Bloggers Breakouts 2011 - Los Angeles Kings

Only one blogger could take a BB and make sure it includes references to Robocop, Gossip Girl and Dustin Penner's summertime job as the letter Y in the Hollywood sign.  That blogger is FakeChrisKontos from The Royal Half.  We've been fans of TRH for a long time and we were very pleased to see they accepted our offer to complete a BB for the third year in a row. 

Make sure you pay a visit to The Royal Half.  Go for the Pundays... stay for the non-stop Penner jokes.  They even have their own t-shirt store.  So sad the "By The Beard of Handzus" shirt isn't useful anymore.

Click here for more Blogger's Breakouts.

If you're interested in FHS' breakout picks and fantasy take on the Kings check out our draft kit which includes The Breakout Bible, the Fantasy Scouting Report (with SuperStats included) and our Fantasy Prospect Database.

BY FAKECHRISKONTOS FROM THE ROYAL HALF

Q1) Kings Breakout of the Year?
After struggling with injuries most of the previous 3 seasons, Justin Williams played 73 games last year, tallying 22 goals and 35 assists. And then he dislocated his shoulder with 9 games left in the season. Such is life for a player like Williams.

Justin Williams spent the majority of last season on the "Geezer Line" with Jarret Stoll and Ryan Smyth. This year, Williams most likely heads into training camp on the top line with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Penner. And barring any injuries... which for Williams has been nearly impossible in his career... he is poised to return to the 31 goal, 45 assist player he once was. Sure, Dustin Penner's introduction to the Kings was a bit unsatisfying, but a full season of Penner and Kopitar is going to clear plenty of space out on the ice for a speedy winger like Williams. But again, this is the Los Angeles Kings... so Penner, Williams and Kopitar will probably run into each other during pre-season and be out for the year.

Q2) Darkhorse Breakout on the Kings?
As a 19 year old rookie out of the OHL, Kyle Clifford warmed the hearts of LA Kings fans as he broke the faces of his opponents.  More of a middleweight than a heavyweight, Clifford still had 18 fighting majors, 4th most in the NHL. His regular season stats of 7 goals and 7 assists in 76 games are nothing to get excited about, but during the 1st round of the playoffs, Clifford was one of the most dangerous offensive weapons for the Kings and I think that another season in the NHL will get him more comfortable with driving to the net to score. Clifford has 15-20 goal potential and the best serial killer smile in the NHL.

Q3) League-Wide Breakout of the Year?
Since I tend to not pay attention to any hockey outside of the Pacific Division, the San Jose Sharks acquisition of Brent Burns scares me the most as a divisional opponent. Burns was the 14th highest scoring defenseman in the league as a member of the freakin' Minnesota Wild... so only imagine the possibilities when he's passing the puck up to any combination of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Martin Havlat, Joe Pavelski, Ryane Clowe or Logan Couture each and every night. Not to mention that Burns will spend a large amount of time on the Power Play with Dan Boyle. Burns had 46 points in 80 games last season. I think he hits 60 playing for the Sharks.

Q4) Player likely to Breakdown on the Kings?
I went with him last year and I'll stick with him this season. Jarret Stoll will continue to see his stats decline as he eases into his true roll with the Kings... the 3rd line center. Unless your league gives big points for faceoff wins and shootout goals scored.  Stoll was lucky enough to play most of last season with Ryan Smyth and Justin Williams... this season he won't have much firepower on his wings. But that should allow Stoll to really excel at what he does best... sleeping with hot actresses.

Q5) Best Fantasy Prospect on the Kings?
Andrei Loktionov has all the potential to be a bonafide NHL scorer. He's averaged nearly a point per game in the AHL and last season during his 19 game stint with the Kings, Loktionov showed some flashes of offensive flair. But during his time in LA he's been used mainly as a winger instead of his natural center. Loktinov is much more comfortable as a center and this season, with the RW spot on the 3rd line wide open for the Kings, there could be a scenario where Jarret Stoll takes the faceoffs and then switches with Loktionov to get him playing at center.

Q6) How do you see the Kings goalie situation playing out this year?
Well, if there was any doubt that this was Jonathan Quick's team, last season put those to rest. Quick had 35 wins, a 2.24 GAA and a .918 save percentage. But most importantly, he only played in 61 games as opposed to the 72 he had the year before. Sure, everyone (including myself) was ready to hand the #1 goalie spot to Jonathan Bernier last season, but Quick... uh... quickly... showed he was the main man in net. Bernier struggled in a backup role the first 3 months of the season going 4-6, but in the 2nd half Bernier did his job giving Quick a rest by going 7-2-3. If anything, Jon Bernier will get a couple more starts this season but I don't think there will be a true battle for the #1 spot coming out of training camp... especially now that we know Bernier's goaltending style is influenced by RoboCop. Both Jon Quick and Jon Bernier's contracts expire after the 2012-2013 season... so eventually the Kings will have to make a choice which goalie they are keeping for the long run.

Q7) Are you happy about the Mike Richards for Brayden Schenn deal?
For the last few seasons, I've said repeatedly that the one true thing holding the Los Angeles Kings back was a lack of a 2nd line center. Someone who could take both the offensive and defensive responsibility off of Anze Kopitar. Well, the Kings got a 2nd line center in Mike Richards... and boy did they get one! Former Captain, former Stanley Cup Finalist, former Flip Cup Champion... Mike Richards is exactly what this franchise needs.

Sure, Brayden Schenn is an extremely talented prospect who could have a long, glorious NHL career... but let's not forget... Mike Richards is a 26 year old, 2-time 30 goal scorer who is locked into a reasonable contract for the next 9 seasons. You've got to give up something to get something in this world... and I'm sure we all remember the incredible prospects that the Kings sent to Edmonton in exchange for Wayne Gretzky, right? No, I don't remember Jimmy Carson or Martin Gelinas either.

 

Thanks to FakeChrisKontos for a very entertaining and informative post.  If you have any Kings questions fire us a comment and we'll do our best to answer it.

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