If, as expected, the Kings stay with the same lineup tonight that they used in Raleigh, that means Alec Martinez stays in and Slava Voynov stays out on defense. It’s an interesting decision by Darryl Sutter. In nine games after returning from injury, Voynov had only one assist, but he showed good poise and rarely made a notable mistake. Martinez, though, also has offensive potential, is two years older than Voynov and was a lineup regular last season. Sutter said his decision to stay with Martinez doesn’t reflect dissatisfaction with Voynov.
SUTTER: “It’s like when we took Marty out, Marty was playing real good. Slava was playing really good. Slava just turned 22. When we’re playing against teams, he doesn’t even know the other players. We’re trying to talk to him. As soon as he learns the league better, he’s an awesome young player, and if we were in a different position, he would be in the lineup. It’s simple. He’s not being taken out of the lineup because he’s not playing well. It’s the same thing when Marty went out. We’re putting a little bit of pressure on our three veteran defensemen to be better players. Willie has been pretty darn good. It doesn’t matter where you play him or how you use him. He’s been pretty darn good. But we known that Robbie (Scuderi) and Greener [Matt Greene] can both be better players for us.
“That’s coming at the expense of one of those young kids not being in the lineup. I’m sort of walking the line there with that. It’s like I tell those kids, I don’t see them as 6 or 7 guys (on the depth chart), and they can’t see themselves as that. They have to see themselves like they’re going to become No. 4, No. 5 defensemen. They’re good kids and they work at it. They’re good players. Slava, he’s a kid. He just has to learn the consistency of the NHL. Every night, it’s a tough thing.’’