"Training wheels are off" for experienced Kings - LA Kings Insider

The Los Angeles Kings will potentially lose three of their four oldest players from the 2014-15 team in Justin Williams and Jarret Stoll, who are unrestricted free agents, and Robyn Regehr, who has stated his intent to retire. That would make Marian Gaborik, 33, the oldest player under contract for next season.

That’s not a bad thing. Of those currently under contract for 2015-16, 17 players have had their name etched on the Stanley Cup at least once, so it’s not as if there will all of a sudden be a dearth of leadership in the Kings’ room. The Kings also have several players in Manchester capable of stepping up to compete for a presence on next year’s Kings team.

But Darryl Sutter has repeatedly discussed his partiality towards older players like Regehr, who are, as he often says, “an extension of the coaching staff.” The Kings don’t have the necessary cap space at this point to seriously consider a swing at an accomplished, experienced free agent, but would that be something they’d consider? Is the importance of bringing in another experienced figure to mesh with this accomplished group something the team is considering?

“That’s the one thing about this group, like I said there, is people forget how young they are, but they’re not young in experience,” General Manager Dean Lombardi said. “We put these young guys out who are all 27 and younger. They’ve been to the conference finals three times. So that’s all experience is. We’re incredibly fortunate to have players, that many, 27 and under that have been through those wars. So, in a way, they are veteran. It’s just that they don’t have the mileage, which is exciting for us. And as far as the Robyns, I totally agree. We all know how important those guys were to the process. But there is also a time for – what I talked about earlier – there is enormous growth potential with Kopitar, Doughty, Quick, Carter and Muzzin and all these kids. They’ve seen how Robyn Regehr conducted himself. Now it’s your turn, and no doubt it’s time. That’s essentially where you always wanted to get, right? What I said earlier, your best players are your hardest workers and take over the room. And they have a chance to do that with two Stanley Cups under their belt. They’re still growing as human beings, and deep down we all know they’re good kids and they’re not perfect, but I’m expecting big things out of those three (Doughty, Kopitar, Quick) and a number of other ones in that room. In terms of that, I’m expecting these three to come back. They’ve never been at the top of our list in terms of conditioning, and I think that could be the first step for these guys to say, ‘Ok, it’s my turn.’ With these guys, we shouldn’t have to enforce that anymore. That’s kind of the way we look at this. The training wheels are off, it’s your show.”

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left

Bio

Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.
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Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.
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Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

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Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

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Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

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Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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