Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades – Los Angeles Kings
For the last 12 years over at The Hockey News, I have reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them. Now that I am no longer with THN, my 13th annual review will appear here on DobberHockey. This is not a review of the likely performance on the ice or in the standings, but in the realm of fantasy hockey.
Impact of changes – It's addition by subtraction when it comes to Richards. And Williams to Lucic is an upgrade in toughness and, at this point in Williams' career, skill. The loss of Sekera, Regehr and Stoll opens the door for a couple of youngsters. But the overall makeup and style (possession-driven) of the team remains the same, and is probably improved.
From a fantasy hockey standpoint, the only improvement in offense will be whatever small steps forward are taken by the likes of developing youngsters Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson. Because you already know what you're getting from the skilled vets.
Ready for full-time – Nick Shore was on track for a checking-line role in the NHL, or perhaps the third line. But last season he broke out in a big way in the AHL, posting 42 points in 38 games. And when he was called up to the big club he made it impossible to be sent back down. One of those over-achieving types who could turn out to have some fantasy value.
Andy Andreoff stuck with the big club last year because to send him down meant exposing him to waivers. So instead, he played 18 games for the Kings (though he did get seven games in the AHL for "conditioning" purposes). Potentially, he could be a 35-point, 130-PIM NHL player. But this year's goal – just stay in the lineup.
Jordan Weal led Manchester in scoring for two consecutive seasons. He was also a two-time 100-point player in the WHL. He also won the MVP of the AHL playoffs earlier this year. Scoring is his forte. But the Kings already have players in place that should (theoretically) do that. And at 5-10, 179, he's not suited to convert his game to that of a checker. Nor does he have the added edge of being a big power forward. So to get on the team, he has to score early and often in the training camp. And not let up until, well, ever.
Derek Forbort is highly regarded by the organization for his defensive skills. And at 6-4, 212 he has the size too. After going plus-42 over the last two AHL seasons, the 15th overall pick from 2010 is ready to make the jump. And with Regehr having retired – the perfect role is now available.
Fantasy Outlook – A low-scoring team that may or may not make the playoffs. Is that appealing? Sure, we all love Anze Kopitar for his consistency and reliable health. And Toffoli is an up-and-coming star. Of course Drew Doughty is one of the best defensemen in the game – but in this system, is he even a Top 20 rearguard in fantasy hockey? Throw in a below-average prospect pipeline and an injury-prone goaltender and I see myself making little effort to acquire players from the Kings.
Fantasy Grade: C- (last year was B+)