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Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality

Welcome to the Neno's Place!

Neno's Place Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality


Neno

I can be reached by phone or text 8am-7pm cst 972-768-9772 or, once joining the board I can be reached by a (PM) Private Message.

Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality

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Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality

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    Los Angeles Kings

    jedi17
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    Los Angeles Kings Empty Los Angeles Kings

    Post by jedi17 Mon 13 Feb 2017, 5:51 pm

    Why Not Brodzinski or Kempe?; Setoguchi Waived; Importance of "Fit"
    February 12, 2017, 11:16 PM ET [13 Comments]
    Sheng Peng
    Los Angeles Kings La Los Angeles Kings Blogger • RSS • Archive • CONTACT


    Last Thursday saw an unusual sight -- grinder Andy Andreoff skating next to Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik on a scoring line. This begged the question -- with no disrespect to the hard-working Andreoff -- why didn't the Kings call up a more skilled prospect like Jonny Brodzinski or Adrian Kempe to flank Kopitar instead?

    One reason we all know, agree or not -- Los Angeles organizational philosophy is generally to incubate prospects for as long as possible. Throwing Brodzinski or Kempe out next to Kopitar and telling them to score is A LOT of pressure.

    The obvious response to that, especially concerning AHL All-Star Brodzinski, who is ahead of Kempe in terms of development, is you don't know what you've got until you try it.

    But fans often forget the flipside of such thinking. It's a real risk: That hot shot prospect you call up can hurt you more with his inexperience in a game than an Andreoff. Again, the margin of error is thin for the Kings right now. A veteran grinder like an Andreoff, Kyle Clifford, Trevor Lewis, Dwight King, Jordan Nolan, etc., may not move the needle much, but Darryl Sutter believes they're less likely to hurt the team in a contest.

    And if you think that's being too cautious -- remember how much forwards Tanner Pearson, Michael Mersch, Andy Andreoff, Dwight King, Nick Shore, and to some degree, even Tyler Toffoli struggled during their first cup of coffees in Los Angeles. Only the exceptionally-talented Toffoli would probably have been considered surely "NHL-ready" in his first NHL go-around among this group.

    More often than not, the hot shot prospect of the week is the most popular guy in town a la the backup quarterback -- until you see how he reacts to big-league pressure.

    Personally, I'd prefer a higher-ceiling option like a Brodzinski be given a look, but I understand where Los Angeles is coming from with their caution. It's not as if they're holding back a Connor McDavid-like sure thing.

    ***

    I like Devin Setoguchi. Beyond the inspiring comeback -- I believe there might still be a rock-solid top-nine scorer in him.

    Some of the more favorable underlying stats: The winger sported a +1.41 5v5 Corsi For % Relative to Team. His 3.09 5v5 Individual Scoring Chances/60 was fourth up front. He's also just one of four LA forwards with a positive penalty differential (Pearson +11, Kopitar +10, Setoguchi +4, Brown +2) -- a testament to his persistence with the puck.

    But the fact is, he simply wasn't scoring enough for somebody counted on for some production. Indeed, he got his scoring chances, but like many a King, his conversion rate was unsightly. To me, he always seemed just an inch off, a half-step away from securing his spot with the Kings. 

    There's still some skill there, for sure:



    Unfortunately, he never made up the gap in the 45 games LA gave him. Maybe he never will. At 30, his prime might have passed him by.

    But best wishes to Devin! Remember that the Kings gave him a chance on opening night -- and throughout the season -- because he earned it. They saw the same potential that I did.

    It would surprise me -- but it wouldn't shock -- if the crafty forward discovers what's missing in his game soon enough.

    ***

    As the Trade Deadline looms, a word you're going to hear around Los Angeles a lot is "fit."

    For the Kings, a couple recent key acquisitions up front missed that mark: Kris Versteeg and Teddy Purcell. Hopefully, this Deadline will bring better fits for this scoring-starved team.

    Versteeg was picked up last Deadline for ex-top prospect Valentin Zykov. Despite actually providing energy and goals, he couldn't crack LA's top-nine. His 10:53 ATOI in LA was behind Dustin Brown, Trevor Lewis, Dwight King, Vincent Lecavalier, and Nick Shore last season.

    Purcell was signed during the summer to offset the loss of Milan Lucic. Despite five-plus years as a reliable top-nine playmaker, he got 12 games before being shuttled off to Ontario.

    Neither Versteeg nor Purcell appear to be any less the player they were purported to be when Los Angeles acquired them -- if you trust Versteeg's current contributions to the Calgary Flames or Purcell's dominance of the AHL -- they simply failed to gain Sutter's trust, despite their clear attributes.

    So what does that mean for this Deadline? Los Angeles -- with few assets they can afford to trade and battling for a wild card -- owns a very thin margin of error. Trading for a Versteeg or Purcell, only to see them languish on the bench, won't do.

    And no, Sutter isn't going anywhere. So Dean Lombardi has to be sure to upgrade LA's scoring ability with somebody his coach will use. Not that such a player is easy to acquire, but if Lombardi manages to achieve that, we've seen that lead to some winning postseason hockey.

    So picking through hot Kings trade rumors -- Thomas Vanek? Evander Kane? I think there's a legitimate question of "fit" with these talented forwards. How committed are these wingers to two-way hockey? To a north-south shot mentality? How will they adjust to a veteran Kings locker room?

    On the other hand, Gabriel Landeskog and Martin Hanzal seem like strong "fits," but their cost will probably be prohibitive for Los Angeles.

    With a bare cupboard and recent whiffs in mind, I'm guessing that Lombardi is a more cautious gambler than usual this Deadline.

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