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Top Line: Dynastic Kings?; NHL's rising power; more must-reads

 

Los Angeles Kings with the Stanley Cup The Kings have done well with two Stanley Cups and three West finals appearances since 2012. (Icon SMI)

 

By Allan Muir

An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:

• Chicago writer Mark Lazerus says the L.A. Kings (and Chicago Blackhawks) are really good teams. But dynasties? No way.

• Here's another take on the Kings-as-dynasty.

• With six key players eligible for unrestricted free agency, the New York Rangers may have a very different look come next season.

• They won the Western Conference championship (during the regular season, anyway) and have what may be the league's best collection of young talent down on the farm. Things are about to get really good for The Lucky Ducks.

• Take a look back at the many dramatic twists and turns of a season that ended in Stanley Cup glory for the L.A. Kings.

• Jack Todd looks back at the season that was and wonders how we can continue to ask so much of the NHL's top players.

Do these guys know something we don't?

{C}

• First liner and Lady Byng finalist Ryan O'Reilly was paid $6.5 million to pretty much do it all for the Colorado Avalanche last season. Next year, they'd like to pay him a whole lot less. Things are about to get ugly in Colorado.

• Jeff Gordon looks at trade options to bolster the St. Louis Blues' offense and takes a quick trip around the rest of the league to discuss possible problem areas.

• Here's a terrific piece from Raju Mudhar about the end of Hockey Night In Canada as we know it, and the moment of glory it afforded to one former player.

• Haydn Fleury and Jack Glover join top-ranked Aaron Ekblad on this list of the 10 best defensemen available in the 2014 NHL Draft.

• New Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford isn't necessarily looking to take the best player available with the 22nd overall pick. That's a promising start, eh?

• The draft is only a side item on Rutherford's plate this week. There's also a coaching search for the Penguins to conduct, although it seems that will play out at its own pace.

The Edmonton Oilers have signed a free-agent winger who made a splash this spring with the Finnish national team at the World Championships.

• Will he be one of the three-to-five roster changes that Oilers GM Craig MacTavish promises are coming this summer?

• It sounds like better days lie ahead for Washington Capitals winger Brooks Laich now that his injury that's lingered more than two years has finally cleared up.

• Sleepless George Malik does his typical bang-up job assembling everything that could possibly matter to a Red Wings fan in one concise package.

Cory Conacher tops the list of the top-five sophomore slumps of 2013-14.

• Bad news for the KHL, and especially for NHLers thinking about using it as leverage: the league announced that its salary cap will drop significantly next season. And that might not be the worst of it.

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