In each of the previous two seasons, the Kings identified, in training camp, a young player who they hoped would be able to fill a top-six role. It didn’t work out either time. Will the third time be a charm?
In 2008, the Kings broke camp with Matt Moulson on the first line. Last year, it was Teddy Purcell with a second-line role. Neither player ended up even playing a full season with the Kings, although Moulson went on to have success with the Islanders last season.
Now, enter Scott Parse, who will get an opportunity to fill the second-line left-wing role, alongside center Jarret Stoll and right winger Justin Williams. As a rookie last season, Parse had 11 goals and 13 assists in 59 games, including a plus-13 rating, even though he played irregular minutes, often on the fourth line.
Now 26, Parse still needs to overcome questions about consistency and defensive play, but he will get a chance to play a high-profile role.
“When he was in and out of the lineup last year, and as a practice player, he showed me a lot,” coach Terry Murray said. “I liked some of the highlight-reel goals that he scored. He’s a very high-skilled player, and I think he needs that opportunity to be successful to fail. He’s going to be there on the left side with Stoll, right now, and Williams on the right. I think the line has great potential. They’ve got a good mind for the game, and I hope he comes out on the right side and is going to be very successful.
“He needs to gain my trust. He needs to show me that he can bring that every day, in practice and games, so that I can trust him, to keep going with him, and he can respond to that challenge. I’m going to give him the opportunity.”
Parse said that coaches hadn’t stressed anything in particular to him at the start of camp.
“Not really, but I know what I have to do,” Parse said. “He [Murray] talked to me last year about what I need to do, to compete hard and be consistent, and I think if I do that, playing with good players, I think I can have a good year. … I’d like to be a better player and have a bigger role on this team, and that’s what I’m looking to do this year. If I do that, be consistent, I think I should have a good year.”