4/20/2007 11:43:57 AM
The rebuilding process is well underway in Southern California yet there is still work to be done by general manager Dean Lombardi before the Kings can think playoffs.
Off-Season Game Plan looks at the progress of the Los Angeles Kings and what they could do this summer to further their development.
While the Kings certainly don't have an abundance of talent, they are starting to compile a decent young roster.
The good news starts up front with holdovers Alexander Frolov and Mike Cammalleri, who have both developed into front-line NHLers, and Anze Kopitar, who had a tremendous rookie season. A lot of the league's rebuilding teams don't have such talent at their disposal.
Another scorer or two would help the Kings take the next step, but it's also reasonable to think that the continued improvement of young players will be enough to help the Kings mount more offence next season.
"I don't think we're close to being satisfied with where we want to be," head coach Marc Crawford told the LA Daily News, "but a lot of building blocks have been put in place. It's easy to see where the core of our team is."
On defence, the Kings are anchored by veterans Rob Blake and Lubomir Visnovsky, but the future has also arrived with the presence of Jack Johnson, the highly touted prospect from the University of Michigan.
Beyond that threesome, however, there are definitely needs for physical, stay-at-home types to give the Kings more of a defensive backbone.
There have already been rumours about the Kings hooking up with Brad Stuart, who played for Lombardi in San Jose, but there are other possibilities on the free agent market too. Current Sharks Scott Hannan and Craig Rivet or Greg de Vries and Andy Sutton of the Thrashers would provide the kind of physical presence that would surely help the Kings.