I do hope sarcasm is not an issue here on the king satire site of the hockey world.
A season of success in Hockeywood, LA. Whether you care to debate that statement or not is entirely on you for that is not sarcasm from my end.
The young Los Angeles Kings were able to establish themselves as one of the NHL’s teams on the rise.
Prior to the trade deadline, the Kings did not have a whole lot of “experience” on their roster. Think about it, Michal Handzus, Ryan Smyth, Sean O’Donnell, Rob Scuderi, and Jarret Stoll. Those were the names on the Kings roster who have appeared in the NHL playoffs throughout their careers.
The rest of the team, almost entirely, were young and inexperienced yet they were able to manage a playoff birth.
Considering their starting goaltender is a mere 24 years of age, Jonathan Quick proved a lot to the Kings brass by winning 39 games and setting a single season franchise record.
Even though Terry Murray pretty much already has given the nod to quick for next seasons starter role, do not be surprised to see AHL standout Jonathan Bernier attempt to steal that role. He and Erik Ersberg will be battling it out for the back up job.
Earlier this morning, news leaked from the twitter account of Puck Daddy’s Dimitry Chesenkov that Unrestricted Free Agent Alexander Frolov has been made an offer from KHL President Medvedevs club SKA St. Petersbergh. For what it’s worth, they also made an offer to superstar sniper Ilya Kovalchuk.
Kovalchuk, who is likely to be targeted by Los Angeles, has a big decision to make. Will he stay in New Jersey with the Devils, walk as a free agent to a team that offers him a boat load of money, sign in LA to play with a young team that has tons of potential, or bolt to his native Russia to play in the KHL?
Those are questions that remain to be answered still, however, speculation has it that the offer from the KHL is a three year deal worth $30 million tax free dollars.
That is the equivalent to what Kovalchuk would be looking for in his next contract. Considering he turned down a career long offer from the Atlanta Thrashers prior to the trade that sent him to the Devils, it is anyone’s guess as to what Kovalchuk’s next move will be.
But, let’s get back to the Kings.
We all know that Frolov was likely to depart this summer but is the KHL going to truly be his next destination? Jiri Hudler of the Detroit Red Wings and Nikita Filatov of the Columbus Blue Jackets are two players we will use here as examples when talking about the KHL vs NHL topic.
Both players jumped shipped last season and went overseas, quickly to return to the NHL, as reports have it.
However, SKA St. Petersburg has offered something in the range of $5m per season to Frolov. So, let’s keep our eyes on that.
Does that not make a statement on its own? Yes it absolutely does.
So I would not fear the KHL ship jumping Kings fans, as Kovalchuk has stated his desire to remain within the NHL. However, if he is signed by the Kings remains to be seen.
There is some work to be done in LA, as Dean Lombardi has stated they would like to obtain a better option for their second line center position to play behind Kopitar.
Of course, Patrick Marleau is a name that comes up but rumor has it that he prefers to stay in San Jose. However, we know the Sharks have a lot to figure out in terms of salary cap, free agents and contract extensions.
It’s going to be a fun off-season, especially for the Kings.
As it comes my way, it will go from my ears to your eyes.
Enjoy the cup finals.
And speaking of the cup finals, be sure to tune into The Hockey Guys this Saturday at 11:30 a.m. EST as we will go live with our Stanley Cup Preview radio broadcast with special guests Lyle Richardson of spectorshockey.net and Jeff Marek of CBC Sports Canada.
About the Author: Anthony Curatolo is a 31 y/o New Yorker with a passion for the game that takes him into a different category then the regular run of the mill fan. He has an intense, creative, witty style that will either have you love him or hate him within the first paragraph you read from one of his writings. Growing up in a hockey world (his father was raised in Montreal, and his father brought that passion with him into the States) was a blessing in disguise for Anthony. Hockey has become more then a passion and infatuation for, and he hopes to one day have a career within the sport. Picked up originally by the Checking Line (from guest blogs written for HockeyBuzz), Anthony began blogging on a daily basis. When his original site, the checking line, went down the writing passion started to fall off. A few years later, Crash the Crease was born and Anthony was approached and asked to write for them. Since that time (August '08), Anthony has become a panel member on the websites Sunday talk show, as well as branching off and forming 1/3 of the talk show team called "The Hockey Guys!" Now Anthony takes his mind and his writings to the next level as he begins his journey with Hockey Independent and asks that there are many that join him. The Kings are the team, the style is Independent and the game is Hockey - there is nothing better in the universe. Although his pride bleeds for the Orange and Black (yes folks, the Philadelphia Flyers) Anthony is also a FAN of the game, and has knowledge for all 30 teams within the league coming from his true, pure love for the sport in it's entirety. As a voice of a fan for the fans (as we all know is the "Crash the Crease" and "The Hockey Guys" slogans) there will be debate, controversy, praise and love all combined into one giant thing - blogs by Anthony.