Friday, Sept. 5, 2008
This month's mailbag was full of questions on topics ranging from Salary Cap concerns to assistant coaching staff questions to what the Kings lines might look like in 2008-09 and even a question about that Anze Kopitar trade rumor from this summer. Find out those answers and more in this edition of the Royal Mailbag.
When does the Kings Training Camp start? Which of the Kings young players will be attending camp?
Brad R., Los Angeles, CA
Brad, thanks for your question. Believe it or not, training camp is right around the corner with the first on-ice day taking place on Sept. 19, mark your calendars. As far as which players will be attending, the official roster will be announced soon but check out the roster page on LAKings.com as training camp progresses, as it will be updated daily with each transaction that takes place.
If the season were to start tomorrow, what would the lines be with whom we have at this moment?
Obviously, we will have to see what happens at training camp, but the prevailing attitude is that the lines could look something like this:
O'Sullivan - Kopitar - Brown
Frolov - Stoll - Purcell
Boyle - Handzus - Calder
Ivanans/Richardson - Armstrong - Ellis
In addition, you have Matt Moulson, John Zeiler and Brady Murray who all saw time with the Kings last season, challenging for time on that third and fourth line. And don't forget about the young kids Wayne Simmonds, Oscar Moller, Trevor Lewis, Bud Holloway and Marc-Andre Cliche, whom will all be in camp and could also challenge for time should they impress Kings management enough at training camp to earn a spot on the roster.
One thing is for sure with Dean Lombardi, Terry Murray and their staffs, nobody has guaranteed themselves a spot, you have to earn it.
Will Brian Boyle be looked at both positions or just at forward?
John W., Huntington Beach, CA
The Kings experimented with Brian Boyle as a defenseman last year during training camp and at the beginning of the season at Manchester due mainly to his size and the fact that he played the position occasionally at Boston College. However, in December of last year, Boyle was moved back to forward where he played the remainder of the season, even making an appearance with Los Angeles and scoring four goals in eight games with the team in February. It is pretty safe to say that he will be playing in the forward group at camp.
Do you folks have any idea what Drew Doughty's picking as a uniform number? I would love to order one before the season starts.
According to Head Equipment Manager Darren Granger, Drew Doughty will be wearing jersey No. 80 throughout the preseason, but he may change his number when the season starts. Jerseys are available at Team LA.
Any update on filling out the Assistant Coaching staff? Are the Assistants from last year returning?
Aaron A., Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Aaron, in early August there was a shake up of the returning Kings assistant coaches, which is typical when a new head coach comes in. It was announced that Mike Johnston and Dave Lewis would not be joining new head coach Terry Murray behind the Kings bench. Jamie Kompon was retained however, as was Nelson Emerson, only he moved into more of a Player Development role with the club. It was also announced that former King and former Kings assistant coach Mark Hardy would return to the Crownshirts bench in 2008-09.
What day will the new third jersey come out to see/buy?
The Kings will debut their new third jersey on Nov. 22 when the Kings host the Colorado Avalanche. It should be made available for purchase at Team LA at 7:32 p.m. on Nov. 22.
What sort of game style will the Kings' be playing this year? Are they focusing on a more defensive and goalie orientated game or will they be like Detroit in their East/West style game or a more physical game like Calgary?
Christopher I, London, Ontario.
After a season in which the Kings finished 28th in goals allowed with 263, finishing just ahead of Atlanta and Tampa Bay (266) combined with the fact that the Kings hired a former defenseman as their head coach, one would think that the Kings will certainly be more focused on defense. This offseason, goals against average (3.21) has been a huge focus of the Kings and GAA does not just reflect on goaltending, but on the whole team. Former Head Coach Marc Crawford has always played a run and gun style, but with Murray, the Kings mindset will change and focus more on keeping the puck out of our own net. Attention to detail will not be lost on Murray, he is a coach who has been known to focus on every detail when it comes to team defense.
When are we going to get ice girls?
