Six weeks after he injured his groin in the Kings’ preseason opener, Scott Parse will get to make his season debut tomorrow night against Tampa Bay. Parse will make that debut not on the second line, where he was penciled in at the start of training camp, but on the first line with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. Terry Murray had a straightforward answer about why Parse is playing where he is.
MURRAY: “I’m not going to change the Stoll line. Ryan Smyth and Stoll and Williams have been a good line, and I’m not going to tamper with that. They’re going to stay the same. Parse, to me, is a player who brings you some offensive play. He showed some spectacular play last year at times, some great goals. He needs to play on your top two lines, and that’s where he’s going.”
Williams, Stoll and Smyth rank first, second and fifth, respectively, on the team in points, but Parse showed a scoring touch as well last season, with 11 goals and 13 assists in 59 games. He will become the Kings’ fourth first-line left winger this season, following Smyth, Andrei Loktionov and Brad Richardson. I asked Kopitar today about his new linemate…
KOPITAR: “He’s got a great shot and good hockey sense. He can make plays. That’s what you need in order to make it to the NHL, first and foremost, and then playing on one of the top lines. It will be interesting to see. I played with him a few times last year, not a whole lot though. I’m sure we might need a little time to get used to each other, and obviously with Brownie too, but we’ll see what happens.”
Parse’s ability to finish might be a particular bonus for Kopitar, in terms of his playmaking skills and the amount of space he will get on the ice from defenders if Parse shows himself to be a scoring threat. Kopitar said Parse’s finishing ability could give the line a boost.
KOPITAR: “Absolutely. He showed that last year, and also he showed playmaking ability last year, which is good. I think he’s going to be a good addition to our line. Hopefully we can click, score some goals and get our confidence and go from there.”