Here are some predictions for the Kings Organization for the 2002 season:
The Manchester Monarchs start slowly, but emerge as an exciting team behind the strong offensive play of Mike Cammalleri, Scott Barney, Yannick Lehoux and Jared Aulin.
Barney leads Manchester in goal scoring. Cammalleri leads in points per game and Lehoux leads in points. Aulin struggles early to find his AHL game but finishes the season among the top three scorers on the team.
Joe Corvo has another stellar season. However, barring trade or injury, he is a Monarch the entire season.
Cristobel Huet has a solid season backing up Travis Scott. The real goalie story will be in Reading where Alexey Volkov rises from the dead to have an all-star season.
Kip Brennan edges Ryan Flinn for the PIM leader and spends a small portion of the season in Los Angeles. Brennan continues to evolve as a physical third/fourth line wing.
Richard Seeley has a solid offensive season in Manchester, emerging as the #2 blueliner behind Corvo. Joe Rullier needs to decide if he is a defenseman or enforcer. His growth continues to disappoint, even though you read in this same space that he was the Kings’ top prospect just three years ago.
Cammalleri finishes the year with the Kings.
David Steckel shakes his slump to show why the Kings were so high on him. I have absolutely no support for this, but I am rooting for him to do it and think he can, even though King management doesn’t.
The Kings sign Aaron Miller to an extension and make a significant trade. Aulin or Lehoux are part of the package, along with an NHL defenseman. The Kings get a second line forward in the deal.
Former prospect Eric Belanger posts 18 goals.
I didn’t think it before last Saturday, but Alexander Frolov posts 20-25 goals. He is the first prospect in a long time that when you watch, you move to the edge of your seat. He is dangerous with the puck and is the real deal.
Peter Kanko climbs the list to become a top 5 prospect for the Kings. The 2002 draft sparkles this season.
Derek Bekar finishes the season in Manchester.
The Kings win the Pacific. Beyond that, who knows? The could easily represent the West in the Cup Finals, but likely come up short of that. They are still a player or goalie away. This season should tell the organization whether those players are in the Kings’s system or not.