LAKings.com Mailbag (Aug. 4)
Do the Kings have enough scoring?
Do the Kings have enough scoring or will there be another trade or signing to help the offense?
Doug S., Ontario, Canada
We are still a month away from the start of training camp and anything could happen prior to that, but as the roster is currently constructed, the Kings should improve offensively over last season. As you know the Kings have added four-time 30-goal scorer Ryan Smyth to the lineup and will have a full season of Justin Williams, who has potted 30 or more goals two times as well in his career. Add that to Dustin Brown (33 goals in 2007-08), Alexander Frolov (32 goals in 2008-09; 35 goals in 2006-07) and Anze Kopitar (32 goals in 2007-08), and the Kings boast five players who have hit the 30-goal plateau at least one time in their careers.
In fact, the Kings are one of just four teams in the NHL that have five or more 30-goal scorers on their roster entering the 2009-10 season, the others: Philadelphia (Danny Briere, Jeff Carter, Simon Gagne, Scott Hartnell, Mike Richards), St. Louis (David Backes, Brad Boyes, Paul Kariya, Andy McDonald, Keith Tkachuk) and Washington (Chris Clark, Mike Green, Mike Knuble, Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin).
One would think the Kings would improve offensively over last year.
With the additions of Ryan Smyth and a healthy Justin Williams, what do you see as the Kings lines for the 2009-10 season?
Matt G., Manhattan Beach, Calif.
One thing we learned from Terry Murray last year is that he is not afraid of juggling his lines to generate scoring chances and reward players that are giving max effort. Also, Jim Fox has talked a lot over the last couple of years about the fact that most teams no longer put a 'line' together, per say, but rather 'pairs,' allowing two players to really generate some chemistry with each other and having an interchangeable third player work in.
Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams emerged as a solid pair over the last 10-12 games of the season, Jarret Stoll and Dustin Brown had strong chemistry for much of the season while Wayne Simmonds and Michal Handzus were solid all year on the third line.
One of the better trios last year was Alexander Frolov joining Handzus and Simmonds on the third line. Frolov, much admired for his puck possession skills, was an asset on the third line, playing an improved checking game and most importantly, doing what he does best and keeping the puck from the opposition…oh yeah, and not to mention the 32 goals he scored last year, combine that with Handzus' 20 and Simmonds' 10-15 and the team has the makings for a solid defensive third line with a bit of a scoring punch.
Ryan Smyth might be a good fit with Williams and Kopitar on the Kings top line in front of the net, scoring on rebounds and deflections and helping create scoring opportunities for Williams and Kopitar with his screens of opposing net minders. On the Brown/Stoll line, returning young players Teddy Purcell or Oscar Moller both could have a shot at that spot, so it will be interesting to see who wins the job out of camp. At the same time, Brown and Smyth's game or so similar it is very possible to see either swap places, especially considering the chemistry that Stoll and Smyth had back with the Oilers.
As for the fourth line, Raitis Ivanans/Kevin Westgarth will get playing time there, as will Brad Richardson, possibly one of Moller/Purcell or newcomer Brandon Segal, as well as returners Peter Harrold, who split time as a forward and a blue liner, and John Zeiler. In addition, Trevor Lewis should be in the mix for playing time, giving the Kings lots of options for an energy line, or a bruising line with a lot of grit.
Of course this is all speculation and we will have to see how it plays out at camp.
I have a Kings equipment bag from their first season with No. 7 on it and I'm trying to find out who wore No. 7 from 1967-68 thru 1970. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Bob M., Guelph, Ontario
Terry Gray wore No. 7 to start the 1967 season, but Bryan Campbell, who wore No. 12 in 1967-68, switched to No. 7 in 68-69 after Gray was traded to the St. Louis Blues. Campbell also at one point also wore No. 11 during his stint with the Kings.
Here is a link to the Kings All-Time Uniform Numbers.
Will Thomas Hickey and Jonathan Bernier make the Kings in 2009-10?
David F., Torrance, Calif.
Kings President and General Manager Dean Lombardi was posed with that question at the Kings recent fan forum, here is what he had to say in response.
I am a big Kings fan and also a big Anchorman fan, so I have to say I have been loving your Matt Greene clips on Hockey Fest. I saw the most recent one about John Buccigross and I was wondering if Bucci saw it and if he liked it?
Taylor H., Thousand Oaks, Calif.
John is known for having a great sense of humor. Feel free to ask him directly what he thought by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org, but to answer your question, yes he has seen it and he is looking forward to hosting Hockey Fest at the end of this month.
For those of you who have not seen it, enjoy. Related item: Q&A with Buccigross.
I am a little concerned about Colten Teubert, who played at the ECHL at the end of last season, you don't typically see the elite first round picks play at that level. Is his assignment there any indication of his ceiling/an evaluation of his talent?
Chris T., Orange, Calif.
With Teubert's junior team in Regina failing to qualify for the postseason in 2008-09, Teubert was assigned to the Ontario Reign where he played in the last eight games of the season. LAKings.com chatted with Jeff Solomon, the Vice President/Hockey Operations and Legal Affairs for the Kings, for a little info behind the move.
Here is what he had to say:
"This Teubert conversation is interesting, however, the one thing that is not being discussed here is that Teubert was not assigned to the ECHL because of talent, which the argument suggests.
Teubert was eligible to play in any minor league upon conclusion of his junior season. However, since the Kings already had at least seven defensemen who had been at Manchester all year, Kings Management didn't think want Teubert to be another extra player to practice and wait for an opportunity to arise for playing time. (LAKings.com note: the Kings had prospects Drew Bagnall, Andrew Campbell, Alec Martinez, Joe Piskula and Viatcheslav Voynov, in addition to Thomas Hickey and veteran Tom Preissing all playing in Manchester).
There was opening in Ontario so he was assigned there in order to maximize his ice time. The assignment had nothing to do with talent."
Teubert played in eight games with Ontario earning an assist and 10 PIMs. Teubert added another assist and 19 PIMs in six postseason games and will certainly challenge for a roster spot this season.
Check back to LAKings.com soon for a video interview with Reign head coach Karl Taylor, who talks about Teubert and others.
And by the way, there have been 407 former ECHL alumni join the NHL, and Teubert will certainly at some point add his name to that list.
Thank you for all of your questions and comments. LAKings.com would like to answer as many questions from Los Angeles Kings fans as possible. E-mail your query to LAKings.com for possible inclusion in a future mailbag column. Letters can be addressed to any member of the organization and may be edited for brevity, length and/or content. Please include your name and location along with your question and email email@example.com.