third play a smart and plucky style with some offense. Richardson, Zeiler, Ivanans, and Lewis fill out the line-up as needed. And Purcell waits for an injury to a skilled player.

    that’s my .02.

  • CanadianKing

    Sorry Quisp, I respectfully disagree with your line combos. You don’t put a 30 goal scorer on the third line. I rather see Williams on the third line than Brown.

    I might be alone here, but I think the only locked in line here is the second line.
    Smyth-Stoll-Brown is one killer second line. It’s every coaches dream really because how do you defend them? Three guys who crash the net, hit everyone in site, and score a ton of goals. They will really open up the first line because opposing teams can no longer put their checking line on Kopitar.

    I’m not worried about our third line either, because the whoever/Zeus/Simmonds line has already proven to be an effective, shut down line. Hell, they were even effective with Richardson in there.

    To me, the two concerns are Williams on the first line and our fourth line. We are putting alot of faith in Williams returning to a 30 goal scorer don’t you think? Now for the fourth line. To be blunt, it’s pathetic. It’s still a collection of scrubs. The sooner we get rid of the enforcer the better off we’ll be. I like the idea of a St. Louis type fourth line, or an energy line. This is where Lewis/Richardson/some other fast skater would be great.

    Any comments?

  • darko25o

    ….or with Tanguay still available, we could be looking at some Red Wings type of depth. Give him a one year deal at 2.75-3m, and pencil us in for the playoffs!
    Smyth/Kopi/Williams
    Tanguay/Stoll/Brown
    Frolov/Zeus/Simmonds
    Ratis/Moller/Purcell

    Scuderi/Doughty
    JJ/Green
    SOD/Drewiskie

  • CanadianKing

    Also, how come we never discuss our goalies?

    I’m so pumped to see Quick rise to the top this year. I have so much faith in this guy.

    My predicted stats for Quick this year:
    GP W L SV% GAA SO
    65 38 20 .920 2.30 8

  • Paul from Oxnard

    Not related to this poll, but thought it would be interesting to pass on…

    Watching the NHL Network this weekend and their “Classic NHL” series is showing highlights of various playoff matchups.

    One of the series they’re showing is Kings vs. Colorado from the 2001 Conference Semifinals. I believe this is the series the Kings advanced to after they upset Detroit in the first round, including the “Frenzy on Figueroa” comeback in game 4.

    Also very strange to hear one of the Ducks broadcasters doing color for one of the games. I think it’s Brian Hayward, but I can’t stand either guy’s voice so I’m not sure. I don’t know if he was the Avs color guy back then or what, but it’s certainly not Bob Miller or Jim Fox. To be honest, it kind of ruins the novelty of seeing these games again to have a Ducks guy talking over the broadcast.

    I checked my listings and they’ll be replaying the series a few times this weekend, so look for it.

  • markisonfire

    I think our best line last year was Frolov/Handzus/Simmonds, to be completely honest. They dominated the opposition and wore them down. Frolov doesn’t lose the puck, and Handzus and Simmonds get it back soon as the other team finally gets it.

    I also think that Smyth/Stoll/Brown has to be our second line. That line looks huge.

    I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch to have three lines that could get equal playing time. Let’s be honest, Kopitar wasn’t spectacular last year, he isn’t as big of an all-star as we all would have hoped.

    Purcell/Kopitar/Williams
    Smyth/Stoll/Brown
    Frolov/Handzus/Simmonds
    Ivanans/Moller/Lewis

    My 20 cents. (Was that a Patrick Kane joke?)

  • jake

    fro/kopi/williams
    smyth/stoll/mikus
    simmonds/zues/brownie
    westgarth/mollor/purcell

    thats how it should be

  • Quisp

    CandianKing –

    I hear you. Obviously, Smyth/Stoll/Brown is something we’re likely to see at least a little bit this season (barring a Stoll for Heatley trade ahahahahaha), and I agree there’s a lot of crash on that line. However, I’m not really saying what you think I’m saying. I don’t see a line of Mikus/Moller/Brown, or Lewis/Moller/Brown, or, for that matter, Purcell/Moller/Brown, as a third line. It’s a 1c line. In order for that to work, you have to give equal ice time to all four lines, because the fourth line is your stopper line. If Murray is going to persist in his fourth-line knuckle-dragger line concept, some personnel changes are going to occur. For example:

