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Royal News from LA

Post by kuulapaa » Tue Apr 25, 2017 5:51 pm


November 14th 2016

After an unexpectedly poor start to the season Los Angeles Kings hired veteran GM Mart Kuula in the end of October. It may be too early to say anything about new GM's impact to Kings' playing but statistically there has been some good signs in their games lately. They have started shooting more, they have the puck more and they get less penalties than earlier in the season. Right now they have some key players on short-term injuries (Pearson, Doughty) but all in all it looks like the mix-up in their system has been passed.

Only action concerning players contracted to the team this far has been that Kuula put RW Trevor Lewis on the waivers. He was then claimed by the Panthers. GM Kuula also brought up veteran RD Matt Greene and young LW Michael Mersch to fill in the injuries. There's a trading block published from the Kings too but there's no major names on it and it seems that the new GM still feels they have chances to make it into the playoffs. If not, one would most probably see Gaborik's name on that list.

Current lineup

I Gaborik Kopitar Toffoli
II Mersch Carter Setoguchi
III King Andreoff Brown
IV Clifford Shore Purcell

I Muzzin Martinez
II McNabb Gilbert
III Forbort Greene


Injured: Drew Doughty (2 weeks, a hip flexor strain), Tanner Pearson (day-to-day, a chest injury).

Next three games: Flyers@PHI (Nov 15th), Red Wings@DET (Nov 18th) and Hurricanes@CAR (Nov 20th).

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Disasters and sad pandas in Shaky Town

Post by kuulapaa » Wed May 24, 2017 10:51 pm

March 2nd 2017

The ongoing season has been a difficult one for the Los Angeles Kings in many ways. The organization has had two GM's, the team lost it's star player and captain Anze Kopitar (and a few other core players too) and they have struggled badly for nearly whole of the season. The Kings roster starting the season was good enough to clearly make the playoffs and with some precision trades even to be one of the contenders but it didn't turn quite that way.

Now, as the last quarter of the regular season has started Mickey Riley had an opportunity to interview the Kings GM mr. Mart Kuula for the first time in his tenure.

Q: How would you describe the team's situation and mode right now? It seems that you're not in a rebuild mode but you have moved many pivotal members of the team after your arrival.

A: The situation is not good, that I have to admit. We are breaking in a new system which is quite natural move when a lot of core players leave the team and new and different ones come in. But for some reason it is quite hard now, the team is losing a lot of games and scoring too little goals. There's a lot of discontent in the air. But what comes to the mode of the team, I'll call it as a readjustment. We had to move some players but we also wanted to keep some of them. Now we are in a point where we, by doing some smart moves in the draft and during the offseason, can be quite competitive when the new season starts and in a few years we should be ready for anything.

Q: There has been rumours that the Kings board is not satisfied with your work. What do you think of that?

A: Frankly my dear, I don't give a darn. I'm sorry, I just have been waiting for so long to get to say that... Anyways, I can't sit here worrying that they don't like me. I just have to go out there and try harder. It's just like with me and Nicklas Bäckström – he knows I'm not happy with his performance and he tries his best in the next game and in the next shift.

Q: What was your reason to start dismantling the Kings? Every move you have done has been a downgrade to the current talent level.

A: A downgrade? Hold your horses! I gave in to say our situation is not good but I'm not going to sit here opposite to you and listen when you say I'm doing bad deals! We did three deals. In the first one I sent Anze to Washington. That was a sad day but I was forced to do it, his contract was way too big... wrong, it was so enormous we needed to get rid of it. But we got Nicke Bäckström in return for him and he is in many ways as good player as Anze – and in some areas he is even better. In that deal we also received a pair of decent picks that we are going to use wisely and a young winger Stanislav Galiev who just joined the Kings in order to adjust to the team for the next season – as well as another recent acquisition, Anatoly Golyshev. Moving Jake (Muzzin) for Calvin (De Haan) and getting a 1st there was not actually a downgrade either. Calvin is not as talented as Jake, that's obvious. But he may be more suitable for our purposes in future and then there's the pick that should bring us another piece to the puzzle.

Q: You didn't say anything about the Carter move.

A: I don't have anything to say about the Carter move. Carter move doesn't look so good, at least as long as Nelson keeps playing like... Well, playing the way he does now. Moving Carter away hurt our 2nd line badly, Mathieu (Perreault) has stagnated after Carter left. But we just have to pick our play up and move on. We still have a bunch of great players and the additions aren't all that bad either.

Q: You started your tenure as the Kings GM in quite a turbulent way. There were actually two big trades that got reversed, what is your sight to them?

A: The first one was a big trade, it was a monster blockbuster. I negotiated it fast and was willing to do it partly because I saw that the team was not playing well and it was losing the chance to get in the playoffs. I tried to fix the team quickly in order to jump back into the playoff train before it was too late. That deal got vetoed though so the train left us. Then I took another approach to our team structure and tried to do some deals. I managed to move Anze and ended up moving Jake and Jeff too. Now I think it is time to start looking at the players that are getting in the Kings and making us a better combination come next season.

Q: You are talking about players staying and leaving and such. Can you say who are still leaving the team in the end of the season and who's going to stay?

A: Well there's a bunch of veteran players that are leaving, names like Peter Budaj, Tom Gilbert, Dwight King, Teddy Purcell, Rob Scuderi and Devin Setoguchi. Then there is a few younger players that are not needed either, players like Andrew Crescenzi and Nic Dowd. To replace them we are looking forward especially for the UFA period to start but of course we are also looking at any trade possibility available.
And who's gonna stay? That I can't say for sure. For this long we have kept Jonathan, Drew, Alec, Tanner and Tyler but if someone makes a great offer or if the team can't pick up their game any of them may move too. Not only ice hockey but also team managing is a reaction game.

Q: What are your plans considering to the coming draft?

A: My plans are to go there, pick a few prospects, trade a pick or two and get waisted in a cheap hotel lounge bar. No, seriously, I haven't received and compiled all of the scouting reports so I don't know what I'm after. We have holes all over the prospect pool so I guess I'll just take the BPA way. And then get waisted.

