After winning their second Stanley Cup title in three years, expectations in Hollywood are through the roof. With only Willie Mitchell leaving the City of Angels, the Los Angeles Kings are primed to make a serious run through the playoffs again. However, things don’t always happen on the ice as they are projected to on paper.
If you are looking for the traditional “Win the Stanley Cup” prediction for the best case scenario, you have come to the wrong place. Anyone with half a brain knows that the Kings are thirsty to win another title. So how about we dig a little deeper, eh?
Let’s take a look at the best and worst case scenarios for the reigning Stanley Cup champions.
Dustin Brown and Mike Richards Increase Their Scoring Totals
While both Brown and Richards are relied upon heavily for their leadership abilities, neither lived up to their potential offensively. While Brown did notch 15 goals, the gritty forward only posted 12 assists. His physical presence is invaluable, but his scoring leaves much to be desired. While skating on the top line with wizards such as Marian Gaborik and Anze Kopitar, Brown should be able to muster more than 27 points. In order to keep the Kings first line producing, Brown will need to step up his game.
Richards, on the other hand, finished fourth on the Kings in points. Once a point per game threat, Richards’ dreadful 7.0 shot percentage didn’t threaten goaltenders too much. Now I know what you’re thinking: “What is this guy thinking, asking a fourth liner to score about fifty points?”
For Richards to wear the crown on the front of his jersey, his cap hit is $5,875,000, according to CapGeek. Despite playing between Kyle Clifford and Trevor Lewis, Richards still averages the forth most average time on ice for forwards. The Kings are muddled in a cap crunch and always seem to be searching for offense, Richards would greatly benefit the team by adding a scoring threat on the bottom half of the depth chart. With the Canadian creeping into his thirties and not getting any younger, Lombardi isn’t stretching the envelope when asking for Richards to be more involved in the box score.
Marian Gaborik’s Shiny New Deal Backfires
This one is a real head-scratcher. The Kings don’t have a real weakness, and if the injury bug doesn’t bite, the Kings are primed to make another run at the cup. Nevertheless, we will give it a go.
After being the king of the playoffs, Marian Gaborik was the beneficiary of a seven year, $34.124 million extension. The crafty winger notches points at a rabid pace, and playing with Anze Kopitar only enhances his offensive abilities. However, if age begins to catch up with the 32 year old Slovakian, or injuies begin to derail his body, Lombardi could worry about having Gaborik locked up in black and grey until he is 39.
Massive contracts, especially when a player’s age is on the wrong side of thirty, can come back to bite. If Gaborik’s offensive production is not up to par, the Kings could be forced to make another deadline deal to find another source of offense. Lombardi isn’t afraid to make a splash at the deadline, but with only $208,106 left in cap room, the Kings could be hard pressed to find a trade partner. If Gaborik continues to stay healthy and shows off by stuffing the box score, Kings management will be alleviated of any potential headaches.
Agree? Disagree? What do you think? Let me know in the comments!
11 thoughts on “The Best and Worst Cases for the Los Angeles Kings”
Well Cam, I saved you article and as I come back to it, you’ve shown yourself to be quite adept at reading/predicting potential futures for the L.A. Kings? Whoa; awesome. O.k., so for those of us mired in years of “Fan-hood” (since 1967 to be exact), ya, it was obvious that Richards and Brown could become problems this year. And their contracts were definitely worrisome-esp. when we could still check them out against the CAP (@ CAP Geek, before it shut down). So now, here we are, seemingly a world away from August/September. Some obvious things came to pass, some unexpected ones crossed hairs and the team went into it’s usually challenged swoon-I had names for each month over the years, but a favorite was “hari kari in January”…In any case, the current upswing is promising/very positive/and gives us hope as fans. But that old uneasiness continues to eat at me about the CAP space-as if I was watching my weekly grocery allowance. I know, ridiculous/in Dean we trust! But right now, it feels like things are 100% up in the air and nearly anything/everything could potentially happen. Do I swallow hard or hold it back? Calgary wasn’t supposed to be here this soon. Minnesota was supposed to fade-as usual. No one with half a brain will EVER count San Jose out. And where did the Stars come from? And I can’t even face the first three division leaders. Just imagining the powerhouse in Nashville is beyond terror…and the Blues have been getting hungrier for some time now…and the Ducks are carrying an open wound from last year’s playoffs. I wanna step up and scream for my team, but have the same feeling I get when driving the 405 freeway. It’s more a fearful frustration than hope of getting to the end of the road in one piece?
