Saturday, April 25, 2009

Team 4- The Final Installment...ish

Round 4 of selecting a NEW TEAM has landed on the LA Kings. This is a team with some interesting pieces and makes them one of the more attractive teams to choose from.For the last few years they have been a bit of a joke on the ice and there were questionable decisions being made in the front office. On the bright side it was those years that put them in a position to start building their team through the draft. The decision to bring in Marc Crawford probably wasn’t the right choice and by all accounts his endorsement of Dan Cloutier in nets did nothing to further the development of this team.

The change in philosophy on how prospects are evaluated and developed under the guidance of Dean Lombardi and his hockey operations staff is a big reason for optimism. Lombardi did a good job at putting together the San Jose Sharks and looks to be doing that in LA. The Kings have what looks to be one of the deepest roster of quality of prospects in the NHL. They have 3 good looking goaltenders in Jonathan Bernier, Jeff Zatkoff and Jon Quick...all under the age of 23. Quick just came off a very solid rookie year as the starter. His play will allow the team to be patient in bringing along the other 2 and will allow for some competition on the farm team. Another luxury they have is a very deep defence both at the NHL level and in the system. Drew Doughty very easily could have been a contender for rookie of the year and was selected to play for Canada at the World Championships. Jack Johnson is a big body First Round Pick and has that Michigan pedigree. In the minors and in junior may be the best grouping of young defence. Canadian World Junior captain Thomas Hickey was an early pick and looks to be a good 2 way defenceman, smart and savvy Russian Vyacheslav Voynov has some real potential, towering pivot Brian Boyle may play center or defence but is a pig body for sure and then last years 13th pick the rugged Colten Teubert ( I have a softy spot for Teubert as I have met him and gotten his autograph. He seemed really down to earth very chatty and outgoing just a nice guy...also watching him in the World Juniors in person as a first pair shutdown player doesn’t hurt. He looks to possibly be a very solid player).

Where I see the team lacking is up front. After watching a few games and looking into the team they are a little weak up front. Scoring was an issue all season and they will need to do something soon to address this. There have been talk that maybe a Marian Gaborek may come as a free agent and even some talk of Vincent Lecavalier being dealt to LA. If that is the case they do have some pieces that could be moved in a possible deal as Tampa has NO DEFENCE. The Entry Draft this year will be very interesting for them as they do have the 5th pick and are assured of a good player or it could be used to get a top flight forward that can put the puck in the net.

Already on the team or on the verge that look to be making positive strides are Oscar Moller,Wayne Simmonds, Teddy Purcell, and Trevor Lewis. These youngsters along with Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, Jarret Stoll and Alexander Frolov allow for a decent core to build upon.

So here we are, 4 teams that are in the running to become my favorite Western Conference team. This is where things begging to get difficult and a little murky. I will admit that I did have a bit of a lean when I began thinking about this and LA had the early lead. The only problem was that as time went by and i started doing a little research the balance of power began to shift. As of right now I have widdled the selection down to 2 possible choices....The LA Kings and....The St. Louis Blues. and that I am afraid is where it will need to stay right at this moment. It is just too close to call and I will have to give it some real thought and weigh the pros and cons. At this point it is just too close to call...a photo finish as it were. I hope to have an answer to this burning question very soon, within the next few days but I just don’t know which way to go at this point. Wish me luck, it looks like I will need it.

1 comment:

NWA said...

Love the Doughty, he is a double asset! He is going to be one heck of a D-man as well.