|Scoring 20 goals and picking up 50 points are not out of the question for the Kings third-line, second-year winger Wayne Simmonds.
The LAKings.com Mailbag returns (yes, we know we are a week late, but better late than never) with the fifth installment of the 2009-10 season answering questions on topics ranging from the uniform number of Gary Unger to when/if Kings fans will see Oscar Moller this season and what to expect out of Wayne Simmonds in 2009-10. Those answers and more in this week's LAKings.com Mailbag...and check back in two weeks for the next Mailbag.
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I noticed on your All-Time Jersey Numbers that you only had Wayne Gretzky wearing the No. 99. I think Gary Unger also wore the No. 99 for a short time during his stint with the Kings, though he wore No. 27 at some point as well. Can you check on that?
Craig K., So Cal
Thanks for the note Craig. We looked at the 1981-82 media guide, no help there. So we went straight to the experts, Bob Miller and Nick Nickson and neither remember Gary Unger wearing the No. 99 at any point during his 58 games with the Kings during the 1980-81 season. Unger did, however, wear the No. 77 as well as No. 27 with the Kings. Unger scored 10-10=20 with the Kings after being acquired on June 6, 1980 from Calgary for Bert Wilson and Randy Holt. He was later traded to Edmonton for the Oilers' 7th round choice (Craig Hurley) in 1981 Entry Draft on March 10, 1981. Unger would play parts of three more seasons with the Oilers, scoring a combined nine goals. For his career, Unger tallied 413-391=804 in 1,105 games with the Maple Leafs, Red Wings, Blues, Flames, Kings and Oilers from 1967-1983.
Wayne Gretzky was the only King to ever wear the No. 99, wearing it from Oct., 1988 to the time of his trade in February of 1996. The number was retired on Oct. 9, 2002.
Why is Oscar Moller starting in the minors? When do you think he'll get called up?
Dave D., Toronto, Canada
Basically with Oscar Moller, it was a numbers game. For much of training camp, Moller played center on the Kings second line with Teddy Purcell and Dustin Brown until injured center iceman Jarret Stoll returned to the ice. At that time, Moller was put on a wing and basically had to challenge Purcell for top-six minutes. When Purcell continued to excel at camp, Moller was on the outside looking in. Putting the talented forward, who tallied 7-8=15 in 40 games in his rookie season as a 19-year-old, in a third or fourth line role is not exactly fitting of his skills and could slow the development of the Stockholm, Sweden native.
"I thought he had a pretty decent camp but he needs to get his pro game a little bit better," Murray told reporters after Moller was assigned to Manchester. "In the middle of the ice he had a little bit of an area of concern for me when he was playing center. Then when we look at putting him on the wing it seemed I had a tough time finding a place for him to play because we added Williams and Smyth.
"We just ran out of space and we needed him to continue to work at his game, too. He needs to become a better pro player."
So the decision was made to have Moller start the season at Manchester where he can play on a top line, play on the power-play, play on the penalty kill and in all situations. Moller got off to a good start, picking up an assist in his first game with the Monarchs on Saturday, playing on a line with Andrei Loktionov and Scott Parse.
Could we see him in LA this year? Well, a lot of things would have to go wrong as some of the Kings top-six would have to suffer injuries or be extremely ineffective to prompt a move. For now, playing at Manchester and improving his game is best for his career, and for the Kings.
I want to get an LA Kings alternate jersey. The only problem is that I don't know who to get. I like Anze Kopitar, or maybe Dustin Brown. I just would like to get a second opinion before I spend $150.00. Thank you.
Honestly Eric, you can't go wrong with either of those jerseys, in fact buy they all! Brown is the youngest Captain in Kings history, has a 30-goal season under his belt and is constantly one of the best hitters in the game. What more can you say about Kopitar, he is a talent that has point-per-game potential and scored the most goals by a Kings rookie since Luc Robitaille in 1986.
The best part is Brown is in the second of a six-year contract and Kopitar is in the first of a seven-year contract, so they will both be here for a while, and with all the movement via free agents and trades, having that security means a lot when getting the name put on the back of your jersey.
How do you think Wayne Simmonds will perform this year?
Mike H., Armstrong, BC, Canada
Simmonds had a very strong finish to his rookie season, scoring 4-5=9 over the last 15 games of the season and three goals in the last four games. Multiply his 15-game finish over the course of the season, and you are talking about 20-plus goals and 25-plus assists, with an outside shot at 50-plus points, not bad for a second-year, third-line winger. He put on weight this off season while working on his game and carried his strong finish into the preseason, tying Kopitar for the team lead in goals with five and adding an assist for six points in six games. Simmonds scored his first of the season at the 5:49 mark of the second game vs. the Sharks on Tuesday night.
I wanted to know if the kings were going to have any watch parties again this year.
Grant R., La Mirada
Hey Grant, the Kings typically throw watch parties throughout the season and this year is no different. Stay tuned to our event schedule located here, where you can find all of our events and in-game promotions, player birthdays and key dates in a monthly format.
Thank you for all of your questions and comments. LAKings.com would like to answer as many questions from Los Angeles Kings fans as possible. E-mail your query to LAKings.com for possible inclusion in a future mailbag column. Letters can be addressed to any member of the organization and may be edited for brevity, length and/or content. Please include your name and location along with your question and email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the form below: