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09-29-2003, 09:39 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Studio City
Country: United States
Posts: 3,974
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New Here, First Post, My Take...

I've been addicted to LGK for a while, and never actually crossed over to a second message board. A friend of mine suggested I read some of the threads, and I realized there were some quality posts/posters that were worth checking out.

I think this is going to be another tough season for the Kings, and I think we are going to see a revolving door of fringe players, not unlike last year. This year however, it may be more performance related than injury related, as because we have so much more depth at each position, the coaching staff and DT may decide to be a little quicker with the trigger finger when the Manchester shuttle begins its run between California and New Hampshire.

You'll see three goaltenders in a Kings uniform this season: Cechmanek, Huet and Hnilicka... RC and CH will most probably start the season as 1-2, but expect MH to get a call once in a while when it's time to get CH some more work, and get sharp after sitting on the bench for long stretches.

On defense there are about 10 to 12 guys who will end up having at least a cup of Starbucks with the big club. That's actually either a lot or too many, depending on if your coffee cup is half empty or half full! Guys like Muir and Holland will get the occasional game in when the club needs a guy with experience, and guys like Corvo, Strbak, Gleason, Zizka, Grebeshkov and Kuznetzov will alternately have spells of solid play and youthful (and NHL) inexperience and inconsistency. The core of Norstrom, Modry, Miller and Visnovsky will need to stay healthy to avoid long stretches of play from any of the "depth guys." So far, two of the four have missed enough time in training camp to make you wonder if we're going to see more of Gleason and Strbak than we should. Both could be NHL caliber, but neither are probably NHL ready. A year in Manchester would be a blessing. Throw Brad Norton into the mix, but remember he's only played about 30 NHL games (Fla and LA) at defense, and last year the team questioned his ability (foot speed) to play the position at the NHL level.

Up front, we know the big question marks... Deader and Ally.... deader than ever? or Alive and thriving? Time will tell, but unless you look good in blue... don't hold your breath through October... (or November...) Ziggy, Luc, Frolov, Armstrong, Belanger, Lappy, Klatt, Avery and Stumpel are pretty much a given, with slots 10-12 being fought for by a number of marginal guys. Jon Sim, Jerrod Smithson, Lubos Bartecko, Ryan Flinn, Kip Brennan, Brad Chartrand, and Esa Pirnes are all in camp, and hanging by a thread. We know one of Flinn and/or Brennan will break camp with the big club, but not both. We have to assume that the rest all believe they have a reason to be here, but that the majority of them will start the year with Manchester. Throw in injured Mike Cammalleri, who probably would have started the season on a line with Robitaille and Armstrong, had he not found himself sidelined for the first month of the season, and add the youthful exhuberance of first round draft choice Dustin Brown, and you have a large mix of forwards vying for the remaining ice time. Strong Manchester showings by veterans like Steve Kelly and Pavel Rosa, or youngsters like Noah Clarke and Yanick Lehoux could also keep the Manchester shuttle hopping. These are all players who could find themselves dressing for a Kings game if management wants to shake the club up.

Of course there are two wildcard scenarios that might change the contents of the photograph:

1. The Waiver Draft
2. A trade immediately prior to or immediately after The Waiver Draft.

Don't count the Kings out of making a move as they inch towards opening night, knowing that their team's chemical imbalance is hinging on the medical fortunes of two of their biggest stars. You can't replace Jason Allison and Adam Deadmarsh in the waiver draft, but you can certainly look around and see who might need a small package of players out of the aforementioned kids that sit on a precarious bubble in Kingsland.

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