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Season 2017-18 starts

Post by kuulapaa » Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:19 pm


Tue Oct 31st 2017

A review to the new season: One month gone, seven more to go

The Los Angeles Kings had a rough start to the regular season 2017-18. Four straight losses after a come and go preseason games and everyone was thinking that the last season repeats to the Kings. The leading players like Drew Doughty, Nicklas Bäckström and Tyler Toffoli have been lost and not producing much. Newcoming goalkeeper Craig Anderson gave a few promising performances in the exhibition games but couldn't keep it on when the real games started. The staff has been changing lines and tactics and little by little it starts to show: when the first six games were 1-5-0, the next six has been 4-2-0. The Kings is still one of the worst teams in the conference what comes to the special teams, especially the power play wasn't clicking for a while – it was only in the eighth game in the season when we scored the first PP goal of the season.

Surprisingly the best producing line this far has been the Kings 3rd line, Marian Gáborík – Mathieu Perreault – Joel Armia. Adding the young Finn that was acquired from the Winnipeg Jets in last June beside the duo of Gáborík and Perreault that had a great chemistry in the past season too has brought us 15 goals of the total of 40 goals the team has scored this far. Luckily enough in the last games the 1st and the 2nd line has started to show more too.

The LA roster changed a lot during the 2016-17 season, we sent away a couple of our brightest stars but the players added are not too bad either. Out of the seven defensemen in the lineup only three were there a year ago but I see that the defense is now more balanced and more defensive too. De Haan, Demers, Sproul and Quincey have all settled well into our system and the geling is on the way. In the offense there was not so many changes but moving our top two centers including star playmaker Anze Kopitar were not minor tweakings. And last but not least, moving Jonathan Quick may have harmed most the Kings ability to compete now, but we're glad to see that Marcus Högberg who came our way in the Quick deal has already climbed second in our goalie ranking.

[table][tr][td][/td][td]Goalies[/td][td]Dmen[/td][td]LW[/td][td]C[/td][td]RW[/td][td]- -[/td][td]Prospects[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]1[/td][td]C. Anderson[/td][td]D. Doughty (C)[/td][td]T. Pearson[/td][td]N. Bäckström (A)[/td][td]T. Toffoli[/td][td]- -[/td][td]LW/RW A. Kempe[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]2[/td][td]M. Högberg[/td][td]C. De Haan[/td][td]M. Gáborík[/td][td]M. Backlund[/td][td]D. Brown[/td][td]- -[/td][td]G M. Högberg[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]3[/td][td]J. Zatkoff[/td][td]A. Martinez[/td][td]A. Kempe (r)[/td][td]M. Perreault[/td][td]A. Dergachyov (r)[/td][td]- -[/td][td]C/LW N. Prokhorkin[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]4[/td][td]P. Bartosák[/td][td]J. Demers[/td][td]M. Mersch[/td][td]N. Shore[/td][td]D. Setoguchi[/td][td]- -[/td][td]LD Kale Clague[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]5[/td][td]J. Campbell[/td][td]R. Sproul[/td][td]A. Golyshev[/td][td]A. Andreoff[/td][td]J. Armia[/td][td]- -[/td][td]G M. DiPietro[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]6[/td][td]M. DiPietro[/td][td]B. McNabb[/td][td]A. Wagner[/td][td]N. Dowd[/td][td]J. Nolan[/td][td]- -[/td][td]RW/C/LW A. Dergachyov[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]7[/td][td]R. Larkin[/td][td]K. Quincey[/td][td]K. Vesalainen[/td][td]N. Thompson (A)[/td][td]S. Watson[/td][td]- -[/td][td]LD/RD J. Välimäki[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]8[/td][td][/td][td]D. Forbort[/td][td]V. Tkachev[/td][td]N. Prokhorkin[/td][td]P. Bjørkstrand[/td][td]- -[/td][td]RD E. Cernak[/td][/tr][/table]

[tr][td]Gáborík[/td][td]12 GP[/td][td]7G[/td][td]6A[/td][td]+/- 7[/td][td]AvR 8.33[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Dergachyov[/td][td]4 GP[/td][td]2G[/td][td]2A[/td][td][/td][td]AvR 8.00[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Armia[/td][td]12 GP[/td][td]4G[/td][td]7A[/td][td][/td][td][/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Zatkoff[/td][td]4 GP[/td][td]3W[/td][td][/td][td][/td][td][/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Shore[/td][td]7 GP[/td][td]2 GWG[/td][td][/td][td][/td][td][/td][/tr][/table]- Gáborík's hot streak is no surprise as he was our best left winger also on last season
- Dergachyov's stats lie a little, he has scored his both goals as empty netters but... he's there and awake
- Armia is actually the most positive surprise of the season, his seasons in Jets were 43 GP/10 P and 56 GP/17 P so he's really on the pace for a season record
- Zatkoff played well last season too, now he seems to be the awakener of the team
- Shore stepped in to replace Andreoff who just didn't catch his game. Next we saw him scoring game winning goals in two consecutive wins

[tr][td]Andreoff[/td][td]5 GP[/td][td]0 P[/td][td]+/- -4[/td][td]SOG 1[/td][td]AvR 5.40[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Thompson[/td][td]12 GP[/td][td]2 P[/td][td]+/- -8[/td][td][/td][td]AvR 6.33[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Kempe[/td][td][/td][td][/td][td]+/- -8[/td][td][/td][td]AvR 6.50[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Anderson[/td][td]8 GP[/td][td]L 6[/td][td][/td][td][/td][td][/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Demers[/td][td]PIM 21[/td][td][/td][td][/td][td][/td][td][/td][/tr][/table]- Andreoff just was not there, at all
- Thompson's role is not an easy one, he's not there to score points but -8 is still quite not so good
- Kempe is a rookie playing a not-goal-scoring role, that may actually be destructive to his development. But that's how his atts are...
- Anderson hasn't stepped up a bit this far. Maybe he will, soon?
- Demers has played actually quite well. But his game misconduct with 3 game suspension puts him on this list now

The Kings is proceeding as planned and we're expecting to see us in the top 8 of the conference soon. As a part of our longer period plan the Kings signed three of our most promising youngsters, D Juuso Välimäki, D Kale Clague and W Kristian Vesalainen to entry level contracts. They all are going to join the team next off season.
This far there has not been too many injuries, only Dustin Brown caught a long time injury. For a brief moment I took it as a (cap) relief but then I realized that it would have been interesting to try and use him in our 2nd/3rd line. But now we'll need to figure out other options and Brown's opportunity is probably gone forever.

