Los Angeles Kings’ 2nd Defensive Pairing Could Become Headache in 2014-15

While the Los Angeles Kings’ preseason showings have by and large been promising to this point, they have also revealed the potential for a serious issue.

The team’s second defensive pairing hasn’t been sorted out, and that’s because the candidates for the job alongside Slava Voynov (Brayden McNabb, Robyn Regehr, Jeff Schultz) haven't impressed in the exhibition games.

Since Regehr is running on fumes and coming off his first Stanley Cup, it’s not surprising that he isn’t up to speed. The other two, however, have more to prove yet have disappointed in their battle for minutes.

If one of these three blueliners cannot step up to steady the left side of the unit, L.A.’s defense as a whole could suffer.



As discussed earlier in the offseason, Voynov is hoping to atone for a dreadful 2013-14. His task would become that much taller if McNabb, Regehr and Schultz failed to offer him the defensive insulation he requires.

There’s a shakiness to Voynov’s game that must be mitigated by a positionally sound, stay-at-home complement.

At the moment, none of the three options has looked the part.

McNabb was brought in at last season’s trade deadline to hopefully replace Willie Mitchell—now with the Florida Panthers—on the second pair long term.

General manager Dean Lombardi suggested as much on a conference call after the deal for the 23-year-old was completed:

So that fills a huge hole for us hopefully down the road. The other thing, too, is...he’s already paid some dues in the minors. He showed he’s a top player in the minors and he’s had his cups of coffee in the NHL. He’s closer to being ready than if I had to do a deal and go after a kid that was still in junior hockey to make this deal. We’re really excited to have...

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