Copper and Blue: The acquisition of Milan Lucic was one of the bigger moves made during the offseason. How has Lucic performed so far this year, and do you see the Kings resigning him?
Jewels From The Crown: Lucic was a frustrating acquisition for me, both because of what we gave up and the fact that he was ostensibly replacing Justin Williams. He had no legit hope of filling those shoes. He had a very tough start to the season, which very much heightened those feelings of frustration. However, he's been better since being put alongside Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli, who have been excellent. As far as re-signing him goes, very tough to say this early on. The Kings have to think about re-signing Kopitar and then re-signing Toffoli again a year from now. I would grade it as unlikely.
C&B: Last year, the Kings narrowly missed the playoffs. Do you realistically think that the team will miss them again, or will they be the Kings of years past once?
JFTC: I think it would be incredibly surprising if the Kings miss the playoffs again. Given that they missed largely due to a poor shootout record, and shootouts should be less of a factor this season, I think the Kings will be fine. Couple that with an incredibly weak Pacific division and the expected regression of teams like Vancouver and Calgary, and the Kings should be just fine. On top of that, they're still an excellent team. They're not incredibly different from the teams that won the Cup and they don't have anchors like Rob Scuderi or Robyn Regehr weighing them down.
C&B: Outside of Kopitar and Carter, the Kings seem to be lacking at the centre position. Do you think this is a big concern moving forward?
JFTC: I think center depth is a concern, but not a huge one. I think, in general, their center depth has been overrated the past few years with Jarret Stoll and Mike Richards. Those were both decent players at times, but not over the past two seasons. One of our writers even surmised that Jarret Stoll might have been one of the 10 least valuable players in the NHL last season. The Kings have time to give young players like Nick Shore or Jordan Weal an extended look on the third line, and Trevor Lewis is fine on the 4th line. They need more depth scoring, for sure, but that isn't just limited to the center position. Their centers are probably better than their wingers.