Trading block thoughts:
There has been a few players on the block like LD McNabb, LW/RW Mersch, RW Setoguchi and such. Now it is even remotely possible that the Kings could move the Doughty himself.

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Re: Royal News from LA

Post by kuulapaa » Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:43 pm

The Kings and the season 2018-19

Rewiev to the last season

The second season of the SBHL was even more disappointing and confusing to the Kings players, staff and fans than the season #1 was. With a player material that can be called at least decent the team failed to get even near the playoffs ending the season as the second last team in the Western Conference with a pitiful winning percentage of .366.

In the end of November when it started to see obvious that the Kings still isn't able to compete of a playoff spot the Kings' front office started to make deals preparing the organization to be ready for the next season. There was three trades completed in late November and other three took place before the Trade Deadline in February.

Trade #1
Kings traded Alec Martinez and Kings' 4th rnd pick in 2019 to Sabres for Jake McCabe. This deal raised some buzz within the fellow GM's but went through though. There was a slight overpayment from the Kings' side but McCabe proved quickly to be just the kind of player we had been looking for so I rate the deal with B+ for us.

Trade #2
Kings traded Marian Gáborík to Nucks for Frans Nielsen, Islanders' 2nd 2018 and Devils' 3rd 2018. Gabo is two years older than Nielsen but Nielsen had a year longer and 375k $ more expensive deal. The picks were essential in this deal, but Nielsen turned out to be quite a good bottom 6 center so the trade was good for us – esp when we see Gabo playing for Utica now. B.

Trade #3
Kings traded Devin Setoguchi to Sharks for Mikhail Grabovski, Hawks' 3rd 2018 and Stars' 4th 2018. We couldn't get anything out of Seto so we wanted to get rid of him. Sharks wanted him but they also wanted to get rid of Grabovski's contract. As the contract is only for this season, we were able to swallow it and got some picks as compensation. B+.

Trade #4
In early February the Kings traded the starting goaltender Craig Anderson to Pengs for Conor Sheary and Oilers' 2nd 2018. Anderson didn't perform anywhere near the level he was expected to so the front office saw it was time to move him. The return was not much but considering he was on a pending contract one couldn't expect too much. Sheary got himself a new contract though and the pick was a part in a latter deal that brought us an important player for the future. B+.

Trade #5
In the late February Kings traded Kings' 1st 2018 to Maple Leafs for Jordan Binnington and Maple Leafs' 1st 2018. This was a trade that got a lot of input. It is also a trade that can't be fully evaluated yet. Our gamble didn't work out as well as we hoped as the Maple Leafs managed to make it in the playoffs making their pick lower. On the positive side the Kings' 1st didn't win the lottery so the sole bright star of the draft Joe Veleno at least didn't end up in the Laffs. If Binnington makes it as the Kings starting goalie for the future this deal will show in a total different light. To be evaluated later.

Trade #6
Kings traded Brayden McNabb, Sens' 1st 2018 and Oilers' 2nd 2018 to Sharks for Marc-Edouard Vlasic. This was the last deal of the season for us. Vlasic wasn't resigning with the Sharks so they wanted to get something in return for him. McNabb was going to be the odd man out after the season so I was glad there was some value found for him. A late 1st and late 2nd were not too much to give for the talent of Vlasic. There was a clause in the deal that didn't go off as we signed him to a new deal before the draft. A.

We also lost Nate Thompson to waivers when the Canadiens picked him during the playoffs. That was not a hit as Nick Shore stood up during the season and took the #4 center spot from Thompson. There was still a year left of his contract so it was a relief that he was picked.
In addition to Thompson's 1,62 mill contract the Kings are also getting rid of Grabovski's 5,0 mill contract, Matt Greene's 2,5 mill contract, Jordan Nolan's 950 k contract and Jeff Zatkoff's 900 k contract. When the only significant salary raise that is taking place now is Vlasic's 2,5 mill it means the Kings should have over 11 millions of salary with which to operate in the FA. So we should be able to find us the player or two that we are looking for.

The coming season

[table][tr][td][/td][td]Goalies[/td][td]Dmen[/td][td]LW[/td][td]C[/td][td]RW[/td][td]- -[/td][td]Prospects[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]1[/td][td]J. Binnington[/td][td]D. Doughty (C)[/td][td]T. Pearson[/td][td]N. Bäckström (A)[/td][td]T. Toffoli[/td][td]- -[/td][td]G Jordan Binnington[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]2[/td][td]M. Högberg[/td][td]M. Vlasic[/td][td]A. Kempe[/td][td]M. Perreault[/td][td]A. Dergachyov[/td][td]- -[/td][td]G M. Högberg[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]3[/td][td]J. Campbell[/td][td]C. De Haan[/td][td]M. Mersch[/td][td]M. Backlund[/td][td]D. Brown[/td][td]- -[/td][td]LD Kale Clague[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]4[/td][td]P. Bartosák[/td][td]J. Demers[/td][td]C. Sheary[/td][td]N. Shore[/td][td]J. Armia[/td][td]- -[/td][td]G Michael DiPietro[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]5[/td][td]M. DiPietro[/td][td]J. McCabe[/td][td]A. Golyshev[/td][td]F. Nielsen[/td][td]S. Watson[/td][td]- -[/td][td]RD Erik Cernák[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]6[/td][td]R. Larkin[/td][td]R. Sproul[/td][td]K. Vesalainen[/td][td]N. Dowd[/td][td]M. Schmalz[/td][td]- -[/td][td]LD/RD Juuso Välimäki[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]7[/td][td][/td][td]K. Clague[/td][td]V. Tkachev[/td][td]A. Andreoff[/td][td]M. Luff[/td][td]- -[/td][td]LW/RW Kristian Vesalainen[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]8[/td][td][/td][td]E. Cernák[/td][td]A. Wagner[/td][td]M. Amadio[/td][td]P. Bjørkstrand[/td][td]- -[/td][td]C Luka Burzan[/td][/tr][/table]

As already noted the Kings' staff turned their eyes on the coming season quite early. Getting Vlasic was the most important trade for the instant success but the main question is will Binnington develop to a solid starting goalie or not. In the coming season Binn most likely can't bear the whole defense by himself so the team may need a veteran goalie to share Binnington's load and ensure his development. The other most important team needs are the 2nd line LW and some depth forwards.

