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It’s Los Angeles Kings day on PHT

Aug 1, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty AP

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team?  The defending champion Los Angeles Kings.

After decades of NHL existence without managing to win it all, the Los Angeles Kings managed that feat in two of the last three seasons. At this moment, it seems like hockey fans are witnessing a battle for supremacy between the Kings and their conference rivals the Chicago Blackhawks (both locked up with two recent titles).

In stark contrast to the 2012 Stanley Cup run in which they lost four playoff games and never faced elimination, the Kings found themselves fighting for their postseason lives with great frequency. To put it in the simplest terms, Los Angeles went from an 0-3 deficit against the San Jose Sharks to winning the Stanley Cup with a dramatic Alec Martinez overtime goal against the New York Rangers … and it rarely looked easy.

Much like in 2011-12, the Kings didn’t win their division, although qualifying for the postseason was much more comfortable this time around.

Once again, the Kings were a dominant puck possession team that opted to add a significant (if often-criticized) sniper during the trade deadline to put them over the top. Much like Jeff Carter, Marian Gaborik really helped to push the Kings over the top, especially when it came to the postseason.

Still, the core players are still what drive this Kings team. Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty both made strong cases for Conn Smythe victories and other individual awards. Justin Williams finally received some mainstream attention by winning that playoff MVP. Dustin Brown was his typically cantankerous self. Jonathan Quick‘s 2014 postseason was as polarizing as his 2012 work was exalted, yet the bottom line is that the American goalie is already a two-time champion.


The scary thing for opponents is that the Kings’ best players remain in their prime years and the team didn’t deal with much in the way of turnover this offseason. In a way, the potential improvement of Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson might seem like an “upgrade” in itself.

(Re-signing Gaborik certainly doesn’t hurt matters, aside from the worries about his fragility.)

The biggest move might have been one that wasn’t made, actually, as GM Dean Lombardi opted against buying out Mike Richards. It will be interesting to see if people look back at that move as one that hinders future Carter/Gaborik-type tweaks or if it was a wise retention of a center who was once deemed elite.

While winning another Stanley Cup deprived them of a high first-rounder, the Kings stockpiled 10 selections in the 2014 NHL Draft, so it was a pretty promising summer overall for L.A.

  1. patthehockeyfan - Aug 1, 2014 at 8:13 AM

    I like this summary. Well done!

    Loved the description of Dustin Brown as cantankerous! I think that description also suits Darryl Sutter. Maybe Jonathan Quick, too.

    Being the pita that I am, I wish a link had been included in the paragraph about the Kings not buying out Mike Richards. Dean Lombardi, in explaining why the Kings chose not to buy out Richards, spoke well of Mike. To make me happy, here’s the link to that PHT story:


  2. blomfeld - Aug 1, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    MERRY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :)

    even Rattus Pattus !! :)

  3. billiam55 - Aug 1, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    i just tcant wait for hockey season to start.

  4. lowenni - Aug 1, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    Kings’ll be dominant again next season. I don’t know if they’ll necessarily be so dominant in the regular season, they never seem to be, but come playoff time I obviously wouldn’t be surprised at all if they win it all again. Toffoli and Pearson are only going to get better and the roster is the same–I do think losing Willie Mitchell hurts though. Once again, looks like it’ll be a fight between the Hawks and Kings for best team in the league, record aside.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 1, 2014 at 7:43 PM

      The Blues have the capability to challenge, but yes, those are the likely WC finals teams again, producing the SC winner again.

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