Kings Depth Chart (3): Bottom-six Wingers
- (Wayne Simmonds) -- obviously, Simmonds will get a new contract and continue at RW3.
- Kevin Westgarth -- yes, he did well(-ish) in the playoffs, but I don't know if that justifies him taking up a roster spot next year. I'm guessing Terry Murray thinks so and feels vindicated in his decision to dress Westgarth in lieu of higher-skilled players all season and post-season. Maybe he's right. Maybe Westgarth will blossom into another McSorley without the stick. Personally, I hope Jordan Nolan replaces him. I just think he's cooler, better and scarier.
- (Marc-Andre Cliche) -- I can't really gauge where Cliche is in the Kings system right now. He got in a game two seasons ago, was named captain of the Monarchs, and... who knows. Doesn't seem likely to leapfrog Brad Richardson,Trevor Lewis or Scott Parse. Another inj**y replacement.
- [Linden Vey] -- the leading scorer in all of juniors last year. I will be shocked if we don't read about an ELC for him in the next ten days. He's a good two-way player, with (obviously) some offensive upside. I think it's reasonable to give him the leg up on LW4 a couple of years down the road.
- [Nic Dowd] -- I like Nic Dowd. He's from Alabama. His parents are English. He's just finished his freshman year of college.
- [Podge Turnbull] -- or maybe he's a center (too bad, I already posted the centers); had a good season at Wisconsin. Another smallish forward, of which we have many. I haven't done a count of the number of contracts Lombardi will have come 7/1, but my guess is Turnbull will be one of the ones left out.
- Scott Parse* -- really a top-six winger (and covered as such), Parse will go into camp fighting for the LW spot not taken by Dustin Penner, Ryan Smyth and Kyle Clifford. He will have competition.
- ((Alexei Ponikarovsky)) -- Murray mentioned re-signing him a couple of weeks ago, but I don't see how this is really possible, either cap-wise (he's not going to want to sign at a steep discount, is he?), or in terms of personnel, with Parse, Clifford, Penner and Smyth already signed. Even if Lombardi thinks Poni is a better option than Parse, economically it doesn't make sense to go with Poni. The Kings need the cap space.
- Kyle Clifford -- there is little doubt that KC has laid claim to LW3 or LW4 for the foreseeable future. I really want to see Clifford / Brayden Schenn / Dustin Brown in 2012 (Jarret Stoll is in the way of my dream for now, but I can wait).
- Dwight King -- a big body with some skill; put up good numbers in Manchester this season; had an unimpressive cup of coffee with the Kings this year, under utterly impossible conditions. I would not be surprised to see him make the team as LW4 this fall. Depends in part on how the other big bodies (Kevin Westgarth, Jordan Nolan) and pests (Rich Clune, John Zeiler) do.
- (Rich Clune) -- with Zeiler a UFA and Clune an RFA, I guess we'll get a better sense of Lombardi's assessment of these two in the next few weeks.
- Ray Kaunisto -- a big body a la Dwight King, but without the numbers to recommend him.
- (David Meckler) -- honestly, I have no idea. But even if he were NHL-ready, would he get the nod over Zeiler or Clune?
Bottom-Six: What I Expect
Parse - Stoll - Simmonds
Clifford - Lewis - Westgarth
Bottom-Six: What I Would Like*
Penner - Stoll - Simmonds
Clifford - Schenn - Lewis
*subject to change at whim.