The Kings off-season has been b.o.r.i.n.g. Thankfully it coincided with my hectic personal summer so I feel like the off-season has been flying by without feeling like I've been missing out on all the fun. The NHL Entry Draft came and went without much fanfare. The Kings did not hold a Draft party this season for season ticket holders something I attribute to the crappy economy but was probably due to the Kings not wanting to give off the impression that having a high Draft pick is something to celebrate year after year since, of course, that would mean that the Kings still suck. The Kings aren't exactly in the top half of the league but the team is slowly getting there and hopefully next year's Draft will be even less of an event for Kings fans than the 2009 Draft.
Even without the fanfare of the 2008 Draft, I doubt the majority of Kings fans were that upset with the selection of forward Brayden Schenn. Personally, I was satisfied. There’s nothing wrong with stacking the farm system, and eventually the roster, with young quality players.
Braaaaayyyyy-den Schenn…yes, I am a jerk
The Ryan Smyth trade was definitely a huge surprise to me and, it's probably safe to say, to most Kings fans as well. In fact, that was the only surprise of the off-season but it wasn't a complete downer for the Kings community considering the Kings pretty much gave up only Kyle Quincey to acquire Smyth. One could argue that the Kings lost additional manpower since someone named Tom Preissing was also involved in the mix but he was barely on the roster last season so he will hardly be missed. The Kings have a lot of depth on the blueline so while Quincey was a dominant and productive player last year, sadly he was expendable.
The Kings made a couple other small moves, including letting go of Connie's true love, Matt Moulson and trading away Brian Boyle, who has progressed so slowly that the Kings should be given credit for giving him a chance for as long as they did. Teddy Purcell signed for an additional year and several other small fries also remained in the system.
Jack MF Johnson was the big name to re-sign this off-season and THANK GOD negotiations were completed before the start of the season (*cough*Sully*cough*). I found out about this transaction when Connie texted me while I was on my honeymoon. Yep, I got married this summer; I am officially the ball and chain. Anyway, I had been worried all summer long that Jack would get re-signed to a ridiculously unnecessary contract that he didn't deserve. I am not a fan of long contracts and paying athletes for their potential so I was slightly worried that Dean Lombardi would succumb to what seems to becoming the norm in NHL contracts. However, Deano proved why he's so f'ing awesome and came to an agreement with Jack on a two-year deal with an annual cap hit of $1.425 million. I wrote a bit about the Jack re-signing here, but overall, Jack still has a lot to prove so the contract is very telling of what Jack has done for the Kings and what he needs to do in order to be paid the big bucks. It also gives both sides an out in case one or both parties are unhappy with what will happen over the next two years.
So that's it! Boring, right? I know. I live in LA where hockey news is incredibly scarce in local news. I was recently in Minnesota and spent a couple hours at the Mall of America to kill off time before my flight back to LA. I came across the Minnesota Wild Team store and so badly wanted to buy something just because I was hockey starved. I don't care about the Wild but I wanted to buy something hockey related and be near to it. Alas, I didn't step into the store in fear of what I might do. Hockey, please come back now.