We’re going to take a look at each NHL team, breaking down every new addition and subtraction, as well as promising prospects.
Today, we take a look at the Los Angeles Kings.
Los Angeles Kings
2013 Season: 27-16-5, 59 pts (2nd Pacific Division, 5th Western Conference)
Put away your pancake jokes, Los Angeles. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Free Agents Signed:
D Jeff Schultz from Washington
Free Agents Lost:
LW Dustin Penner to Anaheim
D David Kolomatis to Washington
D Rob Scuderi to Pittsburgh
C Brad Richardson to Vancouver
G Jonathan Bernier to Toronto for RW Matt Frattin and G Ben Scrivens
2015 Conditional Draft Pick to Chicago for LW Daniel Carcillo
RW Tyler Toffoli
LW Tanner Pearson
C Linden Vey
RW Brandon Kozun
The Los Angeles Kings couldn’t pull off a repeat championship in 2013, but no one can argue with the valiant effort they gave. After a very slow start that had the Kings on the playoff bubble for the 2nd year in a row, Jonathan Quick and Anze Kopitar found their games late in the season to move Los Angeles into the 5th seed. They met the St. Louis Blues in the playoffs for the 2nd year in a row and dispatched them again, coming back from a 0-2 series deficit to win the series in 6 games. In the conference semifinals, Los Angeles and San Jose put on a thrilling series where the home team won each game of the 7 game series. Luckily for the Kings, the series ended in Los Angeles and with a berth into the Western Conference Final for the 2nd year in a row. That’s where the journey would end though as the Kings were knocked out by the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks in 5 games.
The Kings will enter the 2013-2014 season as Stanley Cup contenders and they expect to remain in that situation for many years to come. General Manager Dean Lombardi has locked up most of this core (with a little help from Philadelphia) for the foreseeable future. Under contract for a while: Kopitar – 3 years, Richards – 7 years, Carter – 9 years, Brown – 9 years, Doughty – 6 years, Voynov – 6 years, Quick – 10 years.
Quick will lead the way once again, this time without Bernier to help though. (Bill Smith/Getty Images)
Not much has changed despite a few offseason losses. The Kings finally traded away Quick’s insurance policy as Jonathan Bernier was sent to Toronto. In return they received goalie Ben Scrivens, who will certainly be Quick’s backup as LA waits for their goalie prospects to develop for another year. In addition to Scrivens, they also received Matt Frattin, who should be able to provide scoring depth on the 3rd line at minimum and 2nd line if things go perfectly. The Kings also waved goodbye to Dustin Penner, who was too inconsistent and unpredictable to keep a lineup spot night in and night out. Finally, the Kings lost defenseman Rob Scuderi to Pittsburgh. Scuderi figures to be a notable loss on the penalty kill, but a loss that the team can handle with 9 NHL defensemen on the roster going into training camp.
All in all, it would appear that the Kings are poised for another strong playoff run. Talented rookie Tyler Toffoli will lead a crop of younger forwards pushing for roster spots as Los Angeles should see an increase in scoring this year. The team has gotten faster through subtraction and they still have all of the important pieces needed for another Championship. A third trip in a row to the Conference Final seems well within reach for LA.