The Kings sent Andrei Loktionov down to
Helheim Manchester today to make room for the recently recovered Scott Parse. A few thoughts:
-This isn't really a bad thing, despite my love of Loktionov. Loktionov is a talented kid but it seemed like he was a little tentative, as most 5th round picks suddenly thrust into a spot next to Anze Kopitar might play. It seemed like he didn't want to dictate the play and instead tried to actively give the puck to Kopitar; that's not really his game, though, so he looked a little uninspired. I think some time in Manchester alongside Dwight King and Oscar Moller will do Loktionov a world of good.
-This is good news for Scott Parse, who now seems destined to play alongside Kopitar and Dustin Brown for at least a little while. Parse isn't as good in the corners and Loktionov but he'll probably be quicker to shoot. I'm unconvinced that this is the answer to the Kings' left wing woes but I'm willing to give Parse a shot.
-This is also good news for Brayden Schenn. The Kings had been skating a forward unit of Schenn/Loki-Kopitar-Handzus on the 1st power play unit, with Schenn and Loki bouncing back and forth. With Loki gone, it seems likely that Schenn might get an extended trial at that spot and thus stay up past his 10-game tryout. Either that or they'll move Smyth up and let Schenn and Williams run the 2nd unit down low. Either option works for me, as I want either Loki or Schenn up all year.
-The Kings are reaching a critical point with their line-up. Sending Loktionov down helps clear things up, but they still need to make a few moves. Everyone's finally healthy and Schenn and Kyle Clifford are inching closer and closer to their 10-game limit (Schenn's at 8, Clifford's at 7). If I had to guess, I'd say the Kings will keep Schenn, since he's already dominated Junior and the Kings would need him if one of their centers get hurt, and demote Clifford, since he's looked overmatched at times and could use the time to develop his offensive game. Schenn can learn offense from Kopitar, defense from Handzus, and face-offs from Stoll, all while keeping his minutes down and keeping him fresh for the 2nd half of the season. Clifford can go to the World Junior Championships and help lead his team in Junior. I think eventually the Kings will look like this: