With just less than months remaining in the NHL season, the Kings and Ducks continue to be solidly in the postseason race, hoping to be section of the 16-crew industry in pursuit of the Stanley Cup.
The Kings (29-19-7) are at present in 2nd position in the Pacific Division with 65 points. The Ducks (26-21-9) are in fifth in the Pacific with 61 details. The points gap among the 2nd and 10th teams in the Western Convention was only 9.
In this roundtable moderated by Moments hockey editor Hans Tesselaar, Instances columnist (and Hockey Hall of Fame honoree) Helene Elliott was joined by Situations staffers Curtis Zupke (previous beat writer for each teams), Jim Barrero (a Kings time-seat holder) and Nick Leyva (a longtime Ducks supporter) to talk about how the season may possibly enjoy out for the Southland rivals.
We have questioned this issue all season, so let’s hold the custom heading. Are the Kings and/or the Ducks likely to make the playoffs?
Elliott: The Kings surface to be in much better place to make the playoffs than the Ducks are, though you’d in no way know it from the Kings’ past two video games. Arthur Kaliyev has provided the Kings with much-desired offense.
Zupke: I’ll adhere with my before prediction that the Kings will get in. With the way the division is shaping up, I just really do not see the two generating it.
Barrero: I want to think the Kings will be the workforce to make it primarily based on recent perform, the previous two games notwithstanding. The Ducks appear to be to have far too a lot of other groups to defeat at this point. I wouldn’t have mentioned this a month or two in the past.
Elliott: The Edmonton Oilers are making up a good deal of the games that experienced been postponed previously this year, and while their goaltending is nevertheless weak, it is challenging to consider they won’t make it.
Leyva: A handful of roundtables back, I consider most of us mentioned the Ducks would make the postseason but not the Kings. I consider at this stage it may possibly be the other way all over. It was a wonderful earn above Boston the other night time but the Ducks look to be getting rid of steam. Moreover, the teams they’re chasing all have two, three or 4 games in hand. The Kings just look designed for the extended run.
The trade deadline is March 21. Do you assume either crew to be active? And are they buyers or sellers?
Elliott: Nick, I’m wanting to know if new GM Pat Verbeek will take into account a coaching alter, or hold out until eventually just after the season. I never see the Ducks becoming consumers they have to make a decision if they will re-indication Hampus Lindholm. Rickard Rakell and Josh Manson, much too. I could see them advertising.
Leyva: The Kings will most absolutely be prospective buyers. Pat Verbeek will have a difficult final decision to make if the Ducks are wherever close to rivalry afterwards this month. But they do seem to be like sellers to me as well, Helene.
Barrero: I said this prior to, especially when it arrives to the Ducks. There’s no require to make any drastic moves to make the staff far better now, but if someone comes together with an provide you cannot refuse, then probably. The Kings are in an interesting spot acquiring moved up the standings the way they have, and certain, a scorer would be pleasant, but once more, I’m not all set to mortgage the potential for a probability now. If Alex Edler returns quickly, that could be a boost on defense. Up coming period, this strategy improvements for the Kings.
Zupke: The Kings? Certainly. The Ducks? I tend to imagine they’ve deserved to be given a prospect with some help. But, as Helene and Nick place out, this is a major choice for Verbeek and large amount of peripheral roster decisions to be built. That last Kings-Ducks recreation was telling: The Kings seemed like they have an id. The Ducks looked slim and not quite there still.
Elliott: Superior position, Jim . I believe for the Kings, it is crucial to make the playoffs to continue to keep followers delighted and also give younger players some encounter with the pressure of postseason enjoy. Following year has to be the calendar year for a significant press. This year, get their ft wet.
Who is the Kings’ No. 1 goalie? Is it two-time Stanley Cup winner Jonathan Speedy? Or Cal Petersen, who was anticipated to be the team’s prime goalie at the start off of the period?
Elliott: Admittedly, I haven’t been about the Kings very much this year, but I’m disappointed that Petersen has not stepped up. He started off their period opener, which appeared symbolic of a torch-passing. As a substitute, he’s gotten torched a few as well many times.
Leyva: I assume if the playoffs started out tomorrow, you would have to go with expertise and resume, and that means Rapid. But I believe the Kings would not be reluctant to get Petersen in there if Speedy struggles.
Zupke: A few of years back, when Petersen briefly seemed like the guy, there was a sensation of handing the baton to him. But administration was not persuaded, and they were appropriate. It’s nonetheless Fast.
Barrero: Properly, the way each have played, they absolutely haven’t manufactured it uncomplicated to respond to. Of system, it was Brief the initially three months of the time, but I like what I’ve found from Petersen recently. If the Kings make the playoffs, and if Petersen does not have a serious drop-off, then possibly he’s your selection, likely along with the mentality that Helene described about getting younger players’ ft wet.
We described Pat Verbeek a couple of minutes back. He turned the Ducks’ GM exactly a thirty day period ago. How do you count on his style to be different to that of his predecessor Bob Murray?
