The Fansided NHL Network, that SenShot is proud to be a member of, is embarking on its NHL preview. Each day in September, one of its members will be posting a preview for their club. SenShot will look at their preview, and let you have a look. After that, we will provide our own perspective. Jared will handle the Western Conference teams while Tony will look at the East.
Today, its the LA Kings:
For years, the LA Kings have pursued almost every top flight free agent available with no success. This off-season GM Dean Lombardi didn’t wait for free agency and pulled the trigger to get his man, Mike Richards, from Philadelphia. The cost was his top prospect, Brayden Schenn and forward Wayne Simmonds (plus a 2nd round pick next summer). That was the prize acquisition in a summer that saw a major tweaking to the look of the roster.
Rink Royalty’s Gavin Humes previewed the Kings season on their site this morning:
The Los Angeles Kings head into this coming season with high expectations. In fact, this season is the first in quite a while where the Kings and their fans are perfectly justified in their optimism. Last season’s strong performances were derailed in the playoffs when they encountered a San Jose Sharks team looking to shed their “choker” label, and without their star forward, Anze Kopitar, lost to a brutal injury near the end of the season. Despite the loss, and the fact that the Kings ran into a strong San Jose team, they performed quite well, and converting on an important power play near the end of Game 6 might have turned the entire series on its head.This season is a whole new story. What do we have to look forward to in Los Angeles? Let’s consider what 2011-2012 has in store for the Kings:
Coaching – Terry Murray has led this team for the past three seasons, and this will be his fourth. Despite providing strong, stable leadership, Murray has been criticized, sometimes rightly, for a tendency to change lines like it’s going out of style. One theory on the game of hockey is that players need to develop chemistry together, and playing together consistently can give players the chance to predict where players are heading. That theory, while probably holding some merit, doesn’t hold water in my mind. Professional hockey players are paid big money because they have the ability to work with a wide variety of other players. No matter which perspective you take, Kings fans are sure to have to ponder the “what ifs” for at least one more season. A season filled with line-changes and rotating partnerships. In general, Murray is a good fit for the team. He’s a stable presence for the younger players, he doesn’t rock the boat, and he has familiarity with even the new players brought in from Philadelphia.
YOU CAN FIND THE REST OF GAVIN’S PREVIEW HERE
SENSHOT’S VIEW OF THE KINGS
Give Lombardi credit, after much futility in search of a star player, his persistance paid off with the addition of Mike Richards and Simon Gagne. If you look at the Kings roster, they have built a solid team in every slot. They have scorers in scoring positions, and good role players where they are required. The blue line could use another top talent, however,because after Jack Johnson and Drew Doughty there isn’t much offensive punch. In net, the tandem of the two Jonathans, Quick and Bernier, is among the best pair in the league.
After spending 6 straight seasons on the outside looking in come playoff time, the Kings have made the post-season for the last 2 seasons. However, they were ousted in the first round each time. With Mike Richards and Anze Kopitar up the middle, and the depth that surrounds them, they are pretty much a lock to make the playoffs. You can bet that they are now ready to take the next step and make some noise once they get there.
Check back here tomorrow when we preview the Minnesota Wild and their upcoming season.
**Don’t forget to get your Tickets for SenShot’s Alfie Night in Ottawa on November 11th, 2011. Early Bird tickets are still available for a limited time. Click here for more details**
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