There's three prospects that joined the team this summer, defensemen Kale Clague and Juuso Välimäki and winger Kristian Vesalainen. They all had quite impressive season – especially Clague and Vesalainen got a bunch of awards after the season. Already in the World Junior Championships in January Kale Clague was the Best Defenseman runner up and got named to the WJC All-Star Team. After the season he won Bill Hunter Trophy and WHL Star Player Award, was third placed in 2017/18 Canadian Player of the Year nominations, the runner up in the 2017/18 Canadian Defenceman of the Year nominations and got named in Canadian Hockey League All-Star Team. Välimäki was the runner up of the Bill Hunter Trophy and got named in Canadian Hockey League Second All-Star Team. Vesalainen's resume is even more impressive than Clague's: Red Tilson Trophy, OHL Best Forward Award, Emms Family Trophy, Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy, OHL Star Player Award, William Hanley Award runner up, Canadian Rookie of the Year, named in Canadian Hockey League All-Star Team, named in Canadian Hockey League Rookie All-Star Team, Fans Player of the Year. It'll be interesting to see how the players will continue their careers now but what comes to the next season it is quite obvious that only Clague may see some ice time in the Kings' team, the other two will continue to develop in the lower leagues for now.

The line-up for the season 2018/19 looks like this at the moment:

I T. Pearson – N. Bäckström – T. Toffoli
I M. Vlasic – D. Doughty
II A. Dergachyov – M. Perreault – J. Armia
II C. De Haan – J. Demers
III A. Kempe – M. Backlund – D. Brown
III J. McCabe – R. Sproul
IV C. Sheary – F. Nielsen – M. Mersch

GK J. Binnington (M. Högberg)

extra players: LD K. Quincey, C/RW N. Shore

The Los Angeles Kings Board and the whole organization waits for the coming season eagerly and with great confident. We see that our team has improved and will be ready to start the rise back amongst the playoff teams in the West.

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Review to the L.A. Kings drafting

Post by kuulapaa » Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:33 am


Thu Sep 13th 2018

I took a glimpse at Los Angeles Kings' drafting success during the last decade. When looking at the players that are under contract with us from the last ten drafts before this year's it doesn't look too good. We have to understand though that there are the glory years of the franchise when the Kings drafted late and that has some affect. But nevertheless, as a GM I need to aim for better results. And looking at the last draft of the list I'm allowed to expect them too.

[table][tr][td]Draft year[/td][td]Overall pick #[/td][td]Name[/td][td]Reputation[/td][td]Number of games in the Kings[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]2008[/td][td]2[/td][td]Drew Doughty[/td][td]Star[/td][td]759[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]2009[/td][td]35[/td][td]Kyle Clifford[/td][td]Good[/td][td]483[/td][/tr]
[tr][td][/td][td]198[/td][td]Nic Dowd[/td][td]Very good[/td][td]11[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]2010[/td][td]15[/td][td]Derek Forbort[/td][td]Good[/td][td]53[/td][/tr]
[tr][td][/td][td]47[/td][td]Tyler Toffoli[/td][td]Superb[/td][td]379[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]2011[/td][td]80[/td][td]Andy Andreoff[/td][td]Good[/td][td]161[/td][/tr]
[tr][td][/td][td]82[/td][td]Nick Shore[/td][td]Good[/td][td]233[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]2012[/td][td]30[/td][td]Tanner Pearson[/td][td]Superb[/td][td]296[/td][/tr]
[tr][td][/td][td]181[/td][td]Paul Ladue[/td][td]Good[/td][td]0[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]2013[/td][td]146[/td][td]Patrik Bartosák[/td][td]Good[/td][td]0[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]2014[/td][td]29[/td][td]Adrian Kempe[/td][td]Very good[/td][td]82[/td][/tr]
[tr][td][/td][td]60[/td][td]Alex Lintuniemi[/td][td]Good[/td][td]0[/td][/tr]
[tr][td][/td][td]90[/td][td]Michael Amadio[/td][td]Good[/td][td]0[/td][/tr]
[tr][td][/td][td]209[/td][td]Spencer Watson[/td][td]Good[/td][td]0[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]2015[/td][td]43[/td][td]Erik Cernák[/td][td]Good[/td][td]0[/td][/tr]
[tr][td][/td][td]74[/td][td]Alexander Dergachyov[/td][td]Good[/td][td]58[/td][/tr]
[tr][td][/td][td]99[/td][td]Austin Wagner[/td][td]Good[/td][td]0[/td][/tr]
[tr][td][/td][td]134[/td][td]Matt Schmalz[/td][td]Good[/td][td]0[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]2016[/td][td]51[/td][td]Kale Clague[/td][td]Good[/td][td]0[/td][/tr]
[tr][td][/td][td]112[/td][td]Jacob Moverare[/td][td]Good[/td][td]0[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]2017[/td][td]9[/td][td]Kristian Vesalainen[/td][td]Very good[/td][td]0[/td][/tr]
[tr][td][/td][td]19[/td][td]Juuso Välimäki[/td][td]Very good[/td][td]0[/td][/tr]
[tr][td][/td][td]81[/td][td]Vladimir Tkachev[/td][td]Good[/td][td]0[/td][/tr][/table]

There's only one defenseman on the list playing for us and that's Doughty. All the other dmen in our roster have been acquired via trades or waivers. Nick Shore is the sole center that is playing in the Kings from that list but what comes to the wingers the situation is a little better. Both our 1st line wingers are our own draftees and besides them there are Adrian Kempe and Alexander Dergachyov in our roster. We have also high hopes that at least Kale Clague, Juuso Välimäki and Kristian Vesalainen will play for us in a couple of years - maybe even Vladimir Tkachev, Derek Forbort and Erik Cernák too.

