The Los Angeles Kings recent slide has overshadowed what has been a great season to-date. The Kings started the season playing over their heads and are currently playing below their ability. That is not unusual- teams go through slumps. The part that may be somewhat distressing is that when the Kings could use a spark from the farm system, some peek at a great prospect that will reinvigorate players and fans alike, the best the Kings could do…
No offense to Len Barrie. He plays hard and with grit and he is an excellent minor league hockey player, but he would likely not crack 75% of the NHL teams fourth line. It was this move that lead to a look at the system. The fact, while hard to swallow, is that the Kings do not have an impact player that is even remotely ready to play in the NHL.
The Kings seem to be on either side of the prospect fence. They have prospects like Pavel Rosa and Jason Podollan who posses promise but a call-up would likely expose the holes in their games and impede on any potential movement in regards to expansion. Both of these guys, along with Donald MacLean, Nathan Lafayette and Rich Brennan can prosper in the minors, making themselves more appealing to Columbus or Minnesota.
LOS ANGELES KINGS ORGANIZATIONAL ROSTER
“Tough to Play Against.”
As of December 14 1999
Owners: Philip F. Anschutz and Edward P. Roski Jr.
Governor: Bob Sanderman
President/Alternate Governor: Tim Leiweke
Senior Vice President/General Manager: Dave Taylor
Assistant to the General Manager: Kevin Gilmore
Assistant to the General Manager: John Wolf
Director of Player Personnel: Bill O’Flaherty
Director of Professional Scouting: Ace Bailey
Director of Amateur Scouting: Al Murray
Professional Scout: Rob Laird
Amateur Scouts: Serge Aubry, Greg Dreschel and John Stanton
European Scouts: Vaclav Nedomansky and Ari Vuori
TV Commentators: Bob Miller and Jim Fox
Radio Commentators: Nick Nickson and Daryl Evans
Head Coach: Andy Murray
Assistant Coaches: Ray Bennett Mark Hardy Dave Tippett
Video Coordinator: Bill Gurney
Trainer: Peter Demers
Fitness Consultant: Guy Lemasurier
Rehabilitation Trainer Strength/Conditioning Coach: Robert Zolg
Equipment Manager: Peter Millar
Captain: D Rob Blake
Alternates: D Garry Galley and LW Luc Robitaille
Arena: Staples Center
Affiliates Lowell AHL, Long Beach IHL and Mississippi ECHL
Flagship Station: KRLA-AM 111 [Los Angeles]
Radio Network: KBET 1220 AM Santa Clarita, CA, KGEO 1230 AM Bakersfield, CA,
KHJJ 1380 AM Palmdale/Lancaster, CA, KSHP 1400 AM Las Vegas, NV, KTRO 1400 AM Read more»
Jere Karalahti had his first taste of the NHL last Friday against Detroit, and after being returned to Long Beach, it appears that will be it for the time being. With that in mind, here is the lowdown on his debut.
Firstly, Jere is a big, rugged looking defenseman. As I watched his warm-up in his #8 Kings’ road jersey I thought of what he offered that the two players who most recently wore that number (Kristich and Bodger) didn’t- grit, physical play and toughness.
Karalahti’s first game was not all wine and roses. There were several instances where Jere left his zone and seemed to skate in his own game, often leaving Matty Norstrom alone on 2 on 1′s. The good news is that he often left his position to deliver a hit. In fact, he lead the team in hits for the game. On one of his first shifts there was a little mucking after the whistle. Jere was the first player on the scene which was good to see.
As the game pressed on, Jere seemed to time his hits better. The most obvious thing was the Karalahti can handle the puck. Just as fellow rookie Frankie Kaberle, Jere holds the puck a little longer to make sure the right pass is made. Towards the end of the game he did make a some bad decisions with the puck, but for the most part his blend of grit and puckhandling is unique.
The Kings are suddenly full of quality young defenseman. At the top of that list right now may be Joe Rullier. Rullier is having a tremendous season in the QMJHL with Rimouski. Joe has 2 goals, 22 assists and 112 PIM’s in 32 games. He also is 10th in the league in plus-minus with a +19. Rullier has great size (6’4) and is turning into the top young defenseman in the system. While Richard Seeley (Lowell- AHL) and Jason Crain (Ohio State University) have not had spectacular seasons, their promise is still encouraging. Combine those with Kaberle, Berg and Karalahti and their are some solid blueliners waiting.
Justin Papineau is having another solid season. Papineau continues to be the most promising forward in the Kings’ system. He has 21 goals(which ranks him 5th in the league) and 15 assists in 26 games while posting a +8. While Papineau is excelling like the Kings expected, perhaps teammate Kevin Baker is playing even better than the organization hoped. Baker has 14 goals, 13 assists and is a +4 while racking up 39 PIM’s. Baker leads the team and is second in the league with 4 game winning goals and has been solid. Both of these players need to grow physically, but they are incredibly skilled and are playing well. Another Belleville Bull, goaltender Corey Campbell has 12 wins, but has 8 losses and a 3.44 GAA. Campbell has struggled with inconsistency but is still 4th in the league with wins.
Pavel Rosa is considered one of the top prospects in the Kings organization. He is 11th in the IHL in scoring and has had success on the NHL level. Rosa’s promise is undeniable. The bad news is that his considerable potential will likely never be in a Los Angeles Kings’ sweater.
Pavel Rosa started the season in Long Beach for the second year in a row. Rosa has shown his skills there, posting 23 points in 25 games (8 goals, 15 assists), but has yet to crack the big club’s lineup. The reason? Pavel Rosa may be the key to keeping Storr and Fiset.
Pavel Rosa is coveted by many teams and may well be packaged with one of the goalies for a big name star. The reason he cannot stick with the Kings? Size. Size in terms of height and heart. Rosa is notorious for taking shifts off- something that you can get away with in the minors but not in the NHL when you are 5’10″ and 188lbs. His size is even more glaring if you look down the pipeline. If Rosa were to stick, he would likely be on a top line that the Kings are hoping would include Justin Papineau. That lack of size would spell doomsday for the Kings.
I personally like Rosa, but he has no real position. He is not a center, and is really too small to play forward in the evolving NHL. Sure there are a lot of smaller players prospering right now, but they all have the speed and skating ability that Rosa lacks. His lack of defensive awareness also figures to hamper him in Andy Murray’s system.