Mueller's Minutes - The Numbers Game
Kimberly Mueller has been with the Monarchs since September 2003 and serves as the team's Vice President of Public Affairs. She is currently on assignment in Los Angeles for the Kings 2013 Training Camp. Mueller's Minutes is a daily blog that will give Monarchs Country an insider's look into their favorite hockey team as the players fight for a roster spot with the Kings and prepare for the upcoming season.
The big question every year in Training Camp is who will be in Los Angeles and who will be in Manchester? Well, from a team standpoint, I do not want to blatantly call out players that will likely be in Manchester for two reasons: one, it is not my place to tell players if they will be in Manchester and not in Los Angeles, and two, I am not the one that makes player personnel decisions. With that being said, let us take a look at some things we do know.
We can start on goaltending. There are seven goaltenders participating in the Kings’ Training Camp. Jonathan Quick is obviously the Kings No. 1 netminder. His back-up is a question mark though. The front runners are Ben Scrivens, Mathieu Garon and Martin Jones. Also playing well are Jean-Francois Berube, Mathias Niederberger and Patrik Bartosak. It will be interesting to see who earns the roll as Quick’s back-up and how that trickles down to the two netminders in Manchester. Your thoughts?
On defense, the players who have been in Manchester have the opposite problem. The Kings have nine defensemen on one-way contracts for roughly seven roster spots. Drew Doughty, Keaton Ellerby, Matt Green, Alec Martinez, Willie Mitchell, Jake Muzzin, Robyn Regehr, Jeff Schultz and Slava Voynov have all rightfully earned their spots in Los Angeles’ line-up. So who are the two players that do not make the cut and where do they go following camp? They can be assigned to Manchester but they will have to clear waivers. Another option would be for the Kings to trade them. Unfortunately, for the players who were in Manchester last season, there really is no wiggle room for them to crack the Kings roster if everyone is healthy. They are fighting in camp for the possibility of a call-up during the season when someone gets injured.
Finally, let us take a look at the forwards. Dustin Brown, Daniel Carcillo, Jeff Carter, Kyle Clifford, Colin Fraser, Matt Frattin, Dwight King, Anze Kopitar, Trevor Lewis, Jordan Nolan, Mike Richards, Jarret Stoll and Justin Williams are the players who were regulars in the Kings line-up last season or were traded to the team in the off-season. With 13 players that have proven they are NHL players, does that leave room in the line-up for any of the Monarchs players?
I know I did not give you any answers but I hope I have given you plenty to think about. Anything is possible and anyone can crack the Kings line-up but some positions may be tougher than others. The upcoming exhibition games are going to be very important for our Monarchs players.
I also talked with new Monarchs General Manager Rob Blake today and I learned some interesting facts about the new boss. Blake took a trip to Manchester last February for his son’s hockey tournament and attended a Monarchs game. It turns out that not only was that his first Monarchs game but it was his first minor league game. His impressions of Manchester were great ones from the friendly fans to the energetic arena to the exciting game. He is planning on coming out to Manchester for a week to 10 days each month and one of the highlights for Blake this season will be his first bus trip. He went straight from Bowling Green State University to playing for the Kings so he never played a game in the minors. It will be interesting to hear his thoughts on life in the minor leagues once the season begins.