The Kings look to be pretty much done with their shopping this off-season, having acquired the mythical "missing piece" (Captain Crybaby) and The Piece (Rob Scuderi). Then they re-signed their two most important restricted free agents to excellent short-term deals: Jack Monkey Fighting Johnson got a 2-year deal for $1.5 million, while Ted Purcell got a one-way contract at $600,000. On top of that, Lombardi signed tricky little sprite Justin Azevedo and lumbering Joe Piskula to a minor league deal in hopes that those two will provide a little veteran leadership to the very young Manchester squad next year. THEN, Lombardi signed Juraj Mikus to a deal, and there's talk he might stay in Manchester this year because he really wants to play in North America. That's an excellent signing, if true. In short, the Kings were incredibly busy and only a fool would want to add anything.
So, let's add something!
For next year, 3rd line winger and 5/6 defender are the only two spots that are really available. The Kings do have a few open spots on the 4th line, but they have enough young talent/worthless idiots already under contract, so I don't know why'd they sign someone to fill that spot. I'm not saying the Kings need to add someone big, but I think Lombardi should sign one more person. (I'll explain why in a minute.) But first, let's look at a few option available for that third winger spot.
|2008 - Alex Tanguay||50||16||25||41||13||34||5||0||3||0||76||21.1|
Alex Tanguy is kind of like a less extreme Marian Gaborik: he's not quite as talented, he's not quite as injury-prone, and he's not quite as desirable. But still, he's a pretty damn good player that would fit in well with what the Kings are trying to do. I'm not advocating a multi-year deal, but if Tanguay were to realize that he needs a one-year deal to try to establish his value then I would be acquiescent to a one-year deal of, like, $5 million dollars or so. What the hell do I care, it's not my money. The Kings would be tight up against the cap if they did that, but why not sign Tanguay now instead of trading for him at the deadline?
Oh, and I know you're wondering about where Frolov would fit into all this, and the answer is that he'd fit alongside Handzus and Simmonds. Wouldn't that give the Kings one of the best forward cores in the league? I get giddy just thinking about it. And before you say I'm an idiot, you should know that I don't think this is reasonable, I just wanted to mention it. OK, now you may say that I'm an idiot.
|2008 - Taylor Pyatt||69||10||9||19||0||43||0||0||1||0||99||10.1|
Taylor Pyatt's one of those guys that I really like and I have no idea why. I watched a game the Kings played against the Canucks and came away really impressed with him, even though he didn't really do anything important. He's big, he's got an OK shot and he would cost next to nothing. Wait, why hasn't someone signed him yet? This doesn't make sense.
|2008 - P.J. Axelsson||75||6||24||30||-1||16||2||0||0||0||87||6.9|
Axelsson is a surprisingly consistent player: every year, you're guaranteed about 25-30 points, pretty good play and an injury or two. I don't really think Axelsson is worth what it would take to sign him since he's on the wrong side of 30 and there's no reason to think his production couldn't be duplicated by someone the Kings already have, but I just really wanted an excuse to type "Per Johan."
Ultimately, the Kings don't really need to sign anyone to fill their 3rd line left winger spot. Someone like Oscar Moller, Ted Purcell or my personal favorite Marc-Andre Cliche will likely get the job, with people being shifted around as Terry Murray deems fit. There's a chance that stopper line role might be filled by Frolov anyway, with one of the younger guys getting a spot that doesn't require so much defensive responsibility.
The Kings have 5 defensemen that are guaranteed to be in the line-up on opening night: Drew Doughty, Jack Melon Farmer Johnson, Sean O'Donnell, Rob Scuderi, and Matt Greene. That's 2 guys that can play the power play and 5 that can roll on the penalty kill. The Kings have a few options for the 6th spot, among them Thomas Hickey, Vyacheslav Voynov, Peter Harrold, Davis Drewiske and the aforementioned Piskula. All of these options, for various reasons, do not fit perfectly into what the Kings need*, however, so I wouldn't mind if the Kings signed a veteran defenseman that was counted on for the power play; they would be similar to what Denis Gauthier was last year but the opposite and hopefully not completely incompetent. Here are three I like:
*Hickey should get a year in the AHL, Voynov is recovering from a shoulder injury and could use another year of seasoning, Harrold sucks, and Drewiske and Piskula can't play the power play in the NHL.
|2008 - Mathieu Schneider||67||9||23||32||-12||64||6||0||2||0||128||7.0|
Mathieu Schneider had a surprisingly good year for the Canadiens after playing like donkey balls for the Thrashers. I don't know if he has much left in the tank, but he would give the Kings a needed boost on the power play while not being relied on for much else. He probably still has a home in LA and I can't imagine he's getting a lot of offers that would drive up his price tag. Plus he's Jewish, and I want an excuse to make Jew jokes. C'mon Matt, don't be miserly, what are you a Je- wait, maybe he shouldn't come to LA, I like writing for this site.
|2008 - Dennis Seidenberg||70||5||25||30||-9||37||2||0||1||0||129||3.9|
He's a guy that I haven't seen very much, but based on his stats and what the Kings need I think he would fit in pretty well. Why hasn't he been signed, is he a dendrophilliac or something?
|2008 - Sergei Zubov||10||0||4||4||-4||0||0||0||0||0||15||0.0|
If the Kings signed Sergei Zubov I would cum in my pants. I don't care that he hasn't been much of anything in 2 years or that there's no fathomable reason that he would take a sweetheart deal in LA, I've loved Zubov since I was like 12 years old and would give anything to see him in a Kings jersey. Plus, he would give Frolov and Voynov someone to talk to. Finally, him getting injured all the time wouldn't be that big a deal because the Kings would probably like to give guys like Hickey and Voynov a look during the season anyway. Sign here, Sergei!
I don't see the Kings realistically signing one for defense either, although I actually think that they should. We need someone to play point on the power play and I can't see Matt Greene or Rob Scuderi cutting it. They already have a guy with a shot on that 2nd unit (Jarrett Stoll), they just need someone that can move it around. And I swear to God, if it's Peter Harrold I will Arabian Goggle someone in the Kings' organization. Probably Jim Fox.