I wonder if anyone else has the same ‘OCD’ habit of following the careers of former Kings-esp. rookies who came up the system. It sure feels/seems strange to see how well those Lombardi keeps are doing…and how shortened the careers of many of the others seem to be…or spread out-as in trades, F/A, etc. There are a few exceptions, but they seem to be both overpaid and still underachieving; so how could I ever question Deano? And whatever he lacks is a phone call away from legendary/and his father-in-law Bob Pulford. And on that note, thanks for bringing back the memory of someone the Kings royally screwed over and out…costing themselves another 10-20 years of non-team building from around 1975 onward…God Bless our Kings heroes of the past. The current batch has likely made all of those former fan favorites able to rest far easier in their retirement years.
O.k., so one last thing, to alleviate boredom…a question for those who really know their Kings’ trivia. Can any of you name the three goaltenders who backstopped the 1967/’68 Los Angeles Kings in their inaugural season? ;-) Hint: only one is still alive and recently retired from the devils organization…
p.s. good article Cam!
Good article. There are so many factors each season that each team has to have a little luck on their side. I do believe that hard work helps make that luck and the Kings do have a team that skates hard – albeit often does not score enough. If they play hard and have a good season, I am normally happy. I do not expect the Kings to win the Cup every year, just the year they are playing in.
Thanks for reading Bud. In every sport, a champion needs to be both lucky and good. And how does the old saying go? “It’s better to be lucky than good”.
The Monarchs lost in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs…
While you throw out the “best case” being another Cup, because that’s a given, the “worst case” will conversely always be being the worst in the league, or being mediocre, missing playoffs, and not having a good draft pick to show for it afterwards.
That is very true KM. That could be the worst case for a plethora of different teams, so I chose to focus on something strictly related to the Kings. Thanks for reading!
The Kings do look primed to be the first team to go back to back since the Wings. As for Gaborik’s contract, I was surprised with 7 years, 4 would have been the max if I were in charge. You brought up possible injuries and I agree but you can say that about any team in the league. You lose a top scorer that could translate into problems. The one good thing about the Kings is that they not only have skilled veterans, they also have a couple of young snipers that can fill the net, in Toffoli and Pearson.
On the blue line, you have one of, if not the best quarterbacks in the NHL in, Doughty. I also believe we will see Muzzin and Martinez, produce and if Voynov can bounce back with a good year, look out NHL. That being said, although a lot of ifs and buts, the King’s just may have the best core of blue liners overall, in the league.
Now we get to my favorite part of the game, which is the intimidation factor. It’s a little harder to concentrate when your looking over your shoulder. Up front you have one of the top hitters in, Brown, then you go with, King, Clifford, Stoll and Lewis, these guys love to grind. back at the blue line, I believe Greene is a monster add to that Regehr, and even Muzzin, you have the intimidation factor well covered.
Goaltending, not even worth bringing up, in a word, Quick !
J.D, you really hit the nail on the head with that one. Very accurate. Thanks for reading man!
Success or failure of any major team relates to skills being developed on the farm. Manchester did reach their version of the finals so that appears to bode well. Rather than going outside the team should any of their top scorers have problems, farm team youngsters are the best bet at a very fair price and in fact at least one of them just helped them win the Cup.
Farm systems are incredibly important. Right now, I doubt any youngster could crack the opening night lineup. There aren’t any available spots to be taken. Thanks for the read Stewart!
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