Kings 2000 Preseason Predictions

By Tony Calfo
The Kings are coming off their most successful season in years and are looking for two things this season. Firstly, they would like to win a playoff game and perhaps move into the next round. Secondly, develop some of the young talent that is starting to replenish the Kings system. With that in mind, here are a few predictions and things to watch for the 2000 season.

Firstly, which Russian will progress the most? If it is Alexander Frolov, the Kings will have a bona fide top forward prospect. Andrei Shefer is back in Russia this season and you have to wonder how, after a season in Halifax, that will affect his development to the NHL game. Alexey Volkov moves to the AHL where his netminding talents will be showcased in a more NHL-like setting. His development will help the Kings make a decision at the NHL level- if he is a few season’s away, than the younger Storr will likely stay. If he can play sooner, than Fiset can hold down the fort until his arrival.

Look for Kings prospect Kevin Baker to have a big season. His game is well suited for the NHL game and his grit will complement his nose for the net.

Kip Brennan will lead the AHL in PIM’s. The only thing that can stop this is a call-up to the big club. Kip’s game will also develop and he will finish with 15 goals.

The Kings will officially give up on the talented Scott Barney. His back injury seems to be career threatening.

Eric Belanger will return to his top prospect form. Hopefully he will do it as a King.

Watch two defensemen in Lowell. How will Joe Rullier fare in the AHL? How will Richard Seeley respond from a season lost to a concussion. I think Rullier will struggle at first and I think Seeley will have a solid season.

Yanick Lehoux will lead the Kings system in scoring.

Mike Pudlick will show he is a future top-four defensemen in the NHL.

Steve Reinprecht will struggle and eventually end up in Lowell.

Andreas Lilja and Lubomir Visnovsky will get past the usual rookie slumps and have impressive rookie seasons for the Kings.

Brian McGratten will have 20 goals and over 300 PIM’s for Mississauga.

Finally, the Kings will settle up with Rob Blake by season’s end and Stumpel will be in camp by the middle of October.

Kings season?- fourth in the Western Conference and a second round loss to Dallas.