Over the next few days, I will be looking at each team in the NHL and identifying a couple of players in particular that fit into one of two categories based on the once popular kids game, Chutes and Ladders. The players in the “chutes” category will be players who exceeded expectations last season, and will have a difficult time avoiding a slide in the coming season. The “ladder” category will consist of players who are ready to climb a level in their play and step up a notch. Feel free to brows back to see previous teams, and look for more teams in the coming days.
LOS ANGELES KINGS
Chutes: Willie Mitchell – After being such a key part of the Kings’ Stanley Cup win, Mitchell’s career may be over, at least in LA. He was essentially replaced at the trade deadline with Robyn Regehr, who they signed to a contract extension. The Kings might prefer to keep Mitchell on LTIR and save his $3.5M cap hit.
Ladders: Tyler Toffoli – By letting Dustin Penner go, the Kings essentially opened up a spot in their top 6 for last season’s AHL rookie of the year. Toffoli made a huge impact in the playoffs on mostly a 4th line role, chipping in some key goals. He showed he is ready to play in the NHL full time and has the potential to do some serious damage if the Kings put the former Ottawa 67′s standout on a line with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.