Elliott: Really good issue. I’ve asked for an job interview with Verbeek to get a perception of what his philosophy will be and what his views are. Bob Murray was old boys club, aged faculty. I consider Verbeek is youthful adequate to embrace and use analytics.
Leyva: So considerably, I have not witnessed him do much tinkering with what Murray had set up this year. He appears to be like he will be incredibly deliberate in what moves he would make. Question me again on March 22, and we’ll know more.
Barrero: It looks any time a new GM arrives in, you’d imagine he’d want to make a splash. But Verbeek wants to be cautious and not be way too hasty in seeking results appropriate away. The Ducks have so quite a few fantastic youthful gamers, it appears to be persistence is necessary. And centered on the contrasts amongst the two that Helene explained earlier mentioned, I consider Verbeek will be prudent.
Elliott: The Ducks do have a whole lot of younger expertise. There must be a Trevor Zegras channel. I’d subscribe.
Zupke: He’s worth the cost of admission alone.
Zegras leads to the upcoming dilemma. Aside from the top rated rookie-of-the-yr candidate, title just one youngster on both crew who has stood out to you.
Elliott: Does Adrian Kempe depend as a youngster right after waiting around so lengthy for him to satisfy his assure? Kaliyev has had some good times currently.
Barrero: For the Kings, the evident remedy may be Arthur Kaliyev, who has played in each and every sport, arrived at 10 objectives for the season recently and is only 20. But I’ll add that Sean Durzi has been actually exciting to view this year on protection. I wasn’t sure what to anticipate, but he has some creative imagination in his game that has created me acquire discover.
(Kempe is only 25, so sure he counts.)
Zupke: Isac Lundestrom has started to arrive on and actually be noticeable for the Ducks. I concur with Jim about Durzi. I did not see him coming in and grabbing a work on the Kings’ blue line.
Elliott: Superior choose, Jim Barrero. I’d neglected Durzi. I’m nevertheless jet-lagged from the Beijing Olympics.
Leyva: Mason McTavish, where by have you gone? I guess there is some underlying motive why they really do not bring him up, but the nine game titles he did participate in in Anaheim, I was definitely impressed. I was heading to say Kempe, much too. He plays like a veteran and normally would seem to be in the suitable spot at the proper time on the ice.
Elliott: McTavish did have a superior start out with the Ducks. I was hoping to see much more of him at the Olympics but he did not really stand out.
Let’s go back to Zegras. Just after he went scoreless in opposition to the Kings and Islanders, his coach, Dallas Eakins, explained: “I feel Z is finding a ton of awareness out there now. They are taking part in extremely shut to him and carrying out every thing they can do to get him off his recreation.” In his next sport, he had the match-successful intention and an support towards Boston. What did that tell you about Zegras?
Barrero: It tells me he’s the true offer. But I really don’t feel I necessary to be certain of that based mostly on what he experienced currently performed. Great players uncover a way to adapt to the nuances of what other teams throw at them, and so considerably Zegras is passing people checks, and I visualize he will go on to do so.
Elliott: I consider it says he finds ways to get past hurdles, that he’s confident in his match and very established. A foreseeable future staff captain.
Leyva: That tells me he’s up to fulfill all challenges in this league. Zegras has that instinct for the video game and I assume that will avert him from slipping into any extended slumps in his job.
Zupke: Can we discuss about his “Dodgeball” outfit at the All-Star expertise competition? I just enjoy this kid’s enthusiasm for the game. Conquer writers made use of to joke that the Ducks are The Most Intriguing Group, like the Dos Equis industrial. He definitely satisfies the Ducks in that way.
Barrero: The “Dodgeball” outfit built me an quick lover.
Elliott: So correct! I pass up the times of Teemu [Selanne] and “same hand” …
The Kings and Ducks have every single missed the playoffs the last three seasons. Set your reporter’s intuition aside and notify me how substantially enjoyable this time has been.
Elliott: There have been some magnificent (Zegras) times. Some motives to think the Kings are on the correct route. Both equally groups remain inconsistent, which reflects a absence of depth and it’s possible leadership, but it’s fun to consider at the very least a single of them will be enjoying when it issues.
Barrero: As a Kings supporter, this season has been a enjoyable surprise (regardless of the 7- reduction to the Bruins that I endured in individual). In the greater photograph, it’s wonderful to see the neighborhood teams participating in game titles against each individual other that suggest something once more. If we can assure that just about every year, it will always be enjoyment.
Zupke: I glance at it now as two teams with truly interesting younger players . (If I were being however on the defeat, I wouldn’t treatment for the restricted accessibility that comes with the pandemic simply because you truly just can’t get to know a team that way.) Our local pucksters aren’t likely to challenge, say, the Avalanche, but they are earning it interesting.
Leyva: When the time started out, I arrived into it with really low anticipations for both equally groups. I figured they may be battling for Pacific Division basement honors, to be truthful. So this has been a breath of contemporary air and a enjoyable surprise to say the least. There is hope nonetheless for California hockey!