    Frolov/Kopitar/Williams
    Smyth/Stoll/Brown
    lw3/Handzus/Simmonds
    Ivanans/Zeiler/rw4

    There’s no way you’re going to put Purcell or Moller or Lewis in the rw4 position playing six minutes a night (and you can’t have an Ivanans or Westgarth line playing more than 6 minutes), so you’ve got those three fighting it out for lw3. (I guess you could put one of them on the fourth line, but it would be a waste.) Maybe rw4 is Westgarth, so you have a completely useless but scary fourth line. Moller plays on the third line. And Purcell goes to Manchester with Lewis.

    To me, that sucks.

    So I go back to the idea of four balanced lines, three different flavors of first line, and one stopper. Equal ice time. The only person who would really get less ice time in that configuration is Kopitar, and the writing’s on the wall with that one, given Lombardi’s comments about his conditioning and the need last year to reduce his ice-time. And, back to your thought, I have no problem putting Brown on the second unit and dropping Purcell to the third, except that I think the third line would then potentially be the best line on the team. Smiley face.

  • Quisp
  • Cynic

    Why couldn’t we switch things up a bit. CanadianKing made a good point about the 2nd line being hard to play against, but do we really need 3 crashers? I like Quisp’s 1st line and that is what I voted for before the comments were made, but I got to thinkin’ (Dangerous):

    Smyth-Kopitar-Brown
    Frolov-Stoll-Williams
    Purcell-Zeus-Simmonds
    Blah-Lewis/Moller-Blah

    Really, those wings on the first 2 lines are fairly interchangeable, depending on the opposition. Here’s the thought:

    Smyth-Kopi-Brown: 2 hard-driving wings with decent hands with a centerman who can dish AND is a threat to score. I think the wingers cause the D to focus more on them than Kopi and gives Anze more opportunities to score.

    Smyth-Stoll-Brown: More won face-offs, wingers drive to the low posts to receive the won face-offs from the D-men. Stoll and either Brown or Smyth should be at the net to receive a pass for a dirty goal. This could be an ‘all-day, everyday’ type of play for this line with stoll’s face-off abilities and Smyth & Brown’s strength.

    Frolov-Kopi-Williams: Puck Possession line with scoring ability. The one thing this line lacks is strength. Put Greene & Johnson on D with these guys and that might solve the issue. This group will be tough to take the puck from and they might score goals by simply tiring out the other teams D-.

    Fro-Stoll-Williams: Puck possession again, but Stoll is a step down. He goes to the net looking for a feed or 2 from the wings, the D- would need to be quick on the backcheck when it fails. Doughty/Scuderi would work well here.

    Smyth-Kopitar-Williams: THIS would be a nice balance. I’d personally rather have Fro than Williams for the puck possession abilities, but again, 2 Lefts don’t make it Right..Williams has the skill to open things up for Smyth to crash and Kopitar to snipe. The issue here would be backchecking ability. None of these guys are speed demons. Would be interesting to see what they would do. If Williams could play like Palffy, we would have an LAPD like line here.

    Smyth-Stoll-Williams: I don’t think this gains much, but we would be in front of the net, A LOT!

    Fro-Kopi-Brown: We’ve seen this before. Looks HUGE on paper, the possession guy, the crasher and the disher with scoring touch. For some reason, this didn’t work. I think it could do better if Brown would simply plant his a$$ in front of the net, let Fro work the corners with Kopi waiting on the far half-boards to help cycle if Fro needs it. Fro or Kopi is gonna get it to the net and maybe Smyth can teach Brown a few tricks to finish the rebounds dirty style.

    Fro-Stoll-Brown: I don’t think this works simply because Stoll is not strong or big enough to support Fro if he gets in trouble in the corner. His speed on the backcheck is questionable too. Kopi has the long stride, so he makes it back. Stoll doesn’t. The upside is the puck possession: Stoll to d-man to Fro in the corner, work it for the open Brown in the crease or Stoll at one of the dots. Just don’t lose the puck. Need speedy D-men for support.