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Offseason 2019 in L.A.

Post by kuulapaa » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:39 pm


Jun 22nd 2019

Front Office News

We made some rearrangements in the Kings' staff. Rob Blake was moved from the assistant GM post and he is now a member of our scouting team. John Stevens took Blake's place as the AGM where he will serve better than as an assistant coach. A new assistant coach, Keith McCambridge from Hartford Wolf Pack, AHL has joined the team and will run our defense coaching.

The team has now missed the playoffs two seasons in a row under my tenure. To be honest it is quite probable it'll take at least three more seasons before the Kings are able to make a serious push for the playoffs again – that's how badly Dustin Brown's and Frans Nielsen's huge contracts are hurting the team building.

Team Situation

At the moment we have good goaltending situation. Our starting goalie Jordan Binnington whose atts have jumped during the last year or so is only 25 years old so he's not even ready yet. We also have a year younger Marcus Högberg developing nicely in our farm team for the future.

Our defense core is good enough for now. Drew Doughty will be the team and defense leader for several years still. Calvin De Haan and Jake Gardiner are the older core of the defense whereas Jake McCabe and Ryan Sproul are a little younger yet still quite experienced dmen. Kale Clague has developed hugely and will for sure be our top pairing defender of the future followed by Juuso Välimäki. And there are a few quite promising youngsters in the system besides them too, so there is nothing to worry about.

The centers is our clear cut deficiency. We have no top 6 centers in our organization nor do we have a prospect that could make that level one day. We are sticking with Mikael Backlund and Mathieu Perreault for the next two seasons as that's the length of their contracts. And as already mentioned, Frans Nielsen's contract is even longer than that, so most probably he's going to be our 4th/5th C for some time. Isac Lundeström who joined the team this spring and Luka Burzan who was drafted 2018 may be in our roster in the future but we can't see them higher than bottom 6 centers. (EDIT: The Kings managed to pull a trade that changes the center situation a bit. We gave away two 2020 Draft 2nd round picks for Predators' young and quite promising center Julien Pelletier. He's expected to be at least a 2nd line center when fully developed in a season or so.)

Tanner Pearson is our leading left winger. After him there's pretty much no-one. Joe Colborne who was acquired from the free agency last November is not going to continue with us no matter how well he did. There's just no point in paying high bucks to some mercenary when we have plenty of young players of our own. And then there's players like Kyle Clifford that we have no use for but once and again we're just waiting their contract to be exhausted. There's enough young players like Vladimir Tkachev and Kristian Vesalainen to bring in talent when needed, no need to search for anybody in the next three years.

The leader of our offense and the second best player of the team is our RW Tyler Toffoli. And actually after some trades in last season I could nearly say we are a bit stacked what comes to right wingers. At least when compared to LW's or especially C's. Michael Frolik and Tobias Rieder are good wingers capable of playing high minutes. Alexander Dergachyov and Kasperi Kapanen are young and promising right wingers, very different as players which is actually good. And then there's Joel Armia, whose atts aren't too convincing but who has been able to put up nice numbers when playing for us.

The Future

We have sat down in the front office and composed a plan for the coming years. During the next three seasons we concentrate on getting rid of all of the dead weight there is in our roster. That means trading away or most probably letting walk total of at least 15 players. Their combined salary is somewhere around 25 million dollars. During these seasons we will trade for young players and picks only and our sight is in season 2022-23. We are trying our best every season and every game, as we're aiming to provide our players the best possible environment to develop.

The Lineup

Here's the Kings' lineup for season 2019-20:

Pearson – Backlund – Toffoli
Tkachev – Perreault – Rieder
Sheary – Frolik – Armia
Dergachyov – Nielsen – Brown

Vesalainen, Dowd

McCabe – Doughty
Clague – Gardiner
De Haan – Sproul



Draft 2019 Review

#8 C/RW/LW Danil Bashkirov – an eighteen year old Russian who is compared to Paul Stastny. He was third in regular season points in MHL past season.

#22 C Oleg Zaitsev – a small eighteen year old Russian who compares to Carl Söderberg. Hard working player with a lot of upside, was over PPG in his 35 games in Russia U18 league.

#67 LW/RW Ivan Muranov – a big 19-year-old winger, likes to play in an offensive role. Played 40 games in KHL past season.

#97 LD Mirko Havelka – a sturdy 18-year-old defenseman, goes defense first. Loves to check opponents, but is a competent point scorer too, 26 points (4+22) in 40 games in a Czech Junior League last season.

#127 LW Holden Kodak – a lightweight winger from BC, Canada. A top line player in his team in WHL.

#157 RW/LW Willi Flaake – a 17-year-old big winger from Germany. Has a great wrist shot and reads the game exceptionally well for a player of his age.

#187 RW Remi Vincelette – an 18-year-old French winger with a set of great features. Aggressive checking forward.

We are quite happy with what we got considering the quality of the draft. We managed to pick a pair of promising center prospects on the 1st round. We moved four 2nd round picks (one early, one mid and two late ones) for a prolly late 1st next year but we still got many of the players that were on the top of our list with our later round picks.
We'll probably signing Luka Burzan and LD Gustav Nielsen from 2018 draft and Danil Bashkirov and Oleg Zaitsev from this year's draft to their entry level contracts in order to get them ready for our goal, season 2022-23. Other prospects will be under our constant monitoring so that we'll bring in any of them who shows signs of being ready or close to it.