Well Anthony, this year is finally your year. The Kings will be hosting auditions for the Kings Ice Girls on Sept. 8. Yes, LAKings.com and Kings Vision's Heidi Androl will be on the scene to keep you all up to date on the creation of this inaugural team. And you will be able to see them at the Kings season opener on Oct. 12 vs. the San Jose Sharks.
Will the Kings be signing or trading for a defensemen? It appears the Kings blueline will be very young.
Well, right now the defense pairings could project to look like this:
Johnson and Greene
Doughty and Preissing
Gauthier and Harrold
Prospects Alec Martinez and Thomas Hickey will also be in the mix competing for a spot. You can't count out Colten Teubert, the Kings other first round pick this past year as well. In addition, Joe Piskula, who skated with the Kings for the last part of the 2006-07 season, could be in the mix…and do not count out the possibility of another blueliner being acquired via free agency or trade as players always become available toward the end of camp.
With the Kings going young this season, who will mentor the young defensemen and the young forwards on this team?
Well first, don't forget about 35-year-old Derek Armstrong (415) and 31-year-old Michal Handzus (599) whom have combined for over 900 NHL games, not including the post season. Both will be leaders on the ice and Armstrong is extremely vocal in the Kings locker room. Tom Preissing and his 300 NHL games will also be entering his second season with the club and the Kings did also add veteran Dennis Gauthier (489 career games) to the mix as well. And don't count out the young kids taking the ball and running with it, so to speak, as each of them grow into leaders on this team.
But most importantly, when Dean Lombardi selected a new head coach and assembled a coaching staff, the one key element he was looking for was the ability to teach and Terry Murray will play a signifacnt role in "mentoring" and teaching the young kids on this team.
Is it true that the Kings want to trade Anze Kopitar?
During the offseason, there was a rumor that suggested that Kopitar would go to the Blackhawks, Martin Gerber and Andrei Meszaros would go to the Kings and Nikolai Khabibulin would join the Senators. The reports on this trade came out of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and though the Kings have a policy that we do not respond to rumors or un-sourced reporting about the Kings, it should be pretty clear that the Kings have no plans to trade Anze Kopitar to another team and hope is that he remains in a Kings uniform for a long, long time. Also, since that rumor circulated, Meszaros has been dealt to the Tampa Bay Lightning, so you can consider that rumor extremely unlikely. For more on this, read the next mailbag question...
I have heard rumors that the Kings will not make the salary cap floor in 2008-09?
Arturo T., Glendale, CA
Thanks for the question Arturo. This is a pretty common misconception amongst Kings fans. Lombardi addressed that as well as the rumored Kopitar trade in a recent article by Craig Constance for The Sporting News last month. Here is a quick segment:
"When rumors started swirling that he might need to deal Kopitar just to reach the salary cap floor this season, well, that wasn't even funny. "That is so absurd," the Los Angeles Kings G.M. told Sporting News. "That is dumber than the three-way deal." According to NHLSCAP.com, the Kings are about $11 million under the required salary cap floor of $40.7 million. That has fueled speculation that Los Angeles is in the mix to take on bloated salaries. Lombardi would like that speculation to stop. "There's a very good reason we're right where I want to be," Lombardi said. "This is actually how you build a team under a salary cap system. This is exactly how you manage your payroll when you're in our situation. Lombardi said the Kings are trying to get long-term deals done with Kopitar and young defenseman Jack Johnson, ideally before the start of the season. Both are scheduled to be restricted free agents after this season. "We're going to try and sign these guys right now," he said. "But we're going to do it in a way so they can all fit together. You have a limited time frame under this system." So how will they get to the salary cap floor? Lombardi said that bonuses for guys like Johnson, Drew Doughty and Kopitar will get them close and he still has to sign current restricted free agents Jarret Stoll (agreed to terms on Sept. 4) and Patrick O'Sullivan. The salary floor is a nonissue, he promised. "What I see now is potential. We have to bring that around properly," he said. "It's about getting players in the system at the right place and right time. But we have a chance to be really good."
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 email@example.com.