Before the season started, I read some speculation here that Lappy was going to be replaced by Avery after this season (because Lappy will be a UFA I believe and it was expected that Avery could do Lappy's job). I wasn't of that opinion at the time and I'm still not. I thought Laperriere was playing his best offensive season in quite some time before the concussion and not to mention he's one of the most popular Kings and a leader for the Kings. There's that and there's also the fact that Avery takes a lot of stupid penalties. Plus Avery has a poor rep with the refs apparently and gets called for some penalties that aren't penalties. I really don't see Avery replacing what Laperriere brings to the Kings any time soon, but maybe that's just me. Is that still the popular opinion among Kings fans?
Personally, I'd love to see the Kings let him walk and then have the Blues sign him for a fraction of what Drake makes.
My opinion has changed since the season began. Lappy and Avery have played very well together, and along with Belanger they create a very good energy line. They cycle down low very well and and take some of the offensive pressure off of the top lines.
Instead of playing the exact same role Lappy seems to have shifted his game to a more offensive, forecheck oriented, mentor type of player, while Avery is taking over the instigator duties.
Avery is also adding some solid point production and while I love Lappy and have since I first saw him, Avery is a hated dog around the league by other teams and I think that feeds everyone. Hockey is a sport where you want to beat the other team. Forget the respect and like eachother on a field of friendly competition. I like the idea that it is a war where we want to win it and if the other team doesn't like it then they can go piss. Avery brings that edge that Lappy used to have is some areas and never had in others. I love Lappy and hope that we can find a way to keep them both. I just think that Avery could fill his shoes only in a bit different of a manner.