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Post by kuulapaa » Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:28 pm


The Los Angeles Kings has been climbing up from the rock bottom of the league that we hit in the season 2017-18. At the time we were 13th in the Western Conference with only 60 points. We have taken tiny baby steps in improving, as the next seasons' standings were 12th-8th-7th and the points were 71-82-84. The Kings roster didn't actually change much to this season, only additions were the 7th dman Artyom Alyayev who came from the Jets and the rookie C Danil Bashkirov, who had his first games in the NHL only this season. And yet something happened and the clicking sound was heard far. The Kings took a giant leap last season and played significantly better ending up as 3rd in the West with 115 points. But what was more remarkable, at least to me as a GM, was that the team was able to score 356 goals which was 94 goals more than last season and still allowed less goals than ever in their SBHL history, only 272 goals.

I set the goal to this team to be competitive in season 2022-23 so we were a year early there. It's a great thing tho, the team got a lot more experience from winning and from the Playoffs that I dared to expect they'd do this season. That makes us more ready when the next season kicks going.


Record: 3rd in Western Conference
55 W – 22 L – 5 O/SL – 115 pts

Team MVP: Tyler Toffoli 101 pts
Best Dman: Juuso Välimäki 47 pts
Best Forward: Marcus Johansson 103 pts
Best Rookie: Danil Bashkirov 59 pts
Most improved: Juuso Välimäki 47 pts


Most of the roster players hit their career records or at least were close to doing so. Here's some numbers:

GK Jordan Binnington – career best in GAA (2.98) and SV% (0.914)
GK Marcus Högberg – career best in W (8), GAA (3.38), SV% (0.900) and Av R (7.19)

D Calvin De Haan – career 3rd best season in +/- (11), career 2nd best season in Av R (6.98)
D Jake Gardiner – career 2nd best season in A (38), career best season in +/- (27) and Av R (7.37)
D Juuso Välimäki – career best in all categories, G (5), A (42), P (47), +/- (36) and Av R 7.54
D Artyom Alyayev – career best season in +/- (25) and Av R (7.07), yet he played only 43 games
D Drew Doughty – career best season in +/- (43), earlier record was 24
D Tyler Myers – career 2nd best season in +/- (25) and Av R (7.31)
D Ryan Sproul – career 2nd best season in A (27) and P (30) and career best season in +/- (12) and Av R (7.36)

C Leon Draisaitl – career best season in A (52), P (86), +/- (52) and Av R (7.89)
C Boone Jenner – career 2nd best season in G (21), A (26) and P (47)
C Brock Nelson – career 2nd best season in G (34) and career best season in A (42) and P (76)

W Tyler Benson – didn't suffer from a sophomore slump, improved his record in all categories but the Av R
W Marcus Johansson – career best season in G (43), A (60), P (103), +/- (63) and Av R (8.35)
W Michael Mersch – career best season in G (19) and P (40), touched his career best season in Av R (7.13)
W Tanner Pearson – career best season in +/- (21), career 2nd best season in G (31) and P (64)
W Vladimir Tkachev – career best season in A (25) and career 2nd best season in all the other categories
W Joel Armia played in only 13 games and his career in the Kings is ending
W Alexander Dergachyov – reached to his career 3rd best season in all the categories alto his role was changed to more defensive forward this year
W Tobias Rieder – career best season in A (50), P (77) and +/- (33)
W Tyler Toffoli – career best season in A (59), P (101), +/- (70) and Av R (8.32)

Team Best Rookie 2021-22, Danil Bashkirov:
No-one expected that Bashkirov would be a runner up for Calder Trophy ever. He is an offensive forward for sure but he was still projected as a 3rd line center to come and he haven't been scoring that much in lower leagues either – actually with his 59 points he made his career record in any leagues he has ever been playing in. And looking at his ATOI (13:11) it makes it even more astonishing as he is 11th of our forwards there, behind him were only Tyler Benson and Vladimir Tkachuk who both played in bottom lines with no special unit ice time
and Joel Armia who was the very last forward to step in in case of injuries. Bashkirov got some PP time in our second PP unit, his average time on PP was 1:08 and he scored 7 pts there.
The Kings Front Office is very eager to see how Danil's career keeps developing with us.

Players looking to make the big club:
1. William Ennis LD *** '
2. Saveli Kuvardin C ***
3. Jason Robertson LW ***
4. Gustav Nielsen LD **
5. Oleg Zaitsev C **

Top 5 Prospects in Juniors:
1. Jean-Edouard Rivon RW/C *****
2. Rudi Bozic LD/RD ****
3. Dennis Chumley LD/RD ****
4. Tuomas Friman LW/RW ***
5. Eeli Kutvonen LD ***

What's up to our AHL affiliate Ontario Reign:
At the same time when the Kings played a great season the Ontario Reign struggled badly in their game. They played their worst season this far and failed to get in the playoffs. It has to be admitted that the Kings' players down there were not of the best quality this season alto there are a couple of prospects that should get their stuff together soon in order to be able to compete of the opening spots in the Kings. Goalie prospect Veini Vehviläinen hasn't stepped up the way we'd hoped but we're sure he'll improve when he adapts to the NA playing style. LD Gustav Nielsen suffers from his small size and he seems to be one of the biggest question marks of our prospect pool at the moment.

Draft 2021:
Our pick was a late one, 25th of the round and we didn't have the possession of our 2nd round pick. Instead of that we had the Jets' 5th rounder in addition to our own picks. Here's how we picked and a short characterization of the prospects:

#25 – Dennis Chumley LD/RD – a strong and gritty defensive dman, no. 1-2 potential
#85 – Rudi Bozic LD/RD – a big 18-year-old defenseman from Croatia, pure physical essence, no. 5-6 potential
#115 – Stan Linnell LW – a playmaking forward, a complete team player, has good passing skills
#135 – Tuomas Friman LW/RW – a playmaking winger from Finland, gives his everything for the team
#145 – Eeli Kutvonen LD – a small offensive dman from Finland, has the speed and the skills to handle the puck
#175 – Keenan Brown G – a 20-year-old hybrid style goalie, has a high level of stamina, a confident keeper
#205 – Bohuslav Dlouhy RD/RW – a hard working dman who can also play as a defending right winger

We are quite happy with the results of the draft alto it seems that this time we selected mostly defending players. That sets some pressure to our scouting team to be able to find some scoring prospects in the next draft.

