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Five things to watch with the Kings

Any success the team has will begin with goaltender Jonathan Quick.

October 03, 2009|Helene Elliott

1 Can Jonathan Quick become the elite goaltender that Kings fans have dreamed of for years? He showed poise and competitiveness last season (21-18-2 record, 2.48 goals-against average, .914 save percentage in 44 games) but being the starter is a big challenge. Any success the Kings might have will start with him.

2 Is Anze Kopitar a true first-line center in the mode of a Joe Sakic -- someone who can valiantly carry a team -- or the No. 1 center by default? It's time for him to step up another notch. The party line that he gave up offense last season to improve defensively isn't completely true. He can and must do better at both ends.

3 Right wing Justin Williams scored 31 goals in 2005-06 and 33 in 2006-07 but has since been slowed by injuries. If he avoids mishaps, he, Kopitar and Ryan Smyth could give the Kings a strong top line with speed, playmaking and grit.

4 Is Teddy Purcell capable of becoming a productive second-line winger? He had four goals in 40 games last season and has to do better if he stays on the left side of Jarret Stoll and Dustin Brown. He's 6 feet 3 and nearly 200 pounds and should use that size to greater advantage.

5 Coach Terry Murray employed a defense-first philosophy last season that cut opponents' shots and made everyone responsible at both ends. They need goals, and he will have to open things up without sacrificing a lot defensively. That could be dicey.

-- Helene Elliott

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