In the midst of a rebuild, the Los Angeles Kings have done a good job of integrating younger players into their lineup. While the departures of Trevor Lewis and Nikolai Prokhorkin do help to thin out the competition up front, there will still be several players competing for spots this season.
Here are the players who seem to be likely to take a permanent spot in the lineup:
With that knowledge, we can build the following lineup:
Iafallo - Kopitar - Brown
Kempe - Vilardi - Frk
? - Lizotte - Carter
Wagner - Amadio - ?
That leaves two spots in the lineup and three or four total roster spots for other forwards. As a note, Lias Andersson was not included on the list below, as there doesn’t seem to be confirmation as to whether Andersson will return to North America for the 2020-21 season or remain in the SHL.
Here are five players who will be competing for spots in the lineup this coming season:
Byfield is an interesting case, as he’ll either make the roster and play as a middle-six center or will be left off the roster altogether. He certainly has the tools to find success in the NHL, it’s just a matter of whether the organization feels that’s a better option for his development than sending him back to junior. Whether or not Byfield makes the team will probably come down to how he performs in a trial run.
Grundstrom has been with the Kings since midway through the 2018-19 season but hasn’t been able to earn a permanent role with the team just yet. He’s turning 23 years old in December and perhaps he gets his chance this year. Considering he’s also no longer exempt from waivers, it would be a good idea to keep him on the roster, even as a spare.
Luff is in a very similar situation to Grundstrom. He’s 23 years old and hasn’t earned a roster spot with the Kings just yet, however, it would be worthwhile to keep him up in the NHL, given that he also isn’t exempt from waivers.
Moore is pretty much guaranteed a roster spot, though it may be up in the air as to whether he wins a spot in the lineup. There are several other solid forwards who will be competing for ice time and there's a chance that Moore could get shuffled out of the lineup as a result.
Chances are that Turcotte starts the year in the AHL, given that he has no professional experience to this point and the Kings have so many others competing for spots. There’s no reason to rush his development but if Turcotte stands out in training camp, maybe he earns a trial run and the team goes from there.
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Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):
Who will earn a spot on the Kings' roster for the 2020-21 season?