Projection to the next season:
The Kings should be ready to compete and the goal has to be set higher than we reached this season. That means we should make it in the Conference Finals. But as we have seen several times, it takes only a few crucial injuries and it all can shatter to pieces.

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Post by kuulapaa » Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:19 pm

A Review to the Prospect Pool of the Los Angeles Kings

Top Forward Prospects:
Marco Rossi, 22 y, C/LW, currently playing in Kings - Rossi was drafted by the Sabres in the first round of 2020 Draft (#11 oa) and joined the Kings in the off-season 2023 as a part of a trade. He has gained 25 lbs weight from the draft and his physical atts have gone up by 10 points.
Gavin Yannetti, 18 y, LW/C/RW, currently playing in Ontario Reign - Yannetti was ranked as #8 in 2023 Entry Draft and picked by the Kings as #21 oa. He took a huge leap from college league to AHL and he's adjusting in it quite fine. He has improved his physical atts by 3 points and his tech atts by 4 points since the off-season.
Saveli Kuvardin, 22 y, C, currently playing in Ontario Reign - Kuvardin was picked in 2020 draft by the Kings as #16 oa. He has played 10 games for Kings too. His physical atts have improved by 7 points and his tech atts by 26 points from the draft.
Jean-Edouard Rivon, 20 y, RW/C, currently playing in Ontario Reign - Rivon was picked as #16 oa in 2021 draft by the Kings. He has gained 13 lbs weight 'til then and improved his physical atts by 8 points and his tech atts by 9 points. He seems to have adjusted well in the AHL already.

Top Defensemen Prospects:
Dennis Chumley, 19 y, LD/RD, currently playing in Ontario Reign - Chumley was Kings' 1st round pick from last year's draft, picked as #25 oa. He has gained 18 lbs of weight in a year and he has improved his physical atts by 4 points. He is projected as a defensive dman with no. 1-2 potential.
Miro Heiskanen, 24 y, LD/RD, currently playing in Kings - Heiskanen is a 1st round pick of the Anaheim Ducks from the 2017 draft. He was claimed from waivers by the Kings at the start of the season. He has developed a ton from the draft and he looks like he's going to be a 3-4 playmaking defenseman one day.
Rudi Bozic, 20 y, LD/RD, playing currently in Saskatoon, WHL - Bozic was drafted on the 3rd round of 2022 draft, as #85 oa. He got his entry level contract last off-season but was then sent back to juniors for one more year. He has gained some 11 lbs more weight in a year and he's starting to look like he's ready for the big games soon, his measures being 6 ft 3 in. and 216 lbs. With his 15 balance and 18 strength he will be tough to destabilise in front of our net.

Goalie Prospect:
Rob McInnis, 19 y, G, currently playing in Ontario Reign - McInnis was an unranked 5th round pick from this year's draft, #141 oa. He seems to be a real steal, his technical atts have gone up and he has taken the spot of the starting goalie of the Ontario Reign. He is easily on the same level than the goalies that were picked on the 2nd or 3rd round of the 2023 draft.

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Post by kuulapaa » Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:17 pm


- from the offseason 'til the Trade Deadline Day


June 2023

When preparing to this season the Kings took a few steps back. It was not like giving up but it sure was some kind of downgrading of the team as we traded away Marcus Johansson who was amazing for the whole 2+ seasons he played for us. In his 179 regular season games he scored 189 points, but we just felt we couldn't afford to keep him any longer. So he got traded to Buffalo with our backup goalie Marcus Högberg and in return we got left winger Jimmy Vesey who's on the last year of his contract, young and very promising Swiss center Marco Rossi and the rights to RW Rick Fry. We got some young talent ok, but it was a clear step back.

We also let some very good veterans walk, including the defensemen Tyler Myers and Karl Alzner and the centers Brock Nelson and Boone Jenner. That weakened both our defense and center compartment badly. Rossi fixed a hole but he was still a youngster with very little experience. Other center that joined the team was 24 year old Swedish Sebastian Olsson who was a waiver claim from the Nucks.

Players in:
David Knuts
Malte Setkov
Sebastian Olsson
Rudi Bozic
Rights to Rick Fry
Marco Rossi
Jimmy Vesey

Players out:
Marcus Högberg
Marcus Johansson
Tyler Myers
Boone Jenner
Sami Moilanen
Dereck Baribeau
David Knuts
Jacob Moverare
Brock Nelson
Jason Robertson
Martin Bodak
Karl Alzner
Malte Setkov

July – August 2023

In the summer some of our own prospects joined the team, but none of them was able to make it to the Kings roster yet. We also signed goalie Anders Nilsson from the free agency, he signed a five year deal worth 9,68M so we have our backup goalie signed for now. Later in the August the value of this contract raised some when we lost our young goalie Veini Vehviläinen to the waivers.

Players in:
Rob McInnis
Anders Nilsson
Gavin Yannetti

Players out:
Veini Vehviläinen

September – October 2023

In September we signed veteran defender Andrej Sustr to a one-year contract worth 1,648M. At that time it looked like we got our defense locked for the season but in the season start we lost Calvin De Haan to the waivers so we needed to find some more experience on our blue line. Even claiming Miro Heiskanen from the waivers didn't help there, but it helped in making the decision of sending another young and mobile defenseman, William Ennis to Columbus for Zach Osburn and their 2nd round pick for the next draft.

Players in:
Andrej Sustr
Miro Heiskanen
Zach Osburn

Players out:
Calvin De Haan
William Ennis

November – December 2023

During these two months the only trade we did was a very minor one, sending the rights to goalie Dereck Baribeau to the Buffalo Sabres for the rights to center Adrian Dahlbom. He seems to be a real long shot but for some reason some of our scouts do like him. Baribeau's value wasn't too high either so it was a kind of interesting return, it's always exciting to see if a project player develops or not.

