They didn't have a picture of Voynov but I figured this was close enough. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
Alright, so here's what I'm thinking: we have Viatcheslav Voynov. He is awesome. He's 20 years old and is already a 2-time AHL All-Star. He has 29 points in 37 games, best on the Manchester Monarchs. He is set to reach career highs in goals, assists, and points, all while improving defensively alongside Thomas Hickey. He's great.
And I'm thinking we're going to have to trade him.
Hear me out. The problem with Voynov is this: I don't see how he fits on the Kings in the near future. The Kings have this defensive make-up for the next few seasons:
( )-Doughty (R)
Johnson (L)-( )
( )-Greene (R)
When looking at defense, you're generally looking for a left-handed and right-handed match-up. Lefties play the left side and righties play the right. Since lefties are in greater supply, righties generally have more value. 2 lefties can play together but I can't remember ever seeing 2 righties play together.
So, where does Voynov play? He's not that great defensively so I don't see him playing with Jack Johnson since Johnson will probably always need a caretaker on defense. Johnson paired with either Doughty or Greene has been a disaster this season so I don't see one of them moving with the other, thus freeing up a line for Voynov. Greene could move to the left side and pair with Voynov; I've can't remember seeing 2 righties with each other but I guess it could happen. Don't know if that's the best use of Greene, though.
Here are the 2 scenarios in which I see Voynov making the team within the next 2 years:
Johnson-Doughty (3rd time's a charm?)
The first seems like an inefficient use of our defensive defensemen and the second just seems unlikely. The obvious omission in either scenario, of course, is Alec Martinez. Since Martinez and Voynov are both offensive defensemen and would primarily fulfill the same role, I see them being redundant. The Kings would be better off trading Voynov now and then deciding between Martinez and Thomas Hickey somewhere down the road... unless, of course, they think Voynov will be way better than Martinez down the road. And he probably will be.
I don't know, what do you guys think? I look at our prospects who are immediately expendable and Voynov tops that list, even though I really like him. Who tops yours?
Prediction: Kings win, 7-4. Goals by Justin Williams (x3), Ryan Smyth, Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty and Kyle Clifford.