EL SEGUNDO, CA — Due to the salary cap dropping by $6 million for the 2013-14 season, the Los Angeles Kings have already undergone some expected roster changes.
Indeed, veteran defenseman Rob Scuderi signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Pittsburgh Penguins, returning to the team he won his first Stanley Cup with. Forwards Brad Richardson and Dustin Penner also signed unrestricted free agent contracts with the Vancouver Canucks and the Anaheim Ducks, respectively.
With their August 2 signing of left wing Kyle Clifford, the Kings managed to avoid arbitration and re-sign all of their restricted free agents, including defenseman Slava Voynov. But they are approximately $822,000 over the salary cap, and they have 25 players on their National Hockey League roster, two over the 23-man limit.
NHL teams can exceed both limits until the 2013-14 season begins in October. But simple mathematics indicates that at least one trade involving a defenseman (Frozen Royalty has predicted since the end of the 2013-14 season that Alec Martinez will be on the trading block), and maybe replacing a more expensive player on the third or fourth line with a less expensive one, are forthcoming.
A player to keep an eye on as one having a solid chance of making the big club’s roster, should the Kings decide to make a move involving their third or fourth lines, is forward Andy Andreoff, a 6-1, 201-pound native of Pickering, Ontario, who was selected by the Kings in the third round (80th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
As reported in this space on July 6, 2013, Andreoff is a tough, rugged forward with some skill, and a mean streak—he has the potential to be an upgrade for the Kings’ third or fourth lines.
During the Kings’ annual Development Camp for their young prospects in July, Nelson Emerson, who handles player development for the Kings, took note of the combination of toughness and skill that Andreoff possesses, speaking exclusively to Frozen Royalty.
“He’s a strong, strong forward who’s capable of playing center or left wing,” said Emerson. “He’s got an NHL-type body, he’s got NHL toughness, he’ll go into traffic, and you know what? He’s a hockey player. He just plays the right way. He’s hard on his stick. He makes a lot of little plays, and what a great asset to have—a player who’s tough and strong, but also makes a lot of plays.”
“They’re hard to come by—toughness and skill,” added Emerson. “He’s lucky that he has that in him.”
“It seems like he’s more confident every day he’s around [our practice] facility,” Emerson noted. “For a young kid, being a Black Ace [one of the young prospects who were recalled by the Kings during their 2013 playoff run], playing in Manchester, and now, he trains here, he sees the NHL guys—it’s a real positive for him.”
Having participated in a couple of previous Kings Development Camps, Andreoff said that he was much more at ease this time around.
“I feel much more comfortable in this year’s Development Camp, since I’ve been here for a couple of years,” he said. “Now that I get to come out here with a bunch of the guys, it’s great to be back.”
“I’ve learned a lot,” he added. “It’s always good, with the stick handling and skating. They always teach me something new.”
One key aspect of Andreoff’s game that could hold him back is his skating. As reported earlier this month, the Kings have been on him since he was drafted to work on his quickness, his first three steps.
“One thing we have to work on with him is his quickness,” Emerson stressed. “We need him moving his feet, all 200 feet of the ice, not coasting, and that’s what we’ve been working on with him.”
“He’s been working with our skating coach,” Emerson added. “We don’t want him to get locked into that power stance that some players have. We want him moving his feet, moving through checks. He’s getting a lot better at it, but to be in the NHL, that’s what he needs to continue to work on.”
“He’s such a solid skater, he’s hard to knock off the puck, which is great. He’s got balance. But sometimes, he gets locked into that, so we need to get him moving through checks. Once he’s strong on pucks, protecting pucks, we need him moving his feet to [get] out of the area, to separate. He’s been doing a great job working on that. He’s getting better at it, but we need him to continue to strive on that.”
Andreoff said that the Kings’ new skating coach has helped him to improve.
“The new skating coach has helped me out a lot,” said Andreoff. “They’ve been preaching on me for [my skating and quickness], and I’ve been working hard on that.”
“There’s just the little stuff that we’ve been working on—on ice and off ice—skating techniques that they’ve been telling us to [use],” added Andreoff. “I have to keep working at that.”
Emerson pointed out that it isn’t that Andreoff is notably deficient, in terms of his skating.
“Most guys who are heavy and strong, who are power players, that’s something they all need to work on, so he’s no different from anybody else,” Emerson explained. “He’s got a lot of great attributes, when you put them all together—size, toughness, and the offensive play, which is awesome to have all in one [package]. Now he has to keep working on that other part.”
As with all young prospects, it’s more than one thing that Andreoff needs to improve upon.
“It’s just the consistency, and how hard you have to work every day,” said Andreoff. “It doesn’t matter if you have a day off. You can always be doing something to get better at the game, and they teach us all that, so you have to bring it back home, for training in the summer, and work on everything.”
As for the possibility of making the Kings roster out of training camp this Fall, Andreoff shrugged off any thoughts about that.
“I just want to be an all-around player, like I’ve always been,” he stressed. “[Score] a couple of goals, hits, and see what happens from there. I’ve just got to play my role, and see how it goes.”
“I’ve looked to all the guys in the NHL that I want to be like—third, fourth line guys,” he added. “I’m looking forward to that, and I’ve learned from the guys [who are with the Kings]. I’ve been watching Dwight King and Clifford. [They play] my style, so I look up to those guys, and hopefully, I’ll be one of them, one day.”
Video Interview With Andy Andreoff via FrozenRoyaltyNHL on YouTube
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Frozen Royalty’s Andy Andreoff Coverage
- LA Kings Believe The Time Is Now For Forward Prospect Andy Andreoff
- Skating, Quickness Are Obstacles In LA Kings Prospect Andy Andreoff’s Path To The NHL
- Could Forward Prospect Andy Andreoff Find Himself With The LA Kings In 2013-14?
- LA Kings LW Prospect Andy Andreoff Didn’t Let New Year’s Eve Incident Derail His Season, Or His Development
- LA Kings LW Prospect Andy Andreoff Is Catching Up To Pace Of The Game In The AHL
- LA Kings Prospect Andy Andreoff Hopes To Leave A Mark In Manchester In 2012-13
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