After going pointless in his first four NHL games, Los Angeles Kings blueliner Viatcheslav (Slava) Voynov made a statement in a 5-3 win against the Dallas Stars. The 21-year-old Russian defenseman scored two goals and added an assist while hammering five heavy shots on Kari Lehtonen.
Despite that impressive performance, it felt like Voynov was essentially saying goodbye; the thought was that there’s not enough room for him on a deep Kings defense once multimillionaire Drew Doughty enters the equation again. LA Kings Insider Rich Hammond confirmed that gut reaction; Voynov was demoted to the Manchester Monarchs to make room for Doughty today.
It’s quite possible that the Kings are the only team in the NHL who could barely bat an eye after demoting a guy who just produced a three-point game. As strange as it might sound, it makes perfect sense. Voynov surprisingly averaged more than 20 minutes per night, but he’d be certain to see a dramatic drop in ice time if he remained in the mix.
What sounds like good news for Kings fans and bad news for Voynov should actually be a win-win situation in the big picture. The biggest “win” is that Doughty returns to the mix, but Voynov can continue to blossom/increase his trade value in a more prominent role in the minors.
That won’t feel better than breaking the ice with a three-point performance, but it will have to do.