Raitis Ivanans is a cyborg from Latvia who, according to Wikipedia, "...is considered an enforcer because he likes to hurt people with his rock hard fists." It's on Wikipedia, you know it's true. Still, Ivanans is not the greatest hockey player in the world. He's good for an enforcer, but when compared to non-psychos he's pretty terrible. The Kings needed him last year because he was the only guy that could fight besides Dustin Brown, but the addition of Matt Greene and Brian Boyle gives the Kings some size and grit to match up against vagabonds like the Dallas Stars. Additionally, the rise of Kevin Westgarth has put Ivanans his status as head goon in a precarious position. All this leaves me wondering just how much playing time Raitis Ivanans should get this season.
I'm personally of the opinion that goons are great but not necessarily important in the larger scheme of hockey. I love watching to giant dudes hitting each other in the face, but at the end of the day I'm going to want a guy who can shoot and pass on my bench. It is probably smarter for the Kings to not play Ivanans in a game against someone like the Ducks or Coytoes because they'll have one additional skater while they're wasting a spot on George Parros and Chris McGratton. It's what the Wings do and it seems like a good idea.
I think that ultimately Ivanans and Kyle Calder are going to rotate playing time this season, with Ivanans in against divisional opponents and Calder in when the team wants to roll 4 lines. Ivanans should play ~60 games, about 10 less than he played last year. What do you think, how many games should a goon in general play? Is Ivanans necessary?
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