Kings Pre-Offseason: Lines!

This picture isn't relevant to anything, I just thought you'd like to see it. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

What I'd like to see barring any trades, signings or arrests:

Dustin Penner Anze Kopitar Wayne Simmonds
Ryan Smyth Braydrei Schenntionov Justin Williams
Scott Parse Jarret Stoll Dustin Brown
Kyle Clifford Brad Richardson/Trevor Lewis Trevor Lewis/Kevin Westgarth

 

My logic:

1) I like Dustin Penner with Anze Kopitar. I thought Penner was great off the puck and actively worked to get the puck to Kopitar with space for him to create a play.

2) Anze Kopitar is the Kings' best defensive forward. He should be playing the toughest minutes of any forward on the Kings. I gave him the Kings' best defensive right winger... then figured Brown would be better served leading a weaker line and put Simmonds up there instead. Simmonds is good defensively. On offense, he can get the puck deep and then get to the front of the net while Penner and Kopitar work their magic. The line's not too dissimilar from my favorite line of the past few years, Frolov-Handzus-Simmonds. It's just waaaay better.

3) Ryan Smyth and Justin Williams work well together; however, since they both frequently like to take chances on the rush, they can't really be relied on for real tough minutes. So we'll put them with whoever performs better in camp, Andrei Loktionov or Brayden Schenn. It's similar to how the Sharks put Ryane Clowe and Dany Heatley with their young center, Logan Couture... except, you know, the Kings' line isn't full of douche bags. They only have one!

4) Parse-Stoll-Brown would be the nominal "shutdown" line, although that role is really filled by Kopitar. Stoll's the best defensive center behind Kopitar and the Kings really need to use him in tough situations to protect their young centers. He's getting the yeoman's work next year. Brown's right there with him, plugging away and leading the rush. I put Parse with them for right now because he's creative and would mesh well with two shooters, I think. If he doesn't work out or if his hip falls apart again, the Kings can throw Clifford up there and form a Fing-Fang-Foom line.

5) Trevor Lewis is our best 4th line player and will be playing all the time. When the Kings want Westgarth in, they'll put Lewis at center. When Westgarth is out, Lewis can shift to right wing and Richardson can play center. Or the Kings can trade Richardson and bring up Marc-Andre Cliche or Rich Clune and make them play right wing. Or the Kings can trade everyone. Or who the fuck cares because this is all worthless but it's still fun.

6) If you don't like these specific lines, just think about it like this: Murray usually puts people into pairs and then rotates someone else with them. I want Penner-Kopitar, Smyth-Schenntionov, and Stoll-Brown to be together. Everyone else can cycle through based on what Murray's feeling. I think those are pretty solid pairings.

What do you think? Who should play together? Who should be kept apart at all costs? Who cares? No one? Oh, OK.

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