    I guess depending on the game, we could move things around to our liking in any situation. Doesn’t necessarily benefit building chemistry (Which I am BIG on seeing happen), but it’s nice to have options, especially when injuries happen.

  • CanadianKing

    One trend I’m starting to see here is how much of an afterthought the fourth line is. It seems like the top three lines have some good thought put into them, then when it comes to the fourth line we just throw whoever is left. I don’t know too many winning teams who have a couple AHLers and a giant slug on their fourth line. To me, this is a glaring issue. I don’t like the idea of just putting a couple young guys in there just because we want them on the team. Moller or Purcell on the fourth line? Whats the point? They aren’t even effective fourth line players.

  • markisonfire

    If Smyth/Stoll/Brown is a line, we can call it the Super Smash Brothers line… :x

  • Ersberg

    Smyth-Kopitar-Brown

    Those of you stating Brown on the 3rd/4th lines should have your heads examined. Seriously.

    Williams in no way has proven he’s ready for top line minutes. He needs some time on the ice to show he can do it again. The rest of the guys are in the same boat.

  • Stonewall

    I also think the perfect use of Brown’s skills would be on a third line. Though I’d love to somehow make it work with Zues/Simmonds. His points (60ish? 30-30…?)will come if you and I played on his line so I’m not worried about his scoring. And with him playing against the other team’s ‘skilled’ players, their heads would always have to be up.

    It’s not a perfect analogy but it kinda reminds me of people knockin’ Paul Coffey ’cause he didn’t play defense. What…? The guy had the puck whenever he was out there. That IS playing defense!!

  • Tornado12

    Just feels right…
    Fro/Kopi/Smyth (puck possession/playmaker/blue painter)
    Williams/Stoll/Brown (finisher/shooter/banger)
    Purcell/Zeus/Simmo (shut down line with some O threat)
    azevedo or lokti or lewis/moller/clune or ivanans (skill and toughness)

    D pairings…
    Doughty/scuderi (creative raw talent/stopper)
    JJ/greene (breakout season?/physical duo)
    odonnell/hickey or drewiske (experienced teacher/padawan)

    Goalies
    Quick-starter
    Ersberg-backup
    Bernier (1 more year at Man)

    At least on paper, I like those apples!

  • markisonfire

    Maybe we can just put Doughty on the first line.

  • Some fan

    Wow, I think I totally forgot about Scuderi when I put out my roster preferences earlier. Oops! Thats what I get for posting off topic.

    Anyway here is my revised roster projection:

    Frolov Kopitar Williams
    Smyth Stoll Brown
    Purcell Moller Simmonds
    Ivanans Handzus Westgarth
    Harrold

    Drewiske Doughty
    Johnson Scuderi
    O’Donnell Green
    *Hickey

    Quick
    Ersberg

    *I think Hickey gets a taste of the NHL before going down to Manchester like Bernier did. Maybe pair him with Voinov down there.

    The real question in my mind is who do we sign as our seventh defensemen to replace Hickey after he goes down? I don’t see us carrying a young guy that isn’t going to play a lot. It would have to be a veteran guy that knows he is on his way out and accepts his role and has some leadership qualities. Sounds like O’Donnell to me but I don’t think they’ll sit him.

    My rank of candidates for this role:
    1. Darryl Sydor- Two Cups but has the tatoo worn off?
    2. Phillipe Boucher- One Cup, some history with the club but probably doesn’t love the Kings too much.
    3. Chris Chelios- Local guy, but God I hope it doesn’t come to this.
    4. Gauthier- I threw up in my mouth a little but as I typed his name, but I just have this sick feeling that he’s still on the radar. Paranoia hopefully.

    Thoughts anyone?

  • Cricket

    Our 4th line looks to me like it will be either:

    Ivanans/Richardson/Harrold

    Ivanans/Lewis/Harrold

    Personally, I thought Harrold did a really good job last year on the fourth line. I do not see him as a liability or a useless player, but a decent utility guy who can ice minutes and prevent the puck from going in against us.

    Richardson never played enough for me to have much of an opinion of him other than notorious bust of a 2nd round pick. But I’m not willing to throw the towel in on him just yet. I’m open to a surprise season because I don’t have any evidence that says it can’t happen.

