Kings' Dean Lombardi on keeping Muzzin over Hickey
The Kings' decision to keep defenseman Jake Muzzin over Thomas Hickey, the fourth pick overall in the 2007 draft, is interesting on several levels.
Hickey has been held back by shoulder and ankle injuries the last few seasons but you'd think a kid picked so early in the draft would be further along in his development. Yes, defensemen often take a while to refine their game and he's only 21, but the fact is he was behind Davis Drewiske and Peter Harrold on the depth chart entering training camp and never challenged that order. He should have been able to push for a job but never did.
Hickey didn't do anything badly in camp but he didn't do anything especially well, either. Muzzin was fine, but also wasn't an attention-grabber. He seems to read the game well and is able to make a good first pass but he's far from a finished product.
Muzzin, signed as a free agent last January, is likely to stick around as the seventh defenseman only until Matt Greene recovers from shoulder surgery.
"Both did well and we want to take a little longer look at Muzzin," General Manager Dean Lombardi said of choosing Muzzin over Hickey.
They'll get that chance for the next few weeks.
The final cuts among the forwards are likely to happen after the final two exhibition games, Saturday against Colorado at Las Vegas and Sunday at Anaheim against the Ducks.
Photo: Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin gets to the puck before Phoenix's Paul Bissonnette during an exhibition game last week. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images