Los Angeles Kings:
Last season – 5th in the Western Conference
The Kings had by all means a fairly good regular season. They were among the best defensive teams in the league, but their forward group couldn’t score enough, and when they in the playoffs met a better offensive minded team who had a good defense, they couldn’t keep up.
GM – Dean Lombardi
This will be Lombardi’s 10th year in charge of the Los Angeles Kings. Through that time they have had their ups and downs, but managed two Stanley Cup-championships within the last four years. They lost some size this offseason, but Lombardi acknowledged that and signed some size this offseason to cover for that.
His biggest challenge for the season is managing the cap, and possibly looking into trading a player to get more wiggle room, or buying out a player who aren’t producing the amounts they are paid to do according to their caphit.
Head Coach – Darryl Sutter
Entering his 6th full season, Sutter did a fairly good job last season in the regular season. The Kings were one of the best teams defensively, but his biggest obstacle going into this season is getting the team to produce more offensively.
Quick hasn’t been as good the last few years, and unless he’s at his game, the Kings won’t defend themselves to another title. Therefore, look for the Kings to push the envelope more in the regular season.
Teddy Purcell (RW), Tom Gilbert (D), Jeff Zatkoff (G), Devin Setoguchi (RW), Zach Trotman (D), Michael Latta (C), Jack Campbell (G)
Milan Lucic (LW), Vincent Lecavalier (C), Jamie McBain (D), Jeff Schultz (D), Nick Ebert (D)
Lombardi’s biggest offseason moves were not re-signing Lucic, Trevor Lewis and Brayden McNabb signing extensions and filling the size void by adding Teddy Purcell and Tom Gilbert to the roster.
Their team looks very similar to the one they had the previous year, and it will be interesting to see how much the dynamic changes with the subtraction of Lucic in the roster.
Goaltending – 8/10
Defense – 9/10
The Kings got size, they got skill and they got a defense group who knows how to play their positions. They won’t take stupid risks and that showed last season when they again were among the best. They only nag about it, is that they could push the offensive play more.
Muzzin – Doughty
Forbort – Martinez
McNabb – Gilbert
Greene – Gravel
(Scuderi – Trotman)
Forwards – 8/10
Gaborik will start the season injured, so look at Purcell and/or Brown getting pushed up in the lineup. The Kings got two very good top six lines, might be among the best on good days. They need to produce more offense to be given a higher grade, but they will throughout the lineup be a tough team to play against.
The Kings lack a little bit depth wise, especially along the left wing. They are solid but not great on the right wing either. Great center line. Got to deduct a point for each side and for not scoring more than they do.
Pearson – Kopitar – Gaborik
King – Carter – Toffoli
D. Brown – Dowd – Purcell
Clifford – T. Lewis – Andreoff
(Mersch – Shore – Latta)
Team Composition – 9/10
Their team composition is great throughout the lineup. They got a possible great starting goaltender, an overall solid defense who could be a little better offensively. Great centers, lacks some scoring among the wingers, but overall a rough team to face and a team that is built well.
Leadership presence – 10/10
There are plenty of leadership presence and many experienced veterans within this group. A lot of the team has played with each other for years and it’s a tight nit group who has been through ups and downs in addition to winning championships.
Skill Value – 7/10
There could clearly be more skill on this team, hence why their offense is hurting by their lack of scoring enough. They have some guys coming up in the future, like Kempe. But, most of the skill is on the team, and they got the NHL core skills, but lack something extra outside the top centers, and live more on a great system than outstanding skill.