    If Lewis plays well enough to make the team, than I’m confident he will be a decent 4th liner. It’s a competitive camp this year and any kid who makes it will have proven something already (albeit not a ton) just by doing so.

    Other than that, maybe Clune will earn a role and share press box duties with Zeiler. Ivanans will be Ivananas, unless Westgarth somehow takes his place sometime this season. I can’t see Moller being on the team just to center the 4th line. Just not his role. Even putting him on as the third line left wing is questionable because of the type of player he is.

    Our 4th is far from good, but I really wouldn’t call it outright bad. It certainly does not, so far on paper, appear to have the “soul” DL talks about. It absolutely looks like it will be 2/3 if not 3/3 filler players who don’t have much more of a future with the Kings. Someday, Clifford, Lewis, King…until then, it’s another sign of a still ongoing rebuild.

  • variable

    the key to the top-line is yr “crasher”…
    the one player who will be asked more often to:
    - know when to check to force a turnover
    - fight in the corners
    - be in position and able to transition
    - create space with physicality and smarts

    idyllically, all three players would possess this criteria along with their skills for a formidable top-line…

    williams, browm and simmonds would be the top three choices for this task…

    i said before i’d like to have kopi center fro and jw…but i could also see kopi with either fro and simmer or fro and brown…i’m assuming that fro comes into camp in shape and ready to play up to his full potential…and if fro does, well he deserves a solid chance of the top lw box…

    i really would like to see what a line of stoll w/smyth and brown can do…i think that line could be surprisingly 2-way productive…

    simmonds will…and should…make it somewhat more competitive in camp for the role…he may even be slotted on the top-line from time to time or as a reward for good play…

    but i really would like to give the trios of:
    fro/kopi/williams
    smyth/stoll/brown
    moller*/zeus/simmonds

    * = i can see several people for 3rd line lw…i realize moller is a natural rw…but he plays like a center in the offensive zone…i can totally see zeus playing center in the defensive zone with moller on lw and switch w/ moller when on offense…this strategy would be more feasible with faceoffs and after stoppages of play…but something to consider…

    the fourth line is anyone’s guess at this point…

    but one thing is definitely certain…:
    terry murray will use every line combo imaginable during camp/pre-season…but i hope this year he realizes a lot quicker what works and what doesn’t…

  • Quisp

    Variable –

    Moller is actually a natural center, but can play RW. No reason I know of that he can’t play LW too. I have seen him practice shots ad nauseam from the left side, so maybe he’s thinking the same thing.

    Totally agree re “crashers.” My only caveat is the potential line of Smyth/Stoll/Brown, which I think is too much of one flavor on one line. That can obviously be good, but I like to spread it around more (in my mind).

    cricket –

    I wonder how many of your fourth line candidates will even make the team this season.

    Ivanans — incredibly high number of obstruction calls, and various other glaringly bad defensive stats, which, as “PuckStopsHere” noted on his blog (linked by me here: http://kwisp.wordpress.com/2009/08/08/kuklaskorner-the-puck-stops-here-worst-20-corsi-rates/), indicates a player who will soon be out of work.

    Having signed Westgarth to a 3 year deal, it seems unlikely Ivanans is going to stick this year.

    I guess I should qualify that. It should be unlikely.

    Richardson — Hextall said explicitly that he “didn’t fit.” I don’t see how he gets another chance, but maybe they give him a shot to have a great camp. Regardless, I don’t see how he fits on anybody’s fourth line. He was a pick-up that made sense before Simmonds and Moller emerged. He’s not going to dislodge either of those guys. I think he’ll get waived — Ivanans too (but maybe I’m just hoping) — at the end of September and I doubt he’ll clear waivers.

    Harrold — DL and TM love him, so who the hell knows. I don’t have a huge problem with Harrold, but it bums me out that he might be our best option. To me, the best thing about him (and Zeiler) is that nobody would mind them being the healthy scratches every night. You’re not going to put a prospect in that position.

    I still think the best version of this team has a fourth line of Lewis/Handzus/Simmonds, with three first lines and balanced ice-time for all. If management really wants a knuckle-dragger line, I hope they make a deal to bring in someone who isn’t a liability. The Ivanans experiment has failed in my book.

