Hockey is back!
It was painful, it was unnecessary, it was aggravating and it's over. Now we can all go from offseason mode to regular-season mode.
It's going to be quick as well. The season is scheduled to start on January 19, and training camps open in just a few days.
So, in case you haven't been following the team or forgot or wiped your memory of everything hockey related in a tirade of anger and sadness, here is a brief refresher of the Los Angeles Kings and their depth chart heading into the 2013 season.
Mike Richards - age 27, 2011-12 stats: 74 GP, 18 G, 26 A, 44 PTS, plus-three rating
Jarret Stoll - age 30, 2011-12 stats: 78 GP, 6 G, 15 A, 21 PTS, plus-two rating
Colin Fraser - age 27, 2011-12 stats: 67 GP, 2 G, 6 A, 8 PTS, minus-two rating
In the mix:
Jeff Carter - age 28, 2011-12 stats: 16 GP, 6 G, 3 A, 9 PTS, minus-one rating
Brad Richardson - age 27, 2011-12 stats: 59 GP, 5 G, 3 A, 8 PTS, minus-six rating
Trevor Lewis - age 26, 2011-12 stats: 72 GP, 3 G, 4 A, 7 PTS, minus-three rating
Andrei Loktionov - age 22, 2011-12 stats: 39 GP, 3 G, 4 A, 7 PTS, minus-four rating
Anze Kopitar will likely miss the first few games of the season, which poses the question: Who will play top-line center for the Kings?
Perhaps Mike Richards, but people are forgetting about Jeff Carter, who has played center more than wing throughout his career. Young 21-year-old Linden Vey is scoring at a near point per game pace in the AHL, and the gritty veteran Marc-Andre Cliche could also be a call-up to fill out the bottom lines at some point.
Justin Williams - age 31, 2011-12 stats: 82 GP, 22 G, 37 A, 59 PTS, plus-10 rating
Dustin Brown - age 28, 2011-12 stats: 82 GP, 22 G, 32 A, 54 PTS, plus-18 rating
In the mix:
Jordan Nolan - age 23, 2011-12 stats: 26 GP, 2 G, 2 A, 4 PTS, plus-two rating
Kevin Westgarth - age 28, 2011-12 stats: 25 GP, 1 G, 1 A, 2 PTS, minus-three rating
Jordan Nolan will likely be a solid candidate for the fourth-line right-wing position to start the season; however, the versatility of players like Brad Richardson and Trevor Lewis (listed as centers) could occupy the spot and delay the 2013 start for Nolan.
Also worth noting is the season young Tyler Toffoli is having in Manchester playing right wing. He currently leads the team with 16 goals in 34 games.
Right wing Brandon Kozun, a three-year veteran of the Manchester Monarchs, is also having another solid season with 23 points in 33 games and could be in line for an appearance during the year.
Simon Gagné - age 32, 2011-12 stats: 34 GP, 7 G, 10 A, 17 PTS, minus-one rating
Dustin Penner - age 30, 2011-12 stats: 65 GP, 7 G, 10 A, 17 PTS, minus-seven rating
Dwight King - age 23, 2011-12 stats: 27 GP, 5 G, 9 A, 14 PTS, plus-three rating
In the mix:
Kyle Clifford - age 21, 2011-12 stats: 81 GP, 5 G, 7 A, 12 PTS, minus-five rating
Kyle Clifford played the majority of the 2011-12 regular season, but after an injury during the Vancouver series in the first round of the postseason, he seemingly lost his spot to left wing Dwight King.
Whether Clifford plays himself back into favor will be an interesting storyline to start the season, as will be the health of Simon Gagné.
Overeager 2012 first-round selection Tanner Pearson has been fantastic for the Monarchs in his rookie season. He has 22 points in 34 games in the AHL and already has the body to play at the professional level. His level of success with the Monarchs could prompt some NHL time.
Last but not least, it's always proper to remember veteran winger Richard Clune, who could see NHL time if the coaching staff feels the team is lacking an edge.
Drew Doughty - age 23, 2011-12 stats: 77 GP, 10 G, 26 A, 36 PTS, minus-two rating
Rob Scuderi - age 34, 2011-12 stats: 82 GP, 1 G, 8 A, 9 PTS, minus-seven rating
Willie Mitchell - age 35, 2011-12 stats: 76 GP, 5 G, 19 A, 24 PTS, plus-20 rating (per Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times, injured, severity unknown.)
Slava Voynov - age 22, 2011-12 stats: 54 GP, 8 G, 12 A, 20 PTS, plus-12 rating
Matt Greene - age 29, 2011-12 stats: 82 GP, 4 G, 11 A, 15 PTS, plus-four rating
Alec Martinez - age 25, 2011-12 stats: 51 GP, 6 G, 6 A, 12 PTS, minus-one rating
In the mix:
Davis Drewiske - age 28, 2011-12 stats: 9 GP, 2 G, 0 A, 2 PTS, even rating
The Kings already have every defensive position filled and solidified. However, there are many solid players in the minors including 2007 first-round pick Thomas Hickey, who has grown into a Rob Scuderi-type player in Manchester.
At 24 years old, Andrew Campbell is another player who has slowly developed into a sound stay-at-home defenseman in the minors. He has been in the last group of players cut in the Kings' preseason camps the last two years.
Jonathan Quick - age 26, 2011-12 stats: 69 GP, 35-21-13, .929 SV%, 1.95 GAA
Jonathan Bernier - age 24, 2011-12 stats: 16 GP, 5-6-2, .909 SV%, 2.36 GAA
With Quick signing a long-term deal, the fate of Jonathan Bernier has been decided to an extent.
He is too good of a goaltender to be confined to a backup role for the next 10 years, so the battle for second on the Kings will likely begin in the near future. Perhaps not immediately but sooner rather than later.
Martin Jones has had a tumultuous season with Manchester, combining extreme highs with extreme lows. Jean-Francois Berube will get a shot in Manchester with Jones dealing with an injury. With good performances, he could have a real opportunity at NHL minutes if Bernier leaves the Kings.
There is a chance the Kings could go after a veteran backup around the deadline to act as a stopgap while waiting on who emerges victorious in the minor league goalie battle.