Kings looking to keep team's core players

Kings captain and forward Dustin Brown admitted that he played through the entire Western Final with a torn PCL in his knee. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kings captain and forward Dustin Brown admitted that he played through the entire Western Final with a torn PCL in his knee. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Posted: June 11, 2013

After two straight playoff runs extending well into June, Dustin Brown believes the Los Angeles Kings get the full benefit of all that experience only if they stay together.

Two days after the Kings' title defense ended in the Western Conference finals in Chicago, Brown echoed his teammates' desire Monday to keep the Kings' core largely intact this fall. The captain echoed the thoughts of general manager Dean Lombardi, who said he'll endeavor to keep nearly every significant contributor to the team coming off the most successful two-year stretch in franchise history.

When they return in September, the Kings likely will make more changes than they did before this season, when everybody who touched the ice during their Stanley Cup title run returned. Brown just hopes the changes only enhance a team that has earned the right to keep working toward another title.

"We've been in a lot of tough situations," Brown said at the Kings' training complex. "Experience is one thing, but experiencing it all together is much more valuable. It's different when you've gone through not only what we went through last year, but the three, four previous years. What you want to build on is that group of guys that stick together, because at the end of the day, that's all you have to lean on when times get tough."

Although the Kings have several impending free agents, Brown believes last season's champions have the base for a perennial Stanley Cup contender.

Coach Darryl Sutter also likes the base on which the Kings are built, particularly with the young players already taking on significant roles, including defensemen Drew Doughty, Slava Voynov, and Jake Muzzin.

Keeping the Kings together will be difficult under the NHL's new collective bargaining agreement and salary cap. Lombardi already has several key players signed to long-term deals, but fitting all of those deals under the cap while retaining room to sign free agents will be a challenge for the summer.

Lombardi already got a jump on the offseason during the playoffs by re-signing defenseman Robyn Regehr, the new acquisition who fit in splendidly in Los Angeles. Sutter said Regehr will have surgery on his elbow this week after playing through the postseason with an undisclosed injury.

Oilers hire Eakins

The Edmonton Oilers hired Dallas Eakins as their new coach, replacing the fired Ralph Krueger.

Eakins is the fourth coach in the last five seasons for the Oilers, who have not made the playoffs since reaching the Finals in 2006.

Stars signing

The Dallas Stars signed Sergei Gonchar to a two-year, $10 million contract.

- Associated Press

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