Should You Expect A Regression From The Kings?

Let us look at the positives: the Los Angeles Kings had among the greatest defenses in the NHL last season and made the playoffs. The poor? The team is full of dead-weight contracts which have obliterated their depth and they have easily bumped in the first round of the playoffs.
Despite the negatives, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better core nucleus on a group with Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick. Kopitar is the reigning Selke Trophy winner and Doughty is coming off a great 2015-16 season that saw him win the Norris Trophy.
The question remains: will the Kings‘ low-scoring, defensive-minded play conceal their issues with depth and lead them to the next deep playoff series?
Stanley Cup +1800
It seems like a distant memory, but LA hoisted the cup at the 2013-14 season. The team then followed up that performance by not making the playoffs the next season and a miserable first-round ousting the season after.
The core of the Kings is battle-tested and more than able to hold its own in a Stanley Cup series, but how the rest of the group fares is hard to predict. And heaven forbid the very best players on the group struck a scoring slump in the playoffs since relying upon the bottom-six forward for crime is sure to doom LA.. That’s not to say they can’t create a run based on phenomenal defense along with also a red-hot goalie in Quick.
Western Conference +750
The Conference is filled with teams. The perennially contending Chicago Blackhawks still seem like the class of the summit but there are still emerging powerhouses in St. Louis and Anaheim. For the Kings to win the Western Conference for the third time in six seasons, they will need to be able to beat those 3 groups.
The Kings combined for a middling 5-4-2 record against the Blackhawks, Blues and Kings last season. In reality, one of those 3 groups, LA’s only winning record was against the Blackhawks.
Pacific Division +225
Even though the Kings have won two Stanley Cups in the previous five seasons, they’ve never won a Pacific Division title. In fact, the only time that the Kings finished the regular season atop their division was in 1990-91 when they topped the Smythe Division. It’s quite realistic that the Kings could end that drought this year — as they are co-faves together with the Ducks — but they need to prevent another crippling slump.
The Kings squandered a 10-point branch lead last season to the Ducks following the group imploded to close out the year. LA has been 30-16-3 entering the all-star break last season and then faltered to a pedestrian 18-18-3 to the remainder of the season.
The biggest cause of this collapse was that their struggles within the branch, since the Kings went just 10-7-0 against the Pacific after the all-star break compared with 8-4 before. When you factor in that six of these wins after the break came from Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton, you can be justifiably worried entering this season.
Point Total OVER/UNDER 97.5
In Darryl Sutter’s three full seasons as head coach of the Kings — we are not including the shortened 2012-13 season — the team has averaged 99 points each season. It is really difficult to see this team regressing too much after submitting 102 points last year, however a small drop could be expected considering their ice-cold near last year.
In order to transcend the 97.5-point mark, a few older players will probably need to provide added scoring. Goal scoring will notably be required in the wings, as the only winger to finish with over 40 points last season was Milan Lucic, who signed with Edmonton this offseason.

Read more here: None

Comments are closed.