Los Angeles Kings Mid Season Report
The Kings came out flying from the gates despite being hit by the injury bug before the season even began. Jason Allison and Adam Deadmarsh have yet to return from injuries suffered last year and probably won’t return this year at all unfortunately. Other key injuries to Roman Cechmanek, Ziggy Palffy, Aaron Miller, Mattias Norstrom, Jared Aulin and Jozef Stumpel have started to catch up with the Kings. They once had a little bit of lead for the top of the pacific division, but now are starting to slide. The did make a move earlier in the year to kick start there team by acquiring Martin Straka from the Penguins for 2 prospects. Straka has done well in LA but Straka can’t replace Allison and Deadmarsh.
Ups and Downs
The ups of the kings season are obviously from the first quarter of the year when they were leading there division. Things were looking promising with the rest of the division struggling, but things have changed. San Jose, Dallas, Anaheim and even Phoenix are playing really well of late and the gap from first to last is getting smaller. And with the Kings latest slide, last place could be a reality fairly soon.
The main bright spot on the Kings this season has been the play of Ziggy Palffy. If he had not missed 7 games earlier this year, could be leading the league in scoring. Ziggy’s injury showed the luck of the Kings the past few years. He was sitting on the bench and a errant puck came and hit him in the face, talk about bad luck. And of all players to hit, it had to be there best one.
The major downer for the Kings this year has to be the health of there major players, Allison and Deadmarsh to be exact. Having Allison and Deadmarsh in the lineup makes the Kings a different team, the team that was one game away from the conference finals a few years ago. If they ever were fully healthy, the Kings would be a power in the west.
Player and Coaches Grades
Sean Avery- B I am giving Sean Avery a B because he does his job well. He leads the league in PIM’s and is a super pest on the ice. His biggest problem is taking too many stupid penalties
Jozef Stumpel- C Stumpel has not done as well as he was expected to since rejoining the Kings. Although he was injured for a significant amount of time, his point totals aren’t what the should be.
Luc Robitaille- B+ His career is rejuvenated once again back where he belongs. He’s not the Lucky Luc of old, but he’s still a legitimate scoring threat every time he’s on the ice
Dustin Brown- D The promising rookie has been injured for quite some time, causing him to miss the World Junior tournament. He has only a handful of points but he’s still young and has tremendous upside
Alexander Frolov C+ The super sophomore had a quick start to the year and is almost passed his point totals from a year ago, but does go missing from time to time
Eric Belanger B- He does what he does well. He kills penalties and wins faceoffs and chips in with the odd point. Offensively he should be better but defensively hes highly relied upon
Trent Klatt C+ Another player who had a quick start to the year, he uses his grit and determination to score goals. He’s not supposed to score 30, but more consistency should be expected
Ziggy Palffy A+ The kings MVP for the year has done an amazing job considering the circumstances surrounding the team. Could be leading the league in scoring except for an injury. Will have to take the team on his shoulders and lead them into the playoffs
Martin Straka B Has done well for the Kings since his trade from the Penguins, but should be contributing more considering his salary of 4.5 Million.
Aaron Miller C Would have a better grade if he’d stay healthy. He’s a key to success for the Kings
Mattias Norstrom C+ Another guy who has been hurt, but is the backbone of the team. He’s the most underrated defenceman in the league. Is a force come playoff time
Lubomir Visnovsky B Was a powerplay machine earlier in the year but has since trailed off. His point totals are respectable, and hopefully he gets close to 50 this year
Joe Corvo C+ A up and coming defenceman, not doing as well as hoped. He’s a power play QB of the future, but needs to shoot more
Jaroslav Modry C Not having a career year point wise, but is still doing well. Needs to step up on the PP for the Kings to be successful
Roman Cechmanek B Not doing as well as he did in Philly, but still is doing well. His injury problems of late have hurt the kings greatly, and they need him back ASAP.
Christobal Huet C Hasn’t done well enough to carry the Kings in the absence of Roman. Needs to step up his game like he did last year in order for the Kings to make a charge into the playoffs
Andy Murray A The most underrated coach in the league, should be a coach of the year candidate with what he has to deal with on a year to year basis.
Changes that Should Take Place
I don’t know what more the Kings can do. They’ve already traded for Straka, maybe adding another scorer to the team could help them out. If Allison and Deadmarsh are indeed out for the year, another scorer will be needed. Robert Lang has been rumored to go back to the Kings, the team that drafted him.
What to Expect in games 42-82
The first thing is more of hope than anything that they will get healthy. Some people are expected to return, like Miller, Cechmanek, Aulin to name a few, but to get Allison and/or Deadmarsh back would be huge. But i doubt that will happen, so I think Dave Taylor will make another significant move.
Also, I expect the Kings to make a charge for the division title. They have what it takes to win, its just a matter of having all the pieces available there.