Monday, September 21, 2009

Kings Cuts Part II

New changes are a-comin' for the Los Angeles Kings. Pre-season camp players have suffered through the next set of cuts, although no terrible surprises have been forthcoming, with one possible exception. Without further ado, here are the players the Los Angeles Kings have cut from camp, along with the team they're heading to for the upcoming season:

Justin Azevedo (Center) - Manchester, AHL
Corey Elkins (Center) - Manchester, AHL
Bud Holloway (Left Wing) - Manchester, AHL
Dwight King (Left Wing) - Manchester, AHL
Andrei Loktionov (Center) - Manchester, AHL
David Meckler (Left Wing) - Manchester, AHL
Juraj Mikus (Center) - Manchester, AHL
Oscar Moller (Center) - Manchester, AHL
Patrick Mullen (Defense) - Manchester, AHL
Jordan Nolan (Center) - Manchester, AHL
Scott Parse (Right Wing) - Manchester, AHL
Michael Pelech (Forward) - Manchester, AHL
Viatcheslav Voynov (Defense) - Manchester, AHL
Geoff Walker (Right Wing) - Manchester, AHL
Jeff Zatkoff (Goalie) - Manchester, AHL
Colten Teubert (Defense) - Regina, WHL

With these cuts, the Kings are that much closer to their start of season roster, taking the total in camp down to 35, with some fairly painful cuts yet to make. Of those that have left, there is perhaps only one "surprise." Oscar Moller, who played the bulk of last season with the Kings, has been sent down to Manchester. While it might seem that this is a slight, for a small player who has done everything asked of him to be sent to the AHL, in reality this is a prudent move for the Kings, who just don't have a spot open for him at the moment. Frankly, it's a statement on the depth of the Kings organization that they have the luxury of sending a highly skilled player down to get minutes in the AHL.

Look at it this way, with the first three lines effectively locked (specific pairs may not be, but the top three lines are clearly including Kopitar, Williams, Smyth, Brown, Stoll, Purcell, Frolov, Handzus, and Simmonds), Moller would either play on the fourth line with limited minutes, or be a regular scratch if he were to stick with the Kings. Neither option is appealing, and he's better off getting real minutes in the AHL for the time being. If Purcell or Simmonds struggle early, it's entirely possible that we see Moller brought up, and I'd be surprised if he didn't see some NHL action this season. That said, sending him to the AHL is the right move at this moment.

Any other surprises? Not to me. Loktionov, Voynov, Tuebert all were long shots at best to make the squad, and will be better served with some time playing at a lower level. There's just no room for them on the roster at the moment. Besides, better to bring them along slowly, and allow them to grow into the talented players they may yet become. The rest of the chaff had a fine camp, but are for the most part bit players (with a few exceptions) that are hit or miss projects. For the time being, there's no place for them. However, there is plenty of opportunity for a mid-season call-up if they set the AHL on fire. In the meantime, Manchester looks stacked, and ready to make some real waves in the AHL!

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