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Rested Kings ready to resume quest for Cup

by Curtis Zupke

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- A longer than usual offseason led to some significant changes for the Los Angeles Kings and players eager to get back to chasing the Stanley Cup.

"I think everyone's really excited to get the year going," defenseman Alec Martinez said at a community event Thursday. "This has obviously been a really long summer, way too long. This was actually the first time in my career that I've ever had this long of a summer. That's frustrating, but you can look at it as an opportunity for some of us to heal up a little bit."

The Kings played 64 playoff games the previous three seasons, winning the Stanley Cup twice. This season, their final game was April 11, missing a Western Conference playoff berth by two points.

"I think [captain Dustin Brown] touched on it, the past three or four years, basically when we're done in mid-June, you can't start training until maybe the beginning of July, mid-July," Martinez said. "You're just using those two months to just kind of catch up and get back to square one. This is … an opportunity to not just get back to square one but to build on some things. Get stronger, faster, healthier for some guys. I think it's been good so far."

The Kings had extra rest following their 2012 championship because the following season was delayed until January. This was the first time since 2009 Los Angeles missed the playoffs.

Right wing Tyler Toffoli played for Canada in the 2015 IIHF World Championship, where it won the gold medal.

"It was good for me to stay with it and play as long I could considering we missed the playoffs," Toffoli said. "It's been a good break and we're all rested and ready to go."

The Kings will be without forward Justin Williams, who signed with the Washington Capitals as a free agent. Los Angeles also has not re-signed center Jarret Stoll and terminated the contract of center Mike Richards. The status of suspended defenseman Slava Voynov is unclear, and defenseman Robyn Regehr retired.

"It's hard," Toffoli said. "It's a business. You never want to see a guy leave. The past couple of years we haven't really had a big change, but this year it's going to be a little different seeing some of the guys who left. But guys have to step up and take on big roles."

The Kings also traded backup goalie Martin Jones to the Boston Bruins for left wing Milan Lucic.

"We need a big guy like that," Toffoli said of Lucic (6-foot-3, 235 pounds). "I don't think we did a very good job last year of getting in front of goalies and scoring dirty goals. And I think that's what he does best. I think him coming here, he'll fit in really well with the guys."

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