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Kings News Mailbag (Sept. 1)

by Thomas LaRocca / Los Angeles Kings
Should Alexander Frolov shoot the puck more?
The Mailbag returns with the third installment of the 2009-10 season answering questions on topics ranging from the Kings television schedule to Jack Johnson's development to whether or not two young Russian prospects will appear with the Kings this season. Those answers and more in this week's Mailbag...and check back in two weeks for the next Mailbag.

Archive: Aug. 4 Mailbag
Aug. 18 - Mailbag

I am a huge Kings fan that lives in San Diego County and I don't get to attend many games. Is FS West going to televise the Kings' games this coming season?
Virginia H., San Diego, Calif.

Hey Virginia, thanks for the email. The Kings will be announcing the 2009-10 broadcast schedule later this week, so check back to will be able to find the schedule here when it is announced. We do know already that the Kings will be on Versus on Nov. 9 at the Blackhawks, on TSN on Dec. 17 at the Calgary Flames and on the CBC on March 6 vs. the Montreal Canadiens, so mark your calendars.

In addition, at LA Kings Hockey Fest '09 this weekend, Bob Miller announced that all 65 telecasts will be available in HD this season, up from 10 a year ago. (Click here to read the LA Times' Helene Elliott's post on the HD Announcement.)

Elliott quoted the Kings vice president for communications and broadcasting Mike Altieri in the article: "We applaud our partners at Fox Sports West for making this commitment. This is great news for Kings fans and all hockey fans in general."

What do you think about Andrei Loktionov and Viatcheslav Voynov's chances to debut in the NHL next season?
Vadim K., Russia

Not ruling anything out - as anything can happen in sports as much as in life - but the chances that either of the Kings young Russian prospects Andrei Loktionov or Viatcheslav Voynov appear in a game with the Kings in 2009-10 are not very likely.

"If everything goes normal and the Kings suffer a normal amount of injuries, not too high, not too low, I would expect them to not spend any time with the Kings this year," Kings television analyst Jim Fox said. "With Voynov, the Kings already have a lot of young defenseman, and to add another one into the mix, would be a lot to ask. With Loktionov, it is a similar situation, the Kings had Wayne Simmonds and Oscar Moller join the team last year and were the third-youngest team in the league, so to have someone without any professional experience join the team, that would be a huge jump for him to make.

"When Loktionov gets to the NHL, it will be as a top-six forward, so he would have to displace one of the current top-six on the team and I don't think that is highly likely at this point."

Voynov, 19, recorded 23 points (8-15=23) and 46 PIMs in 61 games with the Manchester Monarchs, the Kings AHL affiliate.

"All of the reports that I get from Manchester is that he is no doubt an NHL player and excels in many, many areas of the game," Fox said.

Voynov, most likely, will again join the Manchester Monarchs for the 2009-10 season, as will Loktionov, also 19, who recorded 66 points (24-42=66), 16 penalty minutes and a plus-28 rating in 51 regular season games with Windsor (OHL).

"Loktionov excelled at the Junior level," and should be ready to make the step up to Manchester this year.

Jack Johnson has received a lot of hype but has yet to live up to it for the most part and has him listed at No. 2 on their top-10 list of players expected to break out this year, what kind of year do you expect him to have and do you believe this is a make or break year for him?
Griffin G., Canada

Here is what Foxy had to say about Johnson:
"First of all, it is way too early to say make or break, since he has only played one full season in the NHL. I would agree with the assessment hat he had a lot of hype coming out of college, but his skill level has always stood out and that is why people who evaluated him consider his top end to be very high. His skating, passing and shooting skills are just exceptional. Having said that, like any young defenseman, he is still in the process of learning the NHL game and learning how those strengths fit into the overall game. The Kings coaching staff has asked him to work more on his own end and to concentrate on his own end because they are confident the other parts of his game will take over because of his skill."

Johnson, 22, of course missed 41 games last season due to a shoulder injury, but in half the season, tied for the team lead in goals with six and tied his career high of 11 points (6-5=11), which he had tallied during his rookie season, in which he played in 74 games. Also, defenseman Kyle Quincey and his 38 points (4-34=38) are gone in the Ryan Smyth trade, which could open up more opportunity on the power play for Johnson - which in turn, could result in an increase in scoring.

So an improvement on both ends of the ice for Johnson is certainly possible.

In watching Alexander Frolov, it seems like he could easily be a 40-goal scorer. Could he be convinced to shoot the puck more given the fact that he has one of the better shooting percentages on the team?
Paul I., Glendale, Calif.

Alexander Frolov led the team in goals with 32 but finished third on the team in shots with 176, well behind team-leaders Dustin Brown (292) and Anze Kopitar (234). For the season, Frolov converted on 18.2 percent of his shots, which ranked sixth in the NHL behind Ryan Malone (21.0 %), Loui Eriksson (20.2 %), Kyle Wellwood (19.1 %), Thomas Vanek (19.0 %) and Andrew Brunette (18.6 %).

"Like many European-trained players, he follows the philosophy where you don't shoot until you have a prime opportunity on goal, and that is very difficult to change," Fox said. "Many of the players that get a ton of shots on goal, get shots on goal because of their rush and their strength is on the rush. Alex's strengths are not necessarily on the rush, they are more down low as we have seen him cycle more and protect the puck, which led to his scoring opportunities."

Frolov's methods have paid dividends for the 27-year-old winger, who now has five consecutive 20-plus goal seasons, reaching 30-plus goals twice (2006-07 and 2008-09) with a high of 35 in 2006-07. Meanwhile, his career high for shots is 195 (2006-07) with an average of 169 shots per season, which he has converted on a healthy 14.7% for his career.

Thank you for all of your questions and comments. would like to answer as many questions from Los Angeles Kings fans as possible. E-mail your query to 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 or fill out the form below:

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