The Kings’ roster is remarkably unchanged from the one that won the Stanley Cup championship in 2012. Does that ease coach Darryl Sutter’s mind going into Thursday’s season-opening game against the Minnesota Wild at St. Paul, Minn? Of course not.
Sutter said Tuesday he’s worried about the Kings’ lack of production at left wing. He said Dwight King was their best player during training camp, so he’ll get to start the season at left wing on the Kings’ top line, joining center Anze Kopitar and right wing Justin Williams.
“It’s certainly a big challenge for us,” Sutter said. “(Right wing) Jeff Carter was the leading scorer in the Western Conference last year (with 26 goals), but he only had seven or eight assists (actually, seven) because nobody else could score (on his line).”
The Kings also had the lowest production of any third line in the NHL, according to Sutter, who normally doesn’t like to designate his lines as one, two, three or four. Thursday, Sutter will team left wing Dustin Brown with center Jarret Stoll and right wing Trevor Lewis.
Sutter also said he was worried that the Kings’ top eight defensemen did not move up or down in his rankings of them during camp. In other words, no one in the bottom half made the sort of jump that would make him believe they were making significant progress.
“Nobody took that by the horns, for sure, so that hasn’t changed,” Sutter said.