Los Angeles Kings

Los Angeles Kings: The Key to Victory May Lie in the Bottom-6

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 12:  Dustin Brown (L) #23 and Matt Greene #2 of the Los Angeles Kings walk out of the dressing room before hitting the ice in the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Staples Center on November 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Kings defeated the Wild 5-2. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Jason LewisCorrespondent IINovember 14, 2011

If you have followed the Los Angeles Kings this season, you know that offensive struggles have been the talk early on. 

The Kings are among the league's worst in offense. However, their top-6 forwards have scored 26 of the Kings' 29 goals that have come from forwards.

That is actually a very good pace for a top-6, even though their total offense comes in at 23rd in the league, and was 27th until Saturday's 5-2 rout of Minnesota.

For example, 12th-ranked Tampa Bay has received 28 goals from their top-6—or for a higher comparison, 36 goals from top-6 forwards from third-ranked Boston.

So it's really not to say the Kings' top forwards are not getting it done. In fact, they are doing just fine. It's the meager three-goals that the Kings have scored from players outside the top lines that are the key.

Terry Murray has had a rotation of players on the bottom pairings of Jarret Stoll, Dustin Penner, Brad Richardson, Trevor Lewis, Kevin Westgarth, Ethan Moreau, Trent Hunter, Kyle Clifford and recent injury-recovered Colin Fraser.

From these nine players, just Fraser, Stoll and Clifford have found twine. Once each. And also should be noted, Colin Fraser has suited up just two games since coming off IR.

Depth was easily a strong suit for this team heading into the season, as were the stars Kopitar and Richards.

But you can't ask three or four players to carry the squad. Kopitar is third in the league in scoring and on pace to have a career year. Simon Gagne and Justin Williams also look poised to overtake their point totals from last season.

So where do the Kings go from here? Almost 20 games in, and the bottom-6 forwards haven't found their rhythm. Is a trade in order to find some help? Or perhaps a call up for Andrei Loktionov, Marc-Andre Cliche or Justin Azevedo, the leading scorers of the Manchester Monarchs? (It should be noted that Loktionov was called up today to replace injured Scott Parse and Dustin Penner)

If you watched last season's Stanley Cup Finals between Boston and Vancouver, you know just how important it is for a team to roll three or four lines rather then just one high-powered line.

As it stands right now the Kings are rolling one-and-two-thirds effective lines. The rest have to find the net somehow, or the Los Angeles Kopitars will be in for a long rest of the season.

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