May 24, 2012, 8:00 AM EDT
The Los Angeles Kings are just four wins away from their first-ever Stanley Cup victory, but perhaps it makes sense that they’ll need to face a player who was believed to be the “missing piece” to their puzzle to accomplish that task.
The Kings finished second (or worst) in the big free agent sweepstakes the last two summers. Depending upon whom you ask, Los Angeles went equally hard after New Jersey Devils winger Ilya Kovalchuk in 2010 and New York Rangers center Brad Richards in 2011 but came up “empty” each time.
In the process, the Kings developed a deeper, less top-heavy team that perhaps wasn’t built for regular season domination (yet?), but rather postseason glory. Some might even argue that – despite Richards’ and Kovalchuk’s talents – the Kings were “protected from themselves” by missing out on the best of their respective free agent crops.
Either way, there’s some poetic justice to the fact that whether the Rangers or Devils advance, the Kings will face a player who supposedly would have been the “missing piece” to their championship puzzle.
Which mercenary talent should they fear more going forward, then?
- NHL, Coyotes deny report that team is moving to Vegas 29
- Report: Richards’ border incident involved oxycodone 52
- Trade: Bieksa headed to California — but it’s Anaheim, not San Jose 24
- Trade: Jackets land Saad, Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago 89
- Hamilton signs six-year deal with Flames 18
- Sharks get Jones from Bruins for first-round pick and unsigned prospect 42
- Hurricanes to buy out Semin 15
- Bruins are talking to teams about Savard, but not Rask 14
- Report: Richards part of police investigation 47
- UFA of the Day: Mike Green 5
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (105)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (90)
- Trade: Jackets land Saad, Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago (89)
- Trade: Flames land Dougie Hamilton for package of picks (75)
- Trade: Busy Bruins send Lucic to Kings (66)