Players in:
Rights to Adrian Dahlbom

Players out:
Rights to Dereck Baribeau

January – February 22nd 2024

While the Trade Deadline nearing and it started to look probable that the Kings are pushing for the playoffs we started to search for some help to strengthen our team. We made five trades and managed to bring in a whole bunch of talent and experience without losing too much of our future assets. Here's the trades in a chronological order:
Trade #1: Hampus Schoultz and 2024 6th (LA) for Fyodor Malykhin
Trade #2: Zach Osburn for Filip Hasa and 2024 5th (WPG)
Trade #3: Sebastian Olsson, 2024 2nd (CLB) and 2024 2nd (LA) for Matt Niskanen
Trade #4: Marco Rossi for Alexander Wennberg
Trade #5: 2024 4th and 7th (LA) for Ryan Getzlaf
Malykhin, Niskanen and Getzlaf are pure rentals and Niskanen was the only one of them that we needed to give any serious value for. Two 2nds is not too much though, as he is a clear cut #2 dman in our roster for this spring, Olsson had no value for us any more, he was not able to catch his game at any point of the season, no matter how well the team played. Filip Hasa may get a new contract if he keeps up playing like he has done lately. But the most important – and somewhat most hazardous of the trades was the acquiring of Alexander Wennberg from the Preds. He has a contract 'til 2029, alto it's not too hefty, the salary against cap is 3,595M p/a. It's just that his stats doesn't look too good – so I think he needs to get some special attention from the coaching team, I hope that'll help him to find his game again. Marco Rossi who went the other way in that trade didn't actually convince us either, he was lacking some attributes that made us to assess that he wouldn't match to the way of playing we're aiming at.

Players in:
Fyodor Malykhin
Filip Hasa
Matt Niskanen
Alexander Wennberg
Ryan Getzlaf

Players out:
Hampus Schoultz
Zach Osburn
Sebastian Olsson
Marco Rossi


At the Trade Deadline our lineup looks something like this:

Tkachev - Draisaitl - Toffoli
Pearson - Wennberg - Reider
Malykhin - Bashkirov - Yamamoto
Vesey - Getzlaf - Dergachyov

Gardiner - Doughty
Välimäki - Niskanen
Heiskanen - Sproul
(Hasa) - (Sustr)


It's gratifying to notice that so many players are playing their best hockey this season. There are some individuals that have already improved their record in scoring points per season. A pair of them, Vladimir Tkachev and Danil Bashkirov have been playing in a higher line with better linemates and little more ice time but nevertheless they have responded well to the charge that has been given to them. Tyler Toffoli has been suffering from some minor-ish injuries and he's going to stay under 70 games played for the first time since 2013-14. But his average rating is higher than ever, which shows that he is still improving his game comprehensively. Miro Heiskanen has taken his spot in the opening lineup in a pretty convincing way, he is on the 4th place in the team's +/- -stats. That's well done from a rookie.


The core of the roster is set for the future, alto there is some big decisions to make in the next few years. From this season's roster there is some players leaving, obviously. Matt Niskanen, Andrej Sustr, Jimmy Vesey, Ryan Getzlaf and Fyodor Malykhin are the players that were clearly acquired for the playoff push in 2024. If Sustr or Malykhin would accept a reasonable contract offer they might stay for the next season too, but that is highly unlikely.
The extension of Alexander Dergachyov's contract is under consideration too. He has played well and we don't have another player of his style at the moment, but his salary request may be too high for this team. The negotiations are still going on, so we'll see soon what happens to him.
Nicolas Beaudin, Danil Pavlov, Alex Lintuniemi and Curtis Hall are not going to get contract extensions. That leaves us two other players to resign, Filip Hasa and Danil Bashkirov. They both are in our future plans with some kind of roles.

Sat Mar 9th 2024

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Post by kuulapaa » Thu Feb 21, 2019 1:03 pm


The off-season 2025 wasn't too dramatic to the Kings, at least when compared to the Trade Deadline Day. In the Entry Draft we managed to pick few interesting prospects but no actual steals were included. To be honest the drafting is maybe the sector that has progressed most in the last few years in this league and while in the mean time the drafts have been shallow and poor it is really hard to get your hands on the hidden gems.

Anyways, here's how we picked:
Round 1, #10 – LW/RW Paul Beukeboom – a goal-scoring forward, compared to Eeli Tolvanen and Jeff Skinner
Round 1, #11 – LW Jimmy Day – a playmaking forward, compared e.g. to Charles Hudon and Vitali Kravtsov
Round 2, #40 – C/LW Fran Fisher – a defensive forward, compared e.g. to Clark Bishop and Andrew Copp
Round 3, #70 – RW Alex Blacker – a goal-scoring forward, compared e.g. to Denis Guryanov
Round 4, #100 – RW/C Josh Scuderi – a playmaking forward, compared to Cole Tymkin
Kings then decided to swap the rest of their picks to the Canucks for futures.

Come the Free Agency the Kings let some players walk, most of them were the cap dumps from the trades we made earlier. In the FA we acted quite calmly, making some offers for players like Jake Bean and Jakob Silfverberg who then ended up to bigger teams and heftier contracts. We also offersheeted Maple Leafs' young RW Joshua Lawrence who accepted our offer but Toronto matched it and back in Toronto went Joshua. All in all we made a pair of trades and one minor signing during the FA season.
Trade #1 – LD/RD Juuso Välimäki to the Montreal Canadiens for G Darcy Kuemper, RW Daniel Sprong and 2027 4th (MTL)
Trade #2 – 2027 2nd (COL) and 2026 4th (COL) for LD John Moore
A two year contract worth 1,8M for RW Matt Cameron

After dismantling the team in the spring we are now in a situation where no-one expects anything big from us. Except our Board ( :rant: :work:) who think we should get in the playoffs. In the same time they are utterly disappointed to me as a GM but hey, I guess that's why I'm hired, to take the s**t from every direction and hold the package together :brix: . It will be interesting to see how the Kings play with a roster this young and inexperienced – it is most obvious that this season will be a rough one but I expect to see something good too when our youngsters start stepping up and our lineup starts to gel. I'm especially looking at young players like Gordon Janik, Dennis Chumley, Damiano Liechti, Gavin Yannetti, Louis-Marc Pierog and Jean-Edouard Rivon.

The Projected Opening Night Lineup for the Kings:


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