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Hockey is Back: Kings-Ducks Preview

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Hockey! On your TV!!!

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Jeff Gross

Los Angeles Kings vs. Anaheim Ducks

Time: 7:30 PT

TV: Fox Sports West

Enemy Reading: Anaheim Calling

Ducks Lineup:

Maroon-Kesler-Silfverberg

Noesen-Karlsson-Smith-Pelly

Cogliano-Rakell-Etem

Winchester-Wagner-Jackman

[defensive pairings not yet available]

Gibson

Kings Lineup:

Pearson-Andreoff-Toffoli

Nolan-Shore-King

Clifford-Weal-Cracknell

Sabourin-Horvat-Van der Gulik

Schultz-Martinez

Forbort-Raine

McNabb-Ebert

Jones

Berube

Scratched: Dowd, MacDermid, Miller.

Notes

-The defensive pairings for the Ducks aren't available yet - I'll update when they are. John Gibson is confirmed as the starting goaltender.

-The big storyline for the Ducks is Ryan Kesler's first game in a Ducks uniform. Besides that, keep an eye on William Karlsson and Rickard Rakell - both Swedes are pretty good young center prospects. Rakell seems likely to carve out a role on the Ducks this year.

-Andy Andreoff is not a very exciting prospect for me due to his age (23) and limited scoring ability (just 35 points in 76 AHL games last year). But he's basically certain to make the team, in part because he's not waiver eligible and the Kings would rather not give him away. This is an important opportunity for him to prove he's worthy of some NHL playing time. Centering Pearson and Toffoli is a nice gig.

-Centers Nick Shore and Jordan Weal probably won't make the final roster, but they're the two most intriguing forward prospects. I'm more partial to Weal, who has greater offensive upside (70 points in 76 AHL games for Weal last year, 38 in 68 for Shore). On the other hand, Shore is bigger and has a better defensive reputation. They both have a decent shot of being part of the Kings' future - remember that if Jarret Stoll leaves in unrestricted free agency next offseason, a bottom-six center spot opens up for one of them (or Andreoff). Then again, the Kings might re-sign Stoll for six years. That could happen too.

-A fun chance to see Derek Forbort, Brayden McNabb, and Nick Ebert, who are all decent defensive prospects. It'll be interesting to see how they fare against a Ducks lineup that brought a lot of speed, especially that Cogliano-Rakell-Etem line.

-Hockey is back! Bob and Jim are back! Should be a great time.