Kings Midterm Teacher Evaluations (grading the grades)

Not really. I wouldn't presume. It's just easier for me to make sarcastic comments about someone else's grades, than to do my own. Or is it?

In any case, here are some bits of Rudy's evaluation, from the main SBN Los Angeles page, and my comments.

L.A. Kings Midseason Report Card, Part I - SB Nation Los Angeles


Jonathan Bernier: D+

The boy who would be king of the net for the Kings has struggled to find his place in the NHL. Relegated to the back-up role from the beginning of training camp, Bernier has faltered in his ability to play maybe once a week, posting the worst numbers of his career at any level. Bernier similarly struggled when sent to the AHL two years ago before dominating that level last season, so hope is not lost for him; still, he needs to show improvement and let the Kings know that they don't have to rely on only Jonathan Quick.

Presumably, this is all part of his master plan to lull Quick into submission. Quick was stellar early on, when the specter of Bernier loomed largest. Once Bernier faltered, Quick (well, eventually) relaxed and now he's faltering a bit, too. It's all going according to plan...

Dustin Brown: A-


Brown has a minus because the team has been inconsistent and, fair or not, that falls on the captain. Brown is a very efficient player but he needs to do more to lead the team on the ice, not just in front of the microphones.

Since the team seems to be suffering most of all from psychological problems -- give up a goal right after scoring one; give up one goal, may as well give up two; lose one, OH NO, it's a streak, we suck etc. -- a lot of that is on the captain.

Kyle Clifford: B

In Kyle Clifford's first year as a pro and his first year as an NHLer, he has shown pretty much what we all expected: grit, fighting and a touch of offense here and there. Clifford can get confused on his assignments in the defensive zone, and he's still working to keep the cycle going in the offensive zone, but overall he's been a breath of fresh air for a Kings team that has missed a hard-nosed grinder since Ian Lapperierre left. Hopefully Clifford can develop the defensive side of his game and turn himself into a 30-point player in the future.

A year ago they laughed at me (I don't know who "they" are) when I suggested Clifford could make the team this year. Not only has he done that, he's crept up to the third line, and made Westgarth redundant. I would give him a B if he were 22. A+, I say.

Matt Greene: C


Greene got a little time in a top-four role and was not very good. He's much better suited to play mentor to a young player in the bottom role and that's great, but it's probably a role the Kings could fill for less than $3 million a season. By 27, I think the Kings were hoping Greene would be ready for more.

Presumably he will ride out his contract and be replaced by one or both of Colten Teubert or Derek Forbort. Has there ever been anyone named Sixbart?

Michal Handzus: C-


A big part of Handzus' diminished production this season is the loss of Alexander Frolov; Frolov was excellent at holding the puck for 5-10 seconds in the offensive zone, allowing Handzus time to get into the zone and get in front of the net. Handzus is still a relatively productive defensive center, but his years shutting down top opposition has probably passed.

Does this mean I have to revise my unexamined belief that he re-signs with the Kings at a discount?

Peter Harrold: A

Peter Harrold is not very good at hockey. He's not strong, he's pretty small, he doesn't have much skill. Still, he does everything he's asked and he's never once complained for ice time. Screw it, I'm giving him an A.

Two things about Peter Harrold. He is the most willing of any King this side of Oscar Moller to give up his body to make a play, or even not to make a play. He just does not seem to mind getting crushed. I love this about him. The second thing is, he sits on the shelf for so long that people's memories of him degrade into a general feeling of suckiness, so when he actually suits up, people are surprised how good he is.

Bonus third thing: I seem to recall a behind-the-scenes video in which he was funny.

Jack Johnson: B+


The only reason he doesn't have an A is because he still needs to improve on the defensive side of the puck just a little bit more.

I will say though, that there have been a handful of times this season where he's made an excellent defensive play as the only man back on an outnumbered attack. He's using his offensive chops (speed, lateral agility, timing) to surprise opposing forwards who have the puck. If he can bottle that, he can win a Norris.

Anze Kopitar: A


He's on pace for 90 points this season and has so far been able to carry the load as one of the few offensive players with flair on the Kings.

He's on pace for 29 goals. That's not good enough.

Trevor Lewis: B


Lewis never did find his offensive touch and he's most likely going to be a bottom-six grinder in his career, but his quickness and defensive ability will get him a job for years to come.

He does have some skills though, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him score 20 a couple of times. I think his upside is a variation of Jarret Stoll. I prefer the ideal of Trevor Lewis because I think he has more "moves." He is a better version of Brad Richardson, which is probably why he's getting Richardson's minutes.

LA Kings Midseason Report Card, Part II - SB Nation Los Angeles

Alec Martinez: B

Alec Martinez is probably the sixth or even seventh highest rated defenseman in the Kings' prospect pool, yet he's the one surviving in the NHL.

Well, because he's the oldest and has the most (minor) pro experience. Viatcheslav Voynov, Thomas Hickey, and Nicolas Deslauriers all overlap with Martinez's smallish/speedy/offensive-defenseman skill-set (with Jake Muzzin and Derek Forbort being hybrids, by my way of thinking), but none of them is ready. Kevin Gravel, Colten Teubert and Andrew Campbell are have a different job description. Muzzin appears to be sort of a year behind Martinez; he had his handful of games to get his feet wet, like Martinez did last year. I am impressed by Martinez's confidence and growth this year compared to last. I had more or less written him off as the most likely to be dealt (there's simply no way Hickey, Voynov, Martinez, Doughty and Johnson are going to be five of our top six). Now it's a crap-shoot. One of Hickey, Voynov or Martinez will have to get traded at some point. Which one?

Brad Richardson: C-

[...] He [...] might find himself on another team if the Kings decide to make a move at the trade deadline.


Rob Scuderi: A

I also wanted to add that Scuderi, of all the Kings, makes the weirdest woman. Or is that, the most believable serial killer? I'm too lazy to dig up pictures of that Ryan Smyth wig hootenanny at El Segundo, but I know you know what I'm talking about.

Jarret Stoll: C-

His shoulders remind me of Sonny Corleone.

Marco Sturm: Incomplete

He even got into a fight (the first of his career) in his last game.

That fight single-handedly gives him the benefit of the doubt for the rest of the season, in my book.

Kevin Westgarth: F

I called this one. Why anyone with nine games of NHL experience was given the "his spot to lose" designation is beyond me. He's pretty much lost it by now, hasn't he?

Justin Williams: A

You have to worry, however, about the toll a full season will have on his body. He hasn't played over 50 games in five years.

No, see. He's rested.