The Los Angeles Kings have an interesting, if not unusual conundrum. Where will all their new players line up? It’s an interesting question, and one that Kings fans have deliberated for weeks now. With Terry Murray behind the bench, whatever lines are created are likely only temporary, since he likes to change his lines like a game of musical chairs. That said, there are some lines that look more likely than others.
On the first line, or what we’ll call 1A, my best guess is that Anze Kopitar will keep his spot as the lead center. Certainly a case could be made that Mike Richards is more of a #1 center, and he clearly has more experience in the role, but Kopitar’s dedication to the team, and the fact that he’s shown himself to be capable of executing Terry Murray’s vision means he’ll likely keep the spot, at least in name. That puts Mike Richards as the #2 center. The top two centers are as close to set in stone as can be, assuming no injuries. But what about the wingers?
The top four wingers are likely to be Dustin Penner, Simon Gagne, Justin Williams and Dustin Brown. In what combination is a somewhat bigger question. The immediate inclination is to have Gagne suit up on the left next to Richards, since they have pre-existing chemistry, which puts Penner on the first line with Kopitar. On the right, perhaps the biggest question remains. Dustin Brown has certainly played with Kopitar fairly extensively over the past several years, but I get the sense that Terry Murray will try to recapture the string of good games when Penner played with Kopitar and Williams, leaving Brown to play with Richards and Gagne on line 2 (1B).
But what about the bottom six?
Frankly… who knows. The bottom six is where most of the surprises usually occur. Rookies can surprise in camp, Murray can decide he likes Westgarth regardless of who outplays him on the ice, just about anything can happen. That said, I’d say it’s likely that Stoll, Richardson, Lewis, Clifford and Parse have roster spots that are theirs for the taking. That means only one real opening, with Loktionov the leading candidate to take that spot. How those six line up is going to be a big question, and one that the next few weeks will have us explore in more detail. For now, my initial thought is to have them suit up like this:
Clifford – Stoll – Lewis
Richardson – Loktionov – Parse
What do you think? Where are they going to end up? Who’s the surprise? Seeing somebody other than Loktionov making the squad out of camp?
Topics: Andrei Loktionov, Anze Kopitar, Brad Richardson, Dustin Brown, Dustin Penner, Jarrett Stoll, Justin Williams, Kyle Clifford, Los Angeles Kings, Mike Richards, Scott Parse, Simon Gagne, Terry Murray, Trevor Lewis