  • KingNewfie

    It seems to me that most of us are creating out 1st line out of what’s left over after the 2nd line is determined. We all want the Smyth / Stoll / Brown line (and who wouldn’t? That’s a monster monster line. I love it) but does anyone think it’s good enough to go up front? Maybe we should be considering this as the top line. On paper, to me at least, it’s a much stronger line that the Fro / Kopi / Williams line… based on last years results.

    Having said that, I have all the faith in the world in Williams and he did click with Kopi when he got on the ice. For all we freakin’ know, this’ll become the line of all lines.

    Either way, my faith is in Murray. He’ll know what to do and change if it doesn’t work out.

    Bring on the freakin’ season!!!

  • Quisp

    KingNewfie –

    Agreed. This is why I blow off the whole line “number” thing entirely. It’s not a contest. The first line and the second line are really two first lines, unless a team doesn’t have the personnel, in which case the stronger line gets more ice time. Typically, on a game to game basis, the stronger line that night gets the most ice-time that night. Strategically, there is no difference between the first and second line if you have line-balance. The two lines can be assembled with different styles (e.g. puck possession, crash and bang, Euro etc.) in mind, which I think is what emerges when people gravitate toward a Smyth/Stoll/Brown line.

    For myself, the best strategy is to start by assembling one line that you know the other team must key on. For example, Frolov/Kopitar/Williams. An opponent is likely to put out their own #1 unit or their own stopper unit to combat Fro/Ko/Williams. They have to.

    Then you assemble a stopper line that goes out against the opponent’s best of whoever is left in the rotation (i.e. if the opponent has put their first line out against Kopitar, then we put Handzus out against their second line; if the opponent has put their stoppers out against Kopitar, we put Handzus out against their first line).

    So, we start Kopitar. They start stoppers.
    First change: they go to their first line. We counter with stoppers (Handzus).
    Second change: they go to second line. we go to second line (1b, Stoll, etc.)
    Third change: we go to line #3, no matter what they do.

    Their options: send out their fourth unit (which may be vulnerable) against our 1c line (for example, Mikus/Moller/Brown). That’s a clear advantage for us.

    Or they send their 1st line out to take advantage. but they’ve only had one shift of rest, so they’re tired. And Brown is on our third line. If they keep this up, Brown will wear them down.

    Or they send out their stoppers. Which is fine by us. Because next up is our 1a line.

    The other team is thus forced to put itself in a vulnerable position, because they’re going to have to choose which line of ours to be more vulnerable to, Kopitar (good luck with that), Smyth/Stoll/Purcell, or Mikus/Moller/Brown. And if they decide to leave Lewis/Handzus/Simmonds relatively unmatched, that’s great, because those guys can score too.

    But I’m a line-match and spread the wealth kind of guy. As we saw last season, if you don’t have the personnel for four lines, even if you only give them 6 minutes, it ends up costing you. See Ivanans holding/hooking penalties for proof.

  • variable

    QUISP…

    great points…
    and thanx for the moller correction…i realized i got tongue-tied after i posted it…

    with terry murray, it’s also important to note that he also doesn’t necessarily follow a true 1-2-3-4 line format…
    this means that his number 1 line can be ‘disguised” as the number 3 line, etc…i think the line formats (which line follows which) are generally standard for the first 20-30 minutes of a game, depending on scoring and penalties…

    obviously, the top-line tends to get the majority of minutes over the course of a game…don’t forget double-shifting…frolov was a perfect example of double-shifting last year, as he often started on the 2nd and 3rd lines and ended up playing extra minutes in crunch time, many times leading forwards in t.o.i….

    the lines t.m. generally goes with seem to be decided upon by two key denominators…:
    1. active scoring compatibility
    2. opponent line match ups…

    with murray, he changes often…and maybe something i frown upon from time to time…he’s not patient enough over the course of 60 minutes to give time for players to meld…and perhaps, that’s a strength as well…not settling for lack of input, performance and effort from anyone (as was depicted last year with a few players)…

    but murray should not be in for too many surprises this year in terms of realizing what he has heading into camp/pre-season…

    it was duly noted by murray himself that he wasn’t too familiar with the kings when he took the job and headed into camp last year and spent much of his time early on learning what each player was capable of…i do think this did hurt the kings a little bit at the beginning of the season…murray was still trying to figure out what was working…you couple that with the players learning a new system and it was not too surprising that the team struggled scoring goals…

    this year, t.m. should be able to recognize where everyone needs to be and belongs in a quicker fashion…

    i also an very aware that we will all revisit this question and hypothetical for the next six weeks…

  • Quisp

    Variable –

    All good points. And you reminded me of something we’ve all forgotten about in this thread (unless I’m not reading closely enough). We have of course gone over this ground in past posts.

