LA Kings (15-15-6) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (15-16-4)
7:30 PST, Fox Sports West
Here are 7 players:
You have to get rid of one of them: who is it? This is the question facing the Los Angeles Kings. Right now the Kings are playing Trevor Lewis, Ted Purcell, Raitis Ivanans, Kyle Calder, and John Zeiler, with Derek Armstrong sidelined by a concussion and Oscar Moller currently at the WJC. (Additionally, Brad Richardson is still injured and might be out for a while, according to Rich Hammond.) Armstrong will be back soon, however, and when Oscar Moller returns the Kings will have some decisions to make. Trevor Lewis and Ted Purcell are both eligible to be sent to the AHL, but neither has really merited a demotion in their time up so far. Kyle Calder and Derek Armstrong have the least amount of upside, but both provide veteran leadership. John Zeiler and Raitis Ivanans are kind of worthless, but they're the good kind of worthless where you don't have to worry about stunting their growth if they get only 4 minutes a game. It's quite the conundrum. It's worthy of a healthy beard-stroke.*
*I've recently grown a beard. It's marvelous.
I'll be honest: I don't know what the Kings are going to do. No matter what, they're probably going to have to waive someone, whether it be Armstrong or Zeiler. I'm guessing Zeiler, since it's not like anyone is going to pick him up anyway. You might think you would need to demote one of Lewis, Purcell or Moller when he gets back, but I think the Kings can make it work without it coming to that. I'd like to see:
Moller is a pretty gritty player despite his size and would give the top line another shot for the defense to account for. I like Frolov's line, and Brown's line has a nice identity to it. The 4th line is weird, but, as Earl fucking constantly points out, it's the same thing the Ducks did with Getzlaf and Perry and that seemed to work out OK. Plus, it gives Ivanans two guys he can leech off of and protect, perhaps leading him to play with a little more violent intent. Lewis can skate up with Kopitar and O'Sullivan when Moller sits (or, better yet, skate with Stoll and Calder when Brown moves up for a shift) and then Purcell can step in for Moller on a few power play shifts. Lewis and Purcell need about 12 minutes a game, and that's easily doable. This gives the Kings 4 solid, young, dynamic lines that can skate, rumble and score. It gives me a woody just thinking about it.
Another roster clog is coming soon in the goaltending department. Erik Ersberg's imminent return means some goaltender is going to have to get sent down. It's not Quick, who has played the best of any goaltender for the Kings thus far, and it's not Ersberg, who played well before he got hurt, so that means it's Labarbera. Does he get picked up off the waiver wire? If he doesn't, he most certainly will on re-entry waivers, so that means he's gone. Are the Kings ready to do that? I don't know. It'll be interesting to watch the next couple days.
So, that's the best solution as I see it. Let me know what you guys think in the comments. Or, you know, don't. Whatever, you people don't care about me and my feelings.
Prediction: Kings win, 3-0. Goals by Calder, Lewis and Brown. Oh yeah, the Kings are playing the Blue Jackets tonight, too. I'm Sorry, Columbus, I forgot you were there. You may go now.