Here's a question: what the hell is wrong with that guy's face??? (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
A few questions I'm trying to answer in the wake of the Mike Richards deal:
Who is the Kings' shutdown center?
Take your pick. Mike Richards finished 8th in Selke voting this season and has been nominated in the past. Anze Kopitar finished 9th in Selke voting this season and generally faces stiff competition because he's threatening offensively. Jarret Stoll... hasn't been nominated for the Selke. He's pretty good defensively, though!
I'm guessing the Kings will probably use Richards as their "shutdown" center, at least most of the time. He's proven that he can score while playing really tough minutes, plus it eases Kopitar's burden and allows him to keep his minutes up. Kopitar will likely play tough minutes when we play the Sharks or Ducks, though, since they have big centers.
The most important thing is the versatility it gives the Kings. The Kings can load up against a team with a stacked top-six or they can spread it out against a team with a lot of depth. Plus, they could even trade Jarret Stoll now that they have 2 great defensive centers in the fold. Of course, that depends on...
So Andrei Loktionov is making the team, right?
Umm... not sure. Now that the Kings have a shutdown line in their top-six, it stands to reason that they can put together a scoring line against the soft minutes that will be left. Stoll doesn't really fit that role, while Loktionov does. Quisp had the idea of putting Stoll on a wing with Loktionov in center (with the idea that Stoll still takes the draws) and I really like that; I'm not sure if Terry Murray would, though. The Kings could take this season to season Loktionov a little more since they have Stoll for one more year and 2 centers who can play 20 minutes a night. In fact, I'm thinking that's exactly what is going to happen. Shit.
Well... at least Smyth is gone, right?
I know, I'm pretty stoked too.
How do the Kings replace Brayden Schenn?
Well that's easy, they have Mike Richards now.
How do the Kings replace Wayne Simmonds?
That's... a little tougher. Honestly, I'm pretty sure they already have the answer on the team: the Kings replace Wayne Simmonds with Dustin Brown. Brown is similar to Wayne except better and I think he'd much more adept in that role than in a more offensive role like he's in now. I guess the real question is...
How do the Kings replace Dustin Brown's role but in Wayne Simmonds' minutes?
There we go. That's an easier question and fortunately, a guy who can score when given easy minutes on the right wing is probably the easiest thing in thing in the NHL to find. Unfortunately, the Kings don't really have anyone who could fill that role on the roster at present. The nearest thing they have is Trevor Lewis and he's not offensively gifted. There's Parse but he's a left wing and... haha, looking at it now, Purcell would be perfect in that role. Whoops! In the long-term, the Kings have Brandon Kozun and Tyler Toffoli ready to step into that role. In the near-term...
Are the Kings done making moves?
I don't think so. The Kings need to trade Ryan Smyth and re-sign Drew Doughty, and then after that I think they'll have some space to add another forward. I think they'll need to. Either wing and either an offensive or defensive player. The two guys I have my eye on are Jussi Jokinen or Scottie Upshall. I think either one would fill in really well. The only problem is that the Kings would likely be looking for a one or two-year deal. I don't know, we'll see.
But the rebuild's done, I guess?
Me too, buddy. Me too.