Kings still looking for answers at left wing
Imagine a day where the Kings get to the point where they don’t have deep concerns about their issues at left wing.
That day remains far off.
But at least Kings Coach Darryl Sutter has settled on one promising combination, putting newcomer and left wing Matt Frattin with center Mike Richards and right wing Jeff Carter. Frattin arrived this summer from Toronto, along with goaltender Ben Scrivens, in the trade that sent goaltender Jonathan Bernier to the Maple Leafs.
Tuesday was their third exhibition together as the Kings beat the Ducks, 2-1, at Staples Center. Scoring for the Kings were Justin Williams and Anze Kopitar. Rookie defenseman Hampus Lindholm had the Ducks’ goal.
“I’m still up in the air on our left wing, perfectly honest,” Sutter said after Tuesday’s morning skate. “The only guy that appears he is set where he is going to play is Frattin. ... After that, I’ll let it just play out.”
Left wing Dustin Brown, who plays with Williams on a line centered by Kopitar, has been injured most of camp, and it will be a tight race for him to be ready for the season opener Oct. 3.
“Well, there’s options, but you also have a roster,” Sutter said. "…Quite honest, they all can’t play. So if we were healthy going into the season, there’s Dwight King, Kyle Clifford, Dan Carcillo. They’re all not going to be in the lineup.”
Frattin described moving to the left side and trying to mesh with Richards and Carter.
“They kind of react off each other,” he said. “Myself, it’s a little ‘thinking’ right now. You want to get to that stage where you react to certain plays and you don’t have to think about it. … I’m still thinking about it because it’s still all new. As time goes on, you’ll start reacting and it’ll come a lot quicker.”
Said Richards: “It’s obviously an adjustment for him to play the left side, getting the pucks on his backhand all the time. For the first three, four days, it was an adjustment for him and for me too. I like playing with him. He talks a lot on the ice. He makes it easy for Jeff and I to know where he is, which makes it easier to get comfortable.”
The Ducks signed their first-round draft pick, defenseman Shea Theodore, to a three-year, entry-level contract.
The 18-year-old from British Columbia led the Ducks in ice time Sunday against Colorado, playing just over 22 minutes. Theodore, picked 26th in June, is due to earn $925,000 annually in the NHL or $70,000 if he is on an American Hockey League roster.
He could conceivably start the season with the Ducks because of the glut of injuries hitting their defense.
Times staff writer Lance Pugmire contributed to this report.
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