There looks to be some extra room up among the forwards, with only ten forwards on the Summer roster at the beginning of camp, while there should be an audition spot on the blueline, as Matt Greene recovers from off-season shoulder surgery.
|Anze Kopitar||Drew Doughty||Jonathan Quick|
|Dustin Brown||Jack Johnson||Erik Ersberg|
|Ryan Smyth||Willie Mitchell|
|Alex Ponikarovsky||Rob Scuderi|
|Jarret Stoll||Matt Greene|
|Michal Handzus||Davis Drewiske|
|Wayne Simmonds||Peter Harrold|
|Justin Azevedo||Andrew Campbell||Jonathan Bernier|
|Marc-Andre Cliche||Alec Martinez||Jeff Zatkoff|
|Richard Clune||Vyacheslav Voynov||J-F Berube|
|Kyle Clifford||Nicolas Deslauriers||Martin Jones|
|Robert Czarnik||Johan Fransson|
|Corey Elkins||Samuel Groulx|
|Bud Holloway||Thomas Hickey|
|Ray Kaunisto||David Kolomatis|
|Dwight King||Patrick Mullen|
|Brandon Kozun||Jacob Muzzin|
|Trevor Lewis||Colten Teubert|
With 10 forwards, seven defense and two goalies on the Summer roster (including Greene, who may be back before 10 games), plus one buyout on the books, the Kings are sitting at $52.3 million in annual cap space taken up. The addition of three or four players could cost the Kings anywhere between $2 and $5 million, which still leaves the team with some flexibility for the rest of the year. Many people are also expecting an upgrade in net, figuring that Bernier will replace Ersberg as the back-up and then challenge Quick for the number one job. That will only be a minor addition to the cap hit, in the $100,000 range.
The Kings still have the trio that scored at an alarming rate in 2010 in Kopitar, Williams and Smyth, but two of the three are injury prone players and may not be what you're after in your hockey pool team. Ponikarovsky is generally good for 50+ points on a bad team like the Leafs and now he'll be getting a full season in with a good skating team like the Kings, so he might be good for a little bit more. I think the stigma of the Leafs is what is going to keep me away from him though.
All in all, I think the Kings should be an alright squad again in 2011, challenging for a playoff spot and maybe even a first round surprise.