Fans of the Los Angeles Kings have had plenty to cheer for over the past few seasons. They’ve seen two Stanley Cup winning teams and a third season that ended in the conference finals. There were five consecutive seasons of playoff hockey in Hollywood.
Last season the Kings missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2008/09 season. It was quite the shock at the end of the season to see the reigning Stanley Cup champions on the outside looking in. But having an atrocious shootout record (2-7) and going sub .500 on the road (15-18-8) will kill any postseason hopes there are.
There have been some massive changes to this team in the off-season and I wouldn’t expect the same results as last year.
Key Additions: F Milan Lucic, D Christian Ehrhoff, G Jhonas Enroth
Key Departures: F Mike Richards, F Justin Williams, F Jarret Stoll, D Andrej Sekera, D Slava Voynov, D Robin Regehr, G Martin Jones
Roster Contenders: G Peter Budaj, F Andy Andreoff, F Jordan Weal, D Damir Sharipzyanov, D Derek Forbort
Milan Lucic – Anze Kopitar – Marion Gaborik
Tanner Pearson – Jeff Carter – Tyler Toffoli
Dwight King – Nick Shore – Dustin Brown
Kyle Clifford – Trevor Lewis – Jordan Nolan
Jake Muzzin – Drew Doughty
Alec Martinez – Christian Ehrhoff
Brayden MacNabb – Matt Greene
The addition of Lucic brings some functional toughness to the top six. He is a capable scorer, netting twenty plus goals three times in his eight year career. Adding him to the Kings offensive lines will mean just another tool in Darryl Sutters tool box to deploy as he sees fit.
How Christian Ehrhoff got inked for one year at $1.5M is beyond me. Surely he got shares in the team for signing for that cheap. Check out his HERO chart… You know he could’ve gotten upwards of $4 million if he wanted to.
In the 2015/16 season I think the Kings are a much more competitive team from start to finish. They removed a locker room issue when Mike Richards had his contract terminated in late June. Depending on how the immigration hearing goes for Voynov, Kings fans might have seen the Russian blueliner for the last time. Will Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson continue their rise possibly making Marian Gaborik obsolete?
If I have to pick one area that I would be concerned with it would still be the goaltending. I am not at all convinced that Jonathon Quick is as good as his previous play in the Kings Stanley Cup runs. He is a much more average player than most media seem to make him out to be and his save percentage on the road attests to that.
There isn’t really any one player on this team that I look forward to watching, although I really do enjoy seeing Doughty play as I think he is the best defenseman in the entire league. The Norris trophies might not be there but he is at the top of his game and there is no one in the league that is a more complete defender than Drew. Part of me is looking forward to watching McDavid and Hall blow past him at some point this season.
Thanks for reading!