Saturday, September 8, 2007

2007-08 Preseason Foreplay: Los Angeles Kings

Another gem from Lets Go Kings. If you're wondering, that's Anze Kopitar.
Quick hits
Odds for the folks at gambler's anonymous

Over/under on the number of goaltenders that will make a start for the Kings this season: 3.5. If you were not scoring at home, the Kings used five net minders last season.

20 to 1: The Kings finish ahead of Anaheim in the Pacific Division.

5 to 1: John Buccigross denounces Hakan Loob and anoints Yutaka Fukufuji as the best name in hockey history.

Obligatory serious analysis

Let's face it, things can't get much worse in the City of Angels than they were last year. The Kings had an ungodly amount of goaltender injuries and turmoil, they finished with the third worst point total in the NHL and the cross-state rival Anaheim Ducks won the whole shebang. That's the good news in Los Angeles this summer; it probably can't get any worse.

After three years of increasing point totals, the Kings took a step back last year and finished with only 68 points. They made a number of serious summer acquisitions, including Michal Handzus, Landislav Nagy, Kyle Calder, Tom Preissing, Brad Stuart and J.S. Aubin. When healthy, all of these players can make solid contributions to a team. The key words in that sentence, and for the Kings' season; 'when healthy'. The Kings had last season derailed due to injury problems, and keeping Handzus and Stuart healthy is no sure thing. Those two combined to play all of 35 games last season, which makes those signings a risky proposition. They are both great players... when healthy.

As for Aubin, he certainly does help not clear up the Kings' goal tending situation. Aubin was stellar in very limited time two seasons ago in Toronto, posting a 2.28 GAA and a 9-0-0 record. Last year, Aubin posted a 3-5-0 record with a miserably 3.34 GAA in limited action as the Leafs' back up. The story is the same for Dan Cloutier and Jason Labarbera. Both have been solid goalies in the past, but have been anything but in the last few seasons. The departure of Mathieu Garon alleviates some of the back log, but with Cloutier and Labarbera still rostered, and both are up to the task of standing between the pipes as well or better than Aubin, nothing is certain. That's going to be the main issue for the Kings; can any one their three net minders regain their old form?

Prediction: The Kings made a nice splash in free agency and have a plethora of young, talented forwards. Their offense should be fun to watch this year, but they have serious issues in goal and they already have a very weak defense that lost Aaron Miller (ok, that's not saying too much) this summer. I see them finishing no higher than 11th, probably in the 12th slot.

The best looking ice girls in Los Angeles
I mean... Jeez.

Previous Editions of Preseason Foreplay

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