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Features

Kings lineup likely will look similar to Cup team

Thursday, 08.28.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

For the second time in three seasons the Los Angeles Kings will be the defending Stanley Cup champion and will start the campaign with nearly an identical roster to the title-winning one.

The Kings are loaded down the middle, could be even better on the wings with a full season of Marian Gaborik, Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli, and will have one of the best tandems in net with Jonathan Quick and Martin Jones.

Obviously it is championship or bust for the Kings. The best regular season they've had in the past three seasons was the one after the first title, but injuries in the Stanley Cup Playoffs stunted any chance of a repeat.

This could be the best team of the four, but will the same thing that helped them against the Chicago Blackhawks (revenge for the previous playoff defeat) be their undoing should the two superpowers meet again? The Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks also will have some say about who gets out of the Pacific Division as well.

Here is the projected 2014-15 lineup for the Kings:

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Kings need bounce-back season from Richards

Thursday, 08.28.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

When the Los Angeles Kings traded for Mike Richards in June 2011, it was a given that they had landed a cornerstone center for years to come. Richards was regarded as one of the finest 200-foot young forwards in the NHL.

The team did not envision Richards devolving into a fourth-line grinder who finished last season playing between Kyle Clifford and Trevor Lewis. The former captain of the Philadelphia Flyers had his lowest offensive output since his rookie season in 2006-07 with 11 goals and 30 assists. Yet general manager Dean Lombardi refused to use a buyout on Richards, who has six seasons remaining on the 12-year, $69 million contract he signed with Philadelphia in 2007.

Instead, Lombardi said it's crucial for Richards to rebound.

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Brown, Quick among Kings' five questions

Thursday, 08.28.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

There aren't many hard questions facing the Los Angeles Kings following their second Stanley Cup in three seasons, but the Kings still make it interesting.

They again muddled through another regular season, then turned it on thanks to the addition of Marian Gaborik and the emergence of the dynamic duo of Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson.

But there's always room for improvement in the eyes of the organization, and here's a closer look at five questions that will need to be answered if the Kings hope to keep their mini-dynasty going for the 2014-15 season:

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Kings' summer goal was maintaining winning culture

Thursday, 08.28.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi faces a different set of challenges in the offseason than most of his peers. While other managers focus on improving their team through free agency, Lombardi is charged with keeping his lineup intact within the NHL salary cap.

His biggest move came 12 days after the Kings won their second Stanley Cup when he signed left wing Marian Gaborik to a seven-year contract worth $34.125 million, which guarantees the 32-year-old Gaborik can remain with the Kings through 2020-21. More important, his salary-cap charge is $4.875 million, according to CapGeek.com.

"His cap number is certainly reasonable for a player his caliber," Lombardi said. "It's just a player you decide is going to fit in. You felt good that he was going to make the commitment to train the right way, as so many of these guys can do to extend their careers and perform at a high level. Look at Teemu Selanne's career at the same age. You look at what he accomplished from 32 on to the end; it's pretty remarkable. Marian is clearly one of those players that figured out it's not about the fame and money. It's about, 'I like this winning stuff.'"

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Kings' top 10 prospects feature Pearson, Zykov

Thursday, 08.28.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Being a prospect for the Los Angeles Kings is a double-edged sword. On the one side is the opportunity to be part of a championship team; the Kings have won the Stanley Cup two of the past three seasons.

The other side, though, is a lack of playing time and limited opportunities for promotion. That means a patient approach has to be taken by the younger players.

"We're not in a rush to get these kids in the lineup right now," Kings vice president of hockey operations and director of player personnel Michael Futa said. "They can hone their skills at the American Hockey League and with our development team and be ready to make an impact when they're called upon."

Here's a look at the Kings' top 10 prospects, according to NHL.com:

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Flyers sign defenseman Manning to one-year contract

Wednesday, 08.27.2014 / 2:33 PM / NHL Free Agency 2014

NHL.com

Restricted free-agent defenseman Brandon Manning signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Manning, 24, had eight goals, 31 points, a minus-24 rating and a team-high 231 penalty minutes in 73 games last season with the Adirondack Phantoms, the Flyers' American Hockey League affiliate.

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Bouma signs one-year contract with Flames

Wednesday, 08.27.2014 / 11:57 AM / NHL Free Agency 2014

NHL.com

Center Lance Bouma, a restricted free agent, signed a one-year contract with the Calgary Flames on Wednesday, the team announced. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Bouma, 24, spent the full season in the NHL for the first time in 2013-14 after seeing some NHL action the previous two seasons. He had five goals and 15 points in 78 games last season, his 181 hits led the Flames, and his 87 blocked shots were the most among Calgary forwards.

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Drouin, Lehtera top Sitkoff's fantasy sleepers list

Wednesday, 08.27.2014 / 11:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

With few exceptions, the majority of top-tier players are established and well-known to the common fantasy owner. Though those players are integral components of a championship team, under-the-radar options with high potential -- better known as sleepers -- can pay huge dividends in fantasy leagues.

Whether drafted or added off waivers, these players typically are undervalued on draft day but ultimately can become major fantasy commodities by season's end. Sleepers are extremely unpredictable every season, but the bottom line is these players end up outperforming everyone’s expectations, regardless of their age, team or position.

This week, NHL.com fantasy insiders Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen and Matt Sitkoff take in-depth looks at underrated players who should be on your fantasy team's radar entering drafts. Each expert will provide 10 sleeper picks with corresponding stat projections (in order of preference), along with five additional candidates for fantasy owners to keep an eye on.

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Kraft Hockeyville 2014 announces ticketing information for NHL pre-season game

Coyotes and Flames face off in Sylvan Lake, on September 24, 2014

Wednesday, 08.27.2014 / 10:42 AM / Kraft Hockeyville 2014

NHL.com

TORONTO, ON / Canada – After months of anticipation, the Sylvan Lake Local Organizing Committee today announce the ticketing information for the Kraft Hockeyville 2014 NHL® pre-season game between the Arizona Coyotes and the Calgary Flames that will be played at the Sylvan Lake Multiplex on September 24, 2014.

"We are thrilled to host the celebration of our Kraft Hockeyville win with four days of fun-filled events, including the NHL pre-season game," said Graham Parsons, co-chair of the Sylvan Lake Local Organizing Committee. "We have a packed schedule of free, non-ticketed events so the whole community can be involved in this historic moment for our town."

To ensure fairness, tickets to the game will be allocated in the following way:

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Sarich getting better after cycling accident

Wednesday, 08.27.2014 / 8:55 AM / NHL Free Agency 2014

NHL.com

Free agent defenseman Cory Sarich is improving in his recovery from injuries sustained in a cycling accident one month ago.

In an interview with the Calgary Herald published Tuesday, Sarich said he did not know if or when he would resume his NHL career.

"This has thrown a big wrinkle into it and I don't know what's going to happen. But right now my priority is to get healthy," Sarich told writer Kristen Odland. "I want to get myself back in shape regardless if hockey is an option moving forward. I'm just going to play it by ear from here."

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— New Jersey Devils rookie goalie Keith Kinkaid on his first NHL win Friday against the Tampa Bay Lightning
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