Fighting to eventually win two Stanley Cups is worth the cost of taking risks, but the Los Angeles Kings’ farm system has seen consequences from regular trade deadline moves.
Jewels From the Crown took a look at how much shallower the Kings’ prospect pool has become, something that seems clearer after the very clear graduations of scorers Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson.
That said, there are still a couple prime-age players looking to make a dent on the NHL roster, including forward Jordan Weal.
It’s about that time for Weal. The 23-year-old was a third-rounder (70th overall) back in 2010, and he’s shown a solid knack for putting up points at the AHL level.
After scoring 70 points for the Manchester Monarchs in 2013-14, he nearly matched that output last season with 69 points. He really took off during the 2015 Calder Cup playoffs, scoring 22 points in 19 postseason games.
Weal thinks he has what it takes to take the next step, as NHL.com noted during his strong AHL playoff run.
“They have a great team up there and it’s really a great organization,” Weal said. “I can’t ask for more. They’ve given me lots of opportunity to play pro and get drafted and I think I’m ready to take the next step and play with them. But you never know. It’s tough to crack a team like that.”
Unlike Nick Shore and Andy Andreoff, Weal has yet to get his first taste of NHL action. The 2015-16 season represents his best chance to change that, especially after a strong finish with the Monarchs.
With the latest rule changes to the structure of overtime, has it become so different from the rest of the game that those 3-on-3 minutes should be kept separate statistically, just like shootouts? New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider argued in favor of such a distinction.
“It’s going to be interesting for the goalies,” Schneider said of the decision to adopt the new overtime format, per ESPN. “I was a passenger during that discussion. I suggested a side category where a goalie’s 3-on-3 stats could be hidden away and not put into your main stats, because it’s going to be tough. There’s so much talent in the NHL and sometimes 5-on-5 opens up, but 3-on-3 is going to open up and fans are really going to love it. It’s going to be up and down the ice. It’s going to be hard for us goalies, so we’re going to have to be really sharp and ready to go.”
Of course, the hope is that 3-on-3 overtime has the impact Schneider is suggesting as that would lead to fewer games being decided by a shootout. It also has the potential to hurt the statistics of goalies for the very same reason.
As far as whether or not that’s reason enough to separate those statistics is open to different opinions. As it is there are a lot of different situations that play out over the course of an NHL game that get lumped together if you only look at the base numbers. In 2014-15, Joe Thornton’s five empty-net goals were worth the same as Tyler Toffoli’s five shorthanded markers as far as overall statistics were concerned, just as 3-on-3 play during regulation time would be counted together with 5-on-5 actions.
That being said, with the rise of analytics fans have the luxury of filtering out certain scenarios if they choose to do so. For example, if you want to attempt to evaluate players on a more consistently level field by only looking at 5-on-5 play, you can do that. So in a way, each person will get to decide for themselves if the new overtime play should be counted alongside everything else.
The Los Angeles Kings have moved to suspend Slava Voynov for his Achilles injury that he suffered during his indefinite NHL suspension, per LA Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen.
While the Kings suspending Voynov as well might seem redundant, it does give them a certain degree of cost certainty. As long as his nearly $4.2 million annual cap hit is off the books, the Kings have about $60 million committed to 16 players, which is a decent amount of space going into free agent market. Los Angeles still has restricted free agents to re-sign including Tyler Toffoli and Martin Jones, but now it will be easier for the squad to make moves beyond that.
He’s reportedly being suspended because the Kings believe that his injury isn’t hockey related, a point which Los Angeles assistant general manager hinted at when the subject came up back in April.
“It wasn’t at the rink,” Blake said regarding the injury, per the Los Angeles Times.
It is worth noting though that Kings GM Dean Lombardi previously stated that “they’re shooting for the middle of training camp” for Voynov’s return, according to the Orange County Register. Although he also compared the situation to that of Tanner Pearson’s in the sense that the Kings forward was ultimately sidelined for longer than anticipated.