Kip Brennan- The Most Promising King?
There has been a steady path beaten from Manchester, New Hampshire to Los Angeles, California. King prospects have been back and forth the entire season due to a multitude of injuries on the NHL level. While King fans have been able to see some of the top prospects in NHL action, perhaps no minor leaguer has taken advantage of his chance more than winger Kip Brennan.
This trip to the NHL was not the first for Kip Brennan, but probably the most important. After toiling in Sudbury, then spells in Lowell and Manchester, Brennan was recalled last season during one of Ken Belanger’s injuries. Brennan played fairly well, but was unable to make headway in fighting two of the league’s perennial huggers- Steve McKenna and Andre Nazarov- and was unable to have any memorable impact. After four games, Brennan was returned to Manchester and Ryan Flinn was called to Los Angeles. Flinn’s feats were the stuff of legend- a knockout against Brad Brown and a broken nose to one of the league’s toughest- Scott Parker. Belanger eventually returned and Flinn went back to Manchester, but King fans had seen their enforcer of the future and his name was Ryan Flinn.
Flinn’s size makes him a more attractive enforcer- he is an inch taller and is heavier than Brennan. While both have fought all comers in the AHL, Brennan knock was his lack of girth and the consequent weight differences he might see in the NHL. Brennan put on weight in the offseason, but headed into the season as the third option at enforcer in training camp. Read more»
The Los Angeles Kings have been forced to use their newly beefed-up farm system several times this season. Injuries have plagued the Kings, but the positive results that have resulted from prospect playing time have made the blows easier to bear. Here is a quick rundown of how each call-up has fared so far this season:
Mike Cammalleri has been a work in progress. Initially, Cammy seemed to have trouble adapting to not being one of the best players on the ice. Many of his moves that had worked for him at Michigan and Manchester were not successful in his initial games with the Kings, but he has done a good job adapting his game. While it is cliché so say, Mike has improved in almost every game he has played. He has been extremely responsible on the ice and moves the puck well. Since being placed on a line with fellow rookie Alexander Frolov, the two have developed their games into a cycling, behind the net type of game that will be a nice supplement to both of their open ice games. Mike has also become a responsible defensive player who shows hustle on both sides of the ice. Despite his size, he plays hard on the puck and has not backed down from NHL contact. The points will come for Cammalleri- the most encouraging part has been his development of his overall game so far.
Joe Corvo has now played two games with the Kings. With the recent acquisition of Dmitry Yuskevich, Corvo’s offensive game is a nice addition to the mix of defensive-minded blueliners the Kings currently play. Corvo, Schneider and Visnovsky are nice offensive complements to Nor Read more»
Injuries have hit the Kings hard so far this season, but the farm system has been a bright spot- able to provide some relief and still experience success.
Steve Kelly, Mike Cammalleri and Derek Armstrong have been called to the big club, with the latter two becoming contributors. Cammalleri is still learning, but has shown some promise, highlighted by his beautiful power play assist in his debut against Ottawa. Armstrong has been a pleasant surprise, potting 3 goals and adding 3 assists in 8 games.
Alexander Frolov has shown promise. He has scored 4 goals and chipped in 5 assists in 16 games. Keeping in mind inconsistencies that come with rookies, Frolov has been superb. He has shown a nose for the puck and is learning to use his body to make things happen. There are certainly times the Frolov becomes invisible, but he appears to be getting better every day. Frolov’s struggles on the NHL level will turn out to be the best investment the Kings have made in some time. This kid is going to be a superstar.
Manchester has sparkled in AHL play. They just recently ended a 10 game unbeaten streak and have received solid play from several players. This success is coming while the Kings’ top prospects are getting valuable experience. Jared Aulin and Yannick Lehoux have had similar rookie seasons to Frolov’s. They have both shown flashes of brilliance while working to improve their consistency. The two stars have both put up 8 points in 12 games. Scott Barney had three goals- all game winners- before sitting out with back spasms unrelated to his pr Read more»
The Los Angeles Kings may have learned a lesson they can apply to their entire system Tuesday night in Atlanta. You cannot have skilled players that you rely on without protection in the NHL. You may not need them every night, but you don’t need automobile insurance everyday. It’s just good to have it when the time comes.
Jason Allison will be out for an undetermined amount of time because of a cheap shot by 6-6, 245-pound defenseman Andy Sutton. Sutton’s knee-to-knee hit was a blatant example of the old pro wrestling adage “if you can’t beat ‘em, beat ‘em up”. Sutton will undoubtedly be suspended for a couple games which will not likely affect his four points a year average or Atlanta’s march to mediocrity. The Kings, who had the potential to be a Western Conference finalist, now face the reality that without their big gun, they are an average team at best.
With Ken Belanger and Brad Norton out as healthy scratches against one of the cheaper teams in the NHL, Andy Sutton had free reign around the ice, and he used it. Ian Laperriere is long on heart but short on girth, so his effort to extract some revenge from the larger Sutton was counterproductive; an already injury-depleted team lost another top 6 forward for 17 minutes.
Would the presence of an enforcer made the hit not happen? Probably not. Would a beating have prevented Sutton from running roughshot over the Kings the rest of the night? Absolutely. Sutton is not the most gifted fighter for his size and he would have likely taken some from Belanger and perhaps from Nor Read more»
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. Au Read more»