F Mike Cammalleri, Coach Marc Crawford, D Lubomir Visnovsky
A YOUTH movement is one thing, but many of the Kings' building blocks have barely outgrown their Lego sets. Unable or unwilling to sign free agents to join a team that finished with a conference-low 71 points in 2007--08, L.A. expects to give prime minutes on defense to a pair of first-round draft picks who are still teenagers: Thomas Hickey, the smooth No. 4 pick in the '07 draft; and the rugged backliner that G.M. Dean Lombardi selected with the second overall pick this summer, 6'1", 219-pound Drew Doughty. Sophomore defenseman Jack Johnson, 21, may find himself as the unit's leader; goaltenders Jason LaBarbera and Erik Ersberg may find themselves taking cover. "It's not the ideal way I'd like to break kids in," admits Lombardi, who has little choice.
Thanks to 21-year-old center
Anze Kopitar (above), who scored 77 points last season, and left wing Alexander Frolov (67 points), the Kings have some pop up front, but growing pains are as inevitable as a last-place finish.