Your turn: make your own best-possible Kings team

As fans, we like to ponder what-ifs. What if we hadn't traded x? Why did we let z go? Usually, there's a pretty good reason. But today's exercise is to pretend that anything is possible.

If you were the GM, and the Kings could have any 23 players you want, out of the fairly-long list of players who (1) are still active, and (2) either currently or previously played for the Kings, what would that line-up look like?

Here is who you get to choose from. After the jump, I'll give you my selections.

Alex Frolov Andrei Loktionov Brandon Segal
Alexei Ponikarovsky Anze Kopitar Dustin Brown
Dustin Penner Brad Richardson Jamie Lundmark
Jon Sim Brayden Schenn Jerred Smithson
Josh Green Brian Boyle Justin Williams
Kyle Clifford Eric Belanger Kevin Westgarth
Matt Moulson Jarret Stoll Mark Parrish
Mike Cammalleri Michal Handzus Matt Ellis
Patrick O`Sullivan Mike Richards Oscar Moller
Ryan Smyth Pavol Demitra Teddy Purcell
Scott Parse Trevor Lewis Tom Kostopoulos
Sean Avery Wayne Simmonds
Simon Gagne

Alec Martinez Erik Ersberg
Brad Stuart Jason LaBarbera
Brent Sopel Jonathan Bernier
Drew Doughty Jonathan Quick
Jack Johnson Mathieu Garon
Jake Muzzin
Joe Corvo
Kyle Quincey
Lubomir Visnovsky
Matt Greene
Rob Scuderi
Sean O`Donnell
Tim Gleason
Willie Mitchell

Here's my roster. I'm pretending there's no salary cap, by the way.

Cammalleri - Kopitar - Williams

Gagne - Richards - Brown

Moulson - Stoll - Purcell

Clifford - Lewis - Simmonds

(Penner, Boyle)

Doughty - Johnson

Scuderi - Visnovsky

Quincey - Gleason


Quick - Bernier

Okay, that's not a bad team. You might think Frolov deserves a spot. Maybe you think Penner doesn't. Maybe Matt Greene is a better choice that Quincey or Gleason. Etc. There are lots of ways to go. But it would be hard to argue that's a worse team than what we have currently.

The only problem is, that roster has a cap hit of $77.2 million. Nearly $13MM over the cap. (I figured $7MM for Doughty, by the way; and used the current cap hits of the other players). I know I said I was ignoring the cap for the purpose of the above exercise. But now I'm bringing it back. Because that roster -- in which we got Stoll but kept Lubo, kept Quincey, got Johnson but kept Gleason, got Richards but kept Simmonds, and never traded Cammalleri -- could never be. Even if you wanted to have that much depth (Penner in the press box, etc.), the cap prevents it.

So, how am I going to get this roster down under the cap ceiling? I've got $12.8MM to shed.

  • Okay, I'm getting rid of Penner and Boyle. You can't have $6MM of cap hit sitting in the press box. So they're gone.
  • For the sake of argument, replace them with one $550K forward, doesn't matter who. Say it's Westgarth, because, well, Murray is still the coach, right?
  • $7.3MM, roughly, still left to shed. Sorry, Lubo. Martinez is in, you're out. That's a savings of nearly $5MM right there. Add back in Muzzin as the 7th d, and you've got a salary dump of a little more than $4MM.
  • Still about $3MM left to shed. And since you have to replace that body, the dumped player is going to have to have a cap hit around $3.5-4MM.
  • Gagne, Stoll or Scuderi, perhaps? If it's Scuderi, you could drop in Davis Drewiske. If it's Gagne or Stoll, you could use Brad Richardson.
  • (isn't it starting to look like Cammalleri is messing everything up? Or is it Moulson and Purcell? Yeah, it would be nice to have those two, maybe. But that's $5.5MM in cap hit right there, for those two guys.)
  • I'm going to bite the bullet and say goodbye to Cammalleri, and bring back Penner. That's a savings of $1.75MM, leaving us with $1.25MM to go.
  • Goodbye Quincey, hello Drewiske. Now, we're under the cap. And this is my cap-conscious roster:
Moulson - Kopitar - Williams
Gagne - Richards - Purcell
Penner - Stoll - Brown
Clifford - Lewis - Simmonds
Doughty - Johnson
Scuderi - Martinez
Muzzin - Gleason
Quick - Bernier

And how is that different than what we really have?
  • Moulson and Purcell instead of Richardson and Parse.
  • Gleason and Muzzin instead of Greene and Mitchell.
  • And Simmonds instead of (I'm guessing) Loktionov.
The defense of my fictional team is a bit faster and less experienced. The forwards? Look, if Moulson and Purcell combine for 50 goals this year, that's going to be hard for Parse and Richardson to match. But it's not their jobs to match it. Because those are bottom-six guys for us, and the comparables for Purcell and Moulson on the current Kings team are Penner and Brown -- or Gagne and Williams, depending how you look at it -- and either of those pairs will outscore Moulson/Purcell this season, while playing better on both sides of the puck, and hitting a few people along the way.

So, after all that, I'll stick with what we have. (And wait for Toffoli and Deslauriers.)

Those are my results. What did you come up with?