Player evaluation: Cammalleri



This season: 63 games, 19 goals, 28 assists, minus-16 rating.

Positives: They all came early. Cammalleri was named an assistant captain at the start of this season, the youngest member of the Kings’ leadership, and scored 10 goals in his first 10 games. He also further proved that he has the best shot on the team, with an unmatched ability to one-time the puck.

Negatives: After his brilliant start, Cammalleri scored only nine goals in his final 53 games. Nagging injuries didn’t help, but Cammalleri took a huge step backward from the previous season, when he totaled 34 goals and 46 points. Also, there have been whispers — loud whispers, to be accurate — about how good of a teammate Cammalleri is. Cammalleri insisted that last year’s arbitration process didn’t impact him, but his downturn is otherwise hard to explain.

Looking ahead: 2008-09 will be a crossroads season for Cammalleri, in every sense. If he’s not traded — a move the Kings are expected to explore this summer — he will return and enter the final year of his contract, needing a big comeback. Cammalleri clearly has first-line talent, but he will need to re-prove himself, both as a scorer and a potential team leader.

Contract situation: Signed through 2008-09 (cap number of $3.35 million next season).

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Cammalleri speaks

Don Fulton talked to Michael Cammalleri at practice today…


Forward Michael Cammalleri has had a difficult season, to say the least.

Following his much-publicized arbitration hearing and, ultimately, the ruling in favor of the Kings, the 25-year-old winger has struggled to regain his 2006-2007 numbers that saw him net career highs in goals (34) and points (80). This season he has tallied 19 goals and 27 assists in 60 games, and most of his drop-off can be attributed to missing the entire month of January with a nagging rib injury.

Cammalleri answered a few questions about his disappointing season today:

Q: There’s a perception from some people that the arbitration process and ruling has negatively impacted your game.

Cammalleri: I don’t think the actual hearing had any negative impact. It’s obviously been a tough year for me personally for different reasons. I’m not going to sit here and say the arbitration process is the reason why.

Q: There’s another perception that from last year to this year you have turned into a selfish player.

Cammalleri: I don’t know where that comes from. I wouldn’t give much credit to hearing that. The game is still fun, and obviously it has been a frustrating year, but I still have fun playing the game. It’s been frustrating because we haven’t been able to win as many games as I thought we could have, but I don’t think by any means that it is a selfish moment or anything like that. I just wanted us to do a little bit better as a team.

Q: Has this been your most frustrating year ever in organized hockey?

Cammalleri: It has been a tough year, but you live and you learn, and I’ve kind of been able to analyze some things for myself and for the team. You just get better from the experience, so it doesn’t worry me too much.

Q: Are you 100% back from your injury?

Cammalleri: I feel really good. It is one of those injuries that I don’t think will heal all the way until I get a full summer off. It definitely feels a lot better than it did.

Q: If you had to wager a guess; are you a member of the Los Angeles Kings next season?

Cammalleri: I would think so. My contract says that I am and I haven’t heard otherwise.

Q: Do you want to be back?

Cammalleri: I definitely want to be a King. It will be interesting to see what we do.

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