Not surprisingly, as time has gone on, the injured guys of the Kings have been getting healthier. And while the call-ups from the Monarchs have been pretty good, there is certainly not going to be room for all of them once the Kings get healthy again. Not shocking. Matt Greene coming back is pretty damn important for Los Angeles, even if only for defensive depth, so the days of carrying fifteen forwards may soon be gone from us. The first guy likely to get removed from the roster is Tanner Pearson.
Pearson hasn't been bad, though he clearly isn't ready for the NHL yet. When he's just sitting around for games, that's not great for a young player's development either, despite whatever Darryl Sutter may say. He's bound for Manchester, we know it, he knows it, and it's just a matter of time. Best of luck Tanner.
However, it get's a bit more interesting when matching up Linden Vey and Tyler Toffoli. As much as we would like to see Jarret Stoll traded instead because he is expensive and best served playing on the fourth line, that's probably not going to be happening. It's pretty clear having more depth is a lot more important than most of us (aka, me specifically) wanted to acknowledge so ditching Kyle Clifford, or Daniel Carcillo, or Trevor Lewis, or Dwight King, or Dustin Brown...well, you get the idea, so ditching someone may not be the best course as team depth has been integral lately.
So assuming the Kings get fully healthy and have seven defensemen and fourteen forwards, it makes the most sense if Vey or Toffoli get's bumped down to the AHL again. Provided they want to keep their current depth of course. The arguments:
Toffoli scorers. A lot. He's proven that he can hang with the big guys, though he can be a bit more inconsistent at this level rather then in the minors. His two way game isn't bad, though he isn't ready for the tougher minutes it looks like. He also needs a solid puck mover to line up with him, as he is more of a shooter and less of setup guy. As evidenced lately, the Kings need goals, and Toffoli can offer that way more than Vey. However, the Kings have quite a few right wingers already, with Justin Williams and Carter specifically in the top six. Crazy unconventional lineup I thought up on a whim:
His two-way game is a lot better than Toffoli's, which is something the Kings are huge on. He's been over matched before, but Vey has also made NHL veterans look damn silly. He's also a way better option as a third line center than Stoll or Lewis. He can play the power play, penalty kill, tougher match-ups, or crunch time. He's just a lot more versatile. However, he isn't exactly a huge scorer. Simply put, he's sort of an inverse Toffoli. Or something, I don't know. Crazy unconventional lineup I thought up on a whim:
Hm. Apparently no matter the case I always will have Dwight King as a top line left winger. What a world we live in.
Yeah, I said the Kings probably won't trade anyone, but what the hell. The prime candidate (brace yourselves) is Jarret Stoll. Shocker, I know. Stoll still wins a lot of faceoffs, plays a pretty good defensive game, and is a physical player. He is also very pretty. Maybe not Jeff Carter pretty, but still... *Ahem*. Where was I? Oh yeah, so he is essentially everything you want in a bottom six center. But do the Kings need to be shelling out three million a year on Stoll centering the fourth line? Probably not. Though while this seems like a lot of money right now, the cap is reportedly going up by a substantial amount (reportedly because of that Rogers TV deal, so thanks again for that lockout and cap reduction owners). Three million probably won't be a bad hit next year, and, again, depth is a great thing. Plus, right now the only guy due for a substantial pay next year is Ben Scrivens. Unless you think Trevor Lewis deserves more money for shooting behind the net on breakaways And what team wants a three million dollar bottom six center? Well, probably the Maple Leafs, and then that way Rudy would get Nikolai Kulemin here finally.
Or they just keep rotating guys to Injured Reserve, giving them a week or two off to recharge. Then no one gets sent anywhere. Probably that.
After that crazy game in San Jose against the Sharks, that I think we can at least agree was really entertaining, the Kings now face the Flames. Quite the letdown. The outcome last game may not have been what the Kings wanted, but a shootout loss on the road isn't bad, all things considered. If the Kings come in with that same sort of fired up attitude there is absolutely no reason they don't beat up on Calgary. They are in the second part of a back-to-back coming of a beat down from Anaheim. However, the Kings also somehow pissed away easy points earlier this season against the Flames, so it doesn't look good. They really enjoy playing down to their opponents and driving me insane.
Prediction: I have no idea what to do with Matt Greene besides having him sit when he gets back. Sorry, Matt.