The Los Angeles Kings may have the most interesting camp in the NHL right now. With so many spots available and so many players coming out of nowhere to impress, the Kings’ camp is worth keeping an eye on.
The biggest story for King fans so far is the Phoenix that is Scott Barney. Left for dead on the NHL scrap heap due to injury, Barney has been given a tryout and has not disappointed. Barney has drawn rave reviews from coaches and fans alike and may be one of two major sleepers in camp. Barney appears a tad rusty, but considering his career was left for dead two years ago, his comeback to-date has been nothing short of amazing. Barney will open the Kings’ exhibition season as a wing on the second line. Barney would really strengthen an improving Kings’ farm system. His development has been too good to believe, so the Kings will keep a watchful eye on the big forward during camp.
The other surprise has been the superb play of 18 year-old Peter Kanko. Kanko potted two goals in the intra-squad scrimmage last Tuesday and has been the talk of camp. Despite his diminutive stature, Kanko has played an NHL game, complete with offense, grit and defense. If nothing else, Kanko has shown that he will be a steal, considering he was a third round pick in the last NHL draft.
Defense has also become an interesting race due to the injury to Aaron Miller. It appears that three spots will be claimed by any three defensemen. You can consider the contenders to be MacAlpine, Corvo, Lilja, Brad Norton, and to a lesser extent, Jason Holland, Richard Seeley, Joe Corvo and Jason Crain.
Young goalies will be heading to the Kings’ teams in Manchester and Reading. B.J. Boxma, Cristobel Huet and Alexey Volkov have all played well in spurts and are the favorites to join Travis Scott in the Kings’ minor league system. Volkov has looked sharp at times, showing why he was once so highly regarded.
Keep an eye on the preseason games- there is a lot at stake in Los Angeles.