Western Conference Preview: Los Angeles Kings

When you’re defending the Cup, you’ve earned the right to be our final preview from the Pacific Division. After looking ahead at the Flames, Oilers, Coyotes, Canucks, Sharks and Ducks, let’s discuss the 2014-15 Los Angeles Kings.

Dustin Brown Cup

Additions: Adam Cracknell

Subtractions: Willie Mitchell, Linden Vey

Prospects To Watch: Brayden McNabb

2013-14 Leaders

  • Goals: Anze Kopitar – 29
  • Assists: Kopitar – 41
  • Points: Kopitar – 70
  • PIM: Kyle Clifford – 81
  • Power Play Points: Kopitar – 23
  • Time On Ice per Game: Drew Doughty – 25:42
  • 5 on 5 iCORSI: Jeff Carter – 315

The Kings are a bit like the San Antonio Spurs in that they don’t seem to care much about the regular season. They finished last year third in the Pacific with 100 points, and then spotted the Sharks a 3-0 lead in their first round series before stunning San Jose to advance. The rest, of course, is history.

Unlike their division rivals in Vancouver, the Kings had very little turnover this summer. The loss of Mitchell’s leadership on the blue line is significant, but he’s older and would have been too expensive to bring back. What’s more important for the defending champs is that they will continue to have arguably the best all-around players in the game playing big minutes.

Doughty is coming off a disappointing season offensively (37 points in 78 games), but is the odds-on favorite to win the Norris Trophy in 10 months. Up front, Kopitar will win a Selke at some point in his career and is finally receiving the recognition he deserves as one of the finest two-way forwards on the planet.

Bringing back Marian Gaborik was an intriguing play, more because of the terms of the contract than that the offensively challenged Kings re-signed the scorer. Gaborik, 32, signed a seven-year, $34.125M deal to stay in Los Angeles for what appears to be the rest of his career. If he produces like he did in the playoffs (22 points in 26 games), the Kings will have no problem paying him as long as he’s active.

Prediction: 110 points

Their championship team will return almost intact from a year ago, and they appear to be set to compete for the title for the foreseeable future.


13 thoughts on “Western Conference Preview: Los Angeles Kings

  • September 1, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Other than the Blackhawks, this is the only review that really matters…in terms of the playoffs, you have to win 16 games to be SC champions, NO ONE ELSE in the WC can win 16 playoff games besides the Hawks…with all of our additions and subtractions this offseason, I am excited to see a rematch…we will just have to wait another 9 months to see it…

  • September 1, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Wouldnt be shocked to see the kings get knocked out in the 1st round. Plenty of “experts” really love the kings im not sold on them. 3 game 7 wins on the road are lucky, and its better to be lucky then good anyday.

    This team got an all world contribution from a player off the scrap head. Im not buying it again. Their margin against sj, ana and the Hawks was so small I have a hard time believing they do it again. If the do ill give them all the credit they deserves but not until.

  • September 2, 2014 at 6:29 am

    Wow dismissing some pretty good teams in the west-I’m pretty confident that 4 or 5 teams could come out of the west, the Hawks and Kings among them. A long grind ahead with key injuries and timely breaks coming into play. No team has the depth to be anoited as a sure thing.

  • September 2, 2014 at 9:09 am

    How are you not sold on pretty much the same team that won the Cup? Yes, there were three Game 7s… but let’s not forget they WON all three

  • September 2, 2014 at 9:30 am

    To Tab’s point… they did it in style with a few come from behind- 2 goal deficits too!!!

    Like Noonan said- A lot of this will be about injuries at the wrong time…

    Kings were really dinged up in 2013… completely different vibe in 2014.

  • September 2, 2014 at 10:44 am

    SouthSideHawkMan, I don’t leave comments on these things very often but your comments motivated me. Typical Hawks fan. 2 SC in 3 years, no credit? The Kings did it with 4 lines pounding and abusing the WEST, including the Hawks. The Hawks may have even been better on paper but could not finish! The Kings just finished an historic run through arguably the best teams in Hockey (East or West). Contributions from top to bottom line 1 to line 4 that’s how they won the SC. The Los Angeles Kings do not need your credit as they have just enjoyed a great summer at the beach with the CUP. Hawks are good team that couldn’t get it done, the Kings are now a great team that did. Hope for your sake that big contracts equal success because you have half of the equation at this point. With all that said, I like the players the Hawks have and look forward to seeing them in our building this season, always great games and great fun with the Chicago FANATIC fans. GO KINGS GO!!!!

  • September 2, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Kings are formidable…to suggest otherwise is naive. Ducks are very good…and have improved. Blues SHOULD be very good…and possibly are formidable. Wild are on the rise. Stars are on the rise.

    It’s those 5 teams and the Blackhawks in the Western Conference.

  • September 3, 2014 at 1:44 am

    Im not saying the Kings arent formidable. That would be totally naive. I am saying that I dont think they will repeat, and I like the Ducks roster better.

    I’ll also repeat my last comment the Kings were incredibly lucky. Good teams capitalize on breaks and the Kings managed to do it but I doubt they turn the trick again any time soon.

    Amoe I would encourage you to post your Kings love on a Kings website but you’d be hard pressed to find one. That feat alone deserves a ton of credit. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut from time to time. Congrats on your Kings two cups and outside of you and handful of people no one cares.

  • September 3, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Lots of people care, the Kings have a strong following! They know how to win playoff series, so do the Bruins and the Hawks, until other teams prove otherwise, these three are the ones to watch…and with Sutter not caring so much about where they finish in the standings, it keeps them fresher and more focused come the playoffs…they are going to be tough to beat, but I think we can, especially as I see Crawford having a Vezina type season…

  • September 3, 2014 at 11:30 am

    The Kings weren’t “lucky.” WHere the hell does that sentiment even derive?!? To win a championship in the NHL is the TOUGHEST thing to do in all of professional sports. The Kings WON the Stanley Cup. They didn’t back into it. Good fuc*ing Lord. Did we back into our Cup win in 2010 or 2013?!? Hell no…we WON those Cups too.

  • September 3, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    amoe14, while i agree giving the kings no credit is retarded, saying the hawks can’t finish is also retarded

  • September 4, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Rufus I will just say that win any professional championship requires both skill and luck. I also completely agree that the Stanley Cup is the hardest championship to win in all sports. No doubt the Kings are a skilled bunch but in my opinion to win 3 game 7’s on the road in the Western Conference against the the top 3 teams was more luck then skill. The fact of the matter is it has NEVER happened in NHL history shows me over a 99 year sample size that this result was lucky.

    Websters dictionary defines luck as follows; lucky, fortunate, happy, providential mean meeting with unforeseen success. lucky stresses the agency of chance in bringing about a favorable result .

    And Yes in 2013 against Detroit again in a game 7 the Hawks were “Lucky” to win!
    The Hawks were also Lucky last year against Minnesota in game 6 to win on a fluke or lucky goal. However, in an elimination its a different context.

  • September 5, 2014 at 7:05 am

    Brad, If 50 is Vezina worthy next spring, that means our team D is back in line and would make us the team to beat come playoffs. Here’s to that scenario playing out. Salut!

    Sure LA is good. The important thing is, we are too and not the least bit intimidated. Perfect match up. Its the best hockey has to offer, enjoy it. I hope both teams stay at the top for years

    Im confused but not surprisingly so. I thought ‘repeating’ was the toughest thing. Where did I hear that at? Gonna be a long season, lol

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