    Namely, Murray likes “pairs” of forwards. Handzus/Simmonds. Stoll/Brown. He finds a pair that he likes and he keeps them together, The third piece comes and goes as dictated by the situation. He has not found a partner for Kopitar (though Williams and Frolov both showed some promise; Kopitar/Brown didn’t work last year). It’ll be interesting to see if he breaks up Handzus/Simmonds (for example) and has an open mind in camp, or whether he will stick with what worked.

    I think Murray’s one huge question to answer in camp is going to be, who is the best partner for Kopitar? Smyth, Williams, Frolov (the front runners), Brown, Purcell, Lewis (the ones who didn’t work last year), Moller and Simmonds (who weren’t really tried with Kopitar for any real length of time).

    Question number two: who does Smyth click with? If Smyth clicks with Stoll and Frolov or Williams with Kopitar, then we have our answers. Everything else falls into place around that.

    Aside from the fourth line. Which is the other giant question mark.

  • variable

    QUISP…

    yeah…both are intriguing questions you pose…

    kopi is the top center…whether justified or not…and smyth is such a wild card when it pertains to his line mates…

    what has been philosophically reported by many in the media is that smyth will take on a secondary scoring role and play more like 16-18 minutes a game…
    if that speculation is true, you gotta figure smyth will play on the second line…but with t.m., he likes to use players in roles to make specific points…it’s not that the player doesn’t deserve their place, but more to the point that it’s murray’s way of saying what that line is lacking…

    williams also has a lot to say about what happens…they both can capably do the job…it will probably come down to jw’s healing progress and/or skating compatibility with kopi…

    but i do hope when t.m. makes these decisions he is doing so with the mindset of getting the most out of frolov…
    fro cannot be on the third-line consistently at any time like he was last year for the kings to have a realistic chance…t.m. does not need to use fro for any such endeavors, nor can he afford to, as there will be plenty of players in camp vying for a 8 or 9 box…

  • Otto Ped

    Come on Rich, can we get on to the 2nd line already???

  • Ric

    Frolov – Kopitar – Brown

    … Expectation is that they all needed to raise their game, over the offseason. So, let’s see what they can do!

    … Plus, for # 2, I like:

    Smyth – Stoll – Williams

  • Hunter

    This is a guess,but at the start of the season the #1 line will be… Fro/Kopi/JW .. and the 2nd will be … Smyth/Stoll/Brown… But i feel that DL will make some more moves..One shocker trade may happen..The 1st 15-20 games are keyed,if Purcell doesn’t get off to a good start?..He is probably to be traded,along with Richardson and with Westgarth signing… Ivanans may be gone also..I don’t think Williams will be traded,maybe put on the 3rd line with Simmonds and Zues if DL makes a trade for another scorer..Playoff’s or not,it’ll be fun and for one…I CAN’T FOR HOCKEY!!!!!!!!!!

  • stevebone

    Depending on the matchups I like Smyth/Stoll/Brown. Murray has said he likes this pair and with Brown taking all his shots Smyth will get a lot of rebounds, not to mention the hard hitting of this line. I would like to see this line against the opponents number one line.
    Frolov/Kopitar/Williams, I think Smyth can play with either line, so it depends on Williams where he plays the best. Williams is still a question mark in my book. If Williams doesnt perform then I like Simmonds or Moller. But that is why we have training camp and pre season to see where every one fits the best.

