Hollywood as a hockeytown

The Kings could be a destination for elite free agents (finally)

Originally Published: June 21, 2010
By Philip Myrland and E.J. Hradek | Puck Prospectus and ESPN The Magazine
Drew DoughtyTom Szczerbowski/US PresswireDoughty is elite, but as a result, the Kings need to save money to re-sign him.

Plugging Holes -- Los Angeles Kings

The Hole: A penalty-killing forward

Is this the destination for Ilya Kovalchuk? Maybe, but with the KHL still calling his name it's tough to say with certainty if he'll even be available to NHL teams on July 1. So while the Kings are perceived as the favorites to land Kovalchuk's services if he stays stateside, here's another area the team can address.

The Kings were a solid team at even-strength in 2009-10, and their power play ranked seventh in the regular season before scoring at a ridiculous 38.5 percent clip in the playoffs against the Vancouver Canucks. The biggest area of weakness was the team's 20th-ranked penalty kill. With several key penalty killers on the squad facing unrestricted free agency (Sean O'Donnell, Jeff Halpern, Fredrik Modin and Alexander Frolov), the Kings need to shore up that unit for 2010-11.

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.