Goaltender is the deepest spot on the Kings' roster, with Dan Cloutier, Mathieu Garon and Jason LaBarbera, but the team will carry only two when the season begins.
Who will stay and who will depart began to get hashed out Monday night, when the Kings defeated the Ducks, 7-1, at Arrowhead Pond. Garon and LaBarbera, who were the team's two goalies last season, are competing for the No. 2 spot behind Cloutier. Both were solid Monday night. LaBarbera stopped all 10 shots he faced, and Garon stopped 13 of 14 shots.
"We don't look at this as personal, we just have a job to do," LaBarbera said. "Anytime you have two people, there's always going to be competition."
Garon and LaBarbera were competitors last year as well, but to determine who was No. 1. Garon, who played in 63 games, was the NHL's defensive player of the month after a brilliant December. But he was inconsistent the last three months of the season, when the Kings fell out of the playoff race. LaBarbera won eight of his first 10 starts but played in only 29 games as he dealt with a family emergency.
The landscape changed when the Kings acquired Cloutier from Vancouver in July. Cloutier, who missed much of last season after knee surgery, was the Canucks' starter the three previous seasons, where he played for first-year Kings Coach Marc Crawford. He became expendable when the Canucks acquired Roberto Luongo from the Florida Panthers.
The Kings' Sean Avery started the season fast on Monday.
He took a penalty two minutes into the game, then had moments of superb play, scoring one goal and assisting on two others. He also was walloped by the Ducks' Sean O'Donnell in a fight and later left before the finish after punching O'Donnell in retaliation along the boards.
Recapping: bad penalty, good play, angry opponents, not allowed to finish. It reads like a capsulized version of Avery's 2005-06 season. Avery, through a Kings spokesman, denied all interview requests after the game.
Kevin Dallman might have grabbed the upper hand in his battle with Mike Weaver for the Kings' seventh defenseman spot Monday as he scored two goals and assisted on two others.
Matt Moulson, Brian Willsie, Eric Belanger and Konstantin Pushkarev also scored for the Kings. It was a miserable night for Ducks goalies Michael Leighton and Ilya Bryzgalov, who each played 30 minutes in goal.
Leighton allowed three goals on 19 shots and Bryzgalov allowed four on 17 shots. Ryan Getzlaf got the Ducks' only goal in the second period.
Travis Green signed on for another go-round with the Ducks in the hope that he can get another shot at the Stanley Cup. Living in Orange County made it all the more enticing to come back to the team for which he played 101 games in 1997-98 and 1998-99.
"I've said since I signed that I thought this team had a chance to do something special," said Green, who signed a one-year, $500,000 deal on Aug. 10. "I just want to be a piece of that."
A three-time 20-goal scorer who has become a solid two-way center and faceoff specialist, Green will be given a long look in exhibition games.
The Ducks are deep at center with Andy McDonald, Ryan Getzlaf, Todd Marchant and Samuel Pahlsson. What could help the 14-year veteran is his ability to play on either wing.
Ducks defenseman Sean O'Donnell received five stitches above his right eye after being clipped by the stick of Belanger with 3:20 remaining in the game.