  • ziggy33

    Rich,

    You raise a very good question concerning Dustin Brown. Is he a first line player or would he better playing on the second line. I believe this is a huge season for not only Dustin but Anze as well to prove that they are truly top front line players in this league. Personally, I feel that they are, but 66 points from Kopitar, and 53 points from Brown does not qualify as a true top center or winger when you compare them to players such as for example, Lecavalier or Getzlaf. This is one reason why I can see the argument for wanting to acquire Dany Heatley(attitude aside). If the Kings find out that Brown and Kopitar are better suited as second line players than we still have a void for a true #1 center and winger. We have had three top five picks recently and drafted two defensemen and a player who is most likely projected as a second line center. I really think Kopitar especially will become an elite player this season as well as Brown but they are really going to have to prove it. Perhaps they have more pressure on them more than anyone this season, even including Quick.

  • wavesinair

    Quisp,
    Have you coached before?
    If so, share what you will. If not, why?

    …just cutting to the chase as usual. LOVING this thread.

  • Quisp

    waves -

    No, I haven’t. Maybe when my kid is old enough, I’ll do it just to make his life a living hell. Probably though I’m better working for the coach than being the coach.

  • Winsomemore

    Really like reading what QUISP and Variable are posting. Great comments and analysis.

  • variable

    thoughts about the poll results…:

    as of midnight, sunday…5055 votes were tabulated…
    i imagine that once a player is checked, regardless of the voter chooses 3 or not (?), and is entered, then they are counted as a “vote”…and i’m also guessing that each ballot has a total of 3 votes..(?)

    well…at the time of this writing

    of the 5055 votes…the leader…kopi w/1602 votes…only represents 32% of the INDIVIDUAL vote…(right???)…but more accurately kopi represents appearing on 96% of ALL ballots entered…(?)

    that would mean that williams is at 60% (20% of indvidual), frolov is at 54% (18%) and smyth, at 51% (17%) of ALL ballots entered…

    am i making sense of this correctly…?

    otherwise, the poll results make no sense to me…

  • Quisp

    Variable:

    You know, you’re right. The poll tally appears to treat each person’s selection of three players as three votes. [time lapse] Correct that: not “appears to,” it does. I added up the votes for the individuals and it matches the total below.

    1689 voters.

    Kopitar 95% of the voters (not 32% of the “votes”)
    etc.
    everyone’s % needs to be multiplied by 3.

    because a unanimous choice would get a % of 33% of the total “votes,” since you can’t vote for a player more than once.

  • Quisp

    To follow up on that, it seems pretty clear that nearly everyone agrees that Kopitar should be the first line center.

    About 2/3 of the people think Williams should be the RW. 1/3 think it should be Brown.

    Frolov and Smyth have split the vote for LW.

    Strangely (not), that comports exactly with what everyone has been saying in the comments.

    p.s. 23 votes for Ivanans and 25 for Zeiler. This tells me that there are 23-25 total smartasses in the voting population. I’m assuming that 23 of them voted for both Ivanans and Zeiler for the first line. Im curious about the (2) folks who selected only Zeiler. And who was the line-mate for the two bozos? It appears people also picked Richardson or Handzus as fellow jokes. Their numbers total 29. If two people voted for Richardson/Handzus/Zeiler and the rest of the time the jokesters picked between Richardson and Handzus to be the linemate for Zeiler AND Ivanans, and there are only 25 wiseasses, two Handzus/Richardson votes are still unaccounted for. Which means, there’s a 26th wiseass, who voted for Richardson and Handzus and picked a third player who wasn’t Ivanans or Zeiler to ridicule. This means someone is picking on Lewis, Moller, Purcell or Simmonds. And that’s not right. Booo.

    I have too much time on my hands. Actually, it’s insomnia. Sorry.

  • Quisp

    …which means that you really need to subtract the votes of the 26 (minimum) pranksters in order to get a true %. Instead of 1689 voters, it’s 1663.

    Kopitar’s numbers goes up to 97%. etc.

  • Quisp
  • Hunter

    In my opinion,the Kings would giving up way too much for Heatley in that trade.. Fro,JJ and Moller,you would lose 3 key players and 3 key positions for 1… I would love to have a 50 goal scorer, but at what price?That has been the question since the beginning..And if the team does not win after Heatley comes here?.. He’ll ask to be traded AGAIN…I feel the Kings have alot of grit and by trading Fro/JJ/Moller you’ll lose alot of grit from those 3 being traded…

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