May 10, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings center Tyler Toffoli (73) and St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (22) go for the puck in the first period of game six of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Chutes and Ladders: Los Angeles Kings

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

 

June 11, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky (12) is checked by Los Angeles Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell (33) during the first period of game six of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Images of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Tags: Los Angeles Kings Tyler Toffoli Willie Mitchell

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