Purcell & Moulson
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03-16-2012, 12:50 PM
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Parts Unknown
I'll add this about Purcell and Moulson (and touch on another player, Jason Blake). The turn of events for Purcell was unforeseen. Early on he was put in a top six role, playing his off-wing on a line with Stoll and Brown, but of course when the line went through a dry spell, Purcell was the easy target and was shifted around and put in various roles that limited his skills. Purcell was a very timid player who looked like he was afraid of his own shadow.
Purcell provided absolutely nothing on the Kings, and much of it could be blamed on the fact that he was miscast on a team that expected him to be a player he wasn't: one who was going to grind it out in the corners and be defensively responsible. He looked like a player who was afraid of making mistakes, and so when the Kings sought some veteran help at the deadline, they moved a player who was deemed expendable. Purcell wasn't going to help the Kings out in their stretch run and it appears that they had other young forwards likely pegged ahead of him (namely Parse and Moller).
As for Matt Moulson, I really am puzzled as to why the Kings didn't attempt to retain him when he became a Group VI free agent. I thought he worked well in the short amount of time he played in. He was playing on a line with Handzus and Frolov, once again, a line whose primary responsibility was to be the top checking unit. Moulson seemed to know where to position himself to find the puck and I think if you look at his production given his ice time with the Kings, he was actually looking like a player who could perform at this level. This was when they first brought him up in his rookie season in 2007-08. He was sparsely used the following season, only appearing in 7 games. And that was that with Moulson.
I don't think they ever gave him a fair shot to make it. He's now had three consecutive seasons in which he scored 30 or more goals. That's a tough pill to swallow and once again, we can attribute Terry Murray and his stubborn use of talent for letting this player get away.
The reason I wanted to bring up Jason Blake in this discussion is that similar to Purcell and Moulson, he was put in a position that he was destined to fail. After an impressive debut with the Kings (scoring in his first NHL game), the Kings stuck him on the fourth line for much of his career with the Kings. They promptly dealt him to the Islanders in 2001 for a 5th round pick. The Kings thought he was undersized and didn't think he worked well as a fourth line forward, and guess what, that's not the type of player he is. The following season with the Islanders, Blake would go on to net 25 goals and 55 points. He'd end up scoring 20-plus goals in four consecutive seasons with the Islanders, scoring as high as 40 goals in his last season with the team before departing as a free agent and signing with the Leafs.
While management takes the brunt of the blame for letting these players go, you have to take into consideration the position these managers were in due to the way their coaches used their talent. Purcell and Jason Blake had little to no value as a result of their miscast roles. Moulson wasn't a sought after free agent due to the way he was used in LA. Believe me, if he was highly sought after when he left the Kings, he would have received more lucrative offers. They moved on to better opportunities where those clubs can afford to put them in a more prolific role and in a position for them to succeed. They were not going to receive those same opportunities with the Kings.
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