2010-2011 NHL Season: How Offseason Moves Have Made the LA Kings A Contender

Finally, after years of high draft picks and a lack of playoff hockey, the Kings are poised to be a contender.  The outlook is positive for the Los Angeles Kings right now.   This off-season was a little bit of an enigma.  There was a lot of anticipation regarding Ilya Kovalchuk and all of the skills that he brings to the table.  While the Kovalchuk signing never panned out, let's take a look at a few of the key moves that Dean Lombardi made during the summer.


Signed Willie Mitchell to a two-year deal worth $7 million. Signed Alexei Ponikarovsky to a one-year deal worth $3 million. Let Alex Frolov go (he proceeded to sign with the Rangers)  

Those are the three big events that described the 2010 off-season for the Kings.  Each of these things has played a part in the Kings becoming a contender this season.  It's a change in culture and a desire to win.  Willie Mitchell is one of the premier shut down players in the entire league.  Players like him don't come along all the time.  If Willie can remain healthy, this signing could be looked at as the biggest steal of the summer.  Had it not been for the concussion that nearly destroyed his hockey career, Mitchell could have easily demanded Dan Hamhuis money or Anton Volchenkov money.  Dean Lombardi took a risk, but the potential rewards are incredible.  What will Willie bring to the Kings?  He will bring leadership, and a calming presence on the blue line.  You could see it in Vancouver, he helped shape the Canucks' younger D-men.  Liken it to the Sean O'Donnell/Drew Doughty situation.  Willie has the opportunity to be incredibly instrumental in the development of this young Los Angeles team.  The second thing, a calming presence, is perhaps even more important.  Willie always makes the smart and safe play.  No team can have enough guys like Willie.  Often we w...

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