Los Angeles Kings
|2016-17 season: 39-35-8, 86
Did not qualify for playoffs
|Head Coach: Fired – Darryl Sutter (2011)|
|5th Place Pacific Division||General Manager: Fired – Dean Lombardi (2006);
Rob Blake (2017)
|10th Place Western Conference||AHL Affiliate: Ontario Reign
ECHL Affiliate: Manchester Monarchs
|Draft Position: Will have the tenth greatest odds in the NHL Draft Lottery|
|POS||Age||Name||Games Started||W/L Record||Shutouts||GAA||Save %|
Trades Made During the Season
|What They Acquired||Team They Traded With||In Exchange For|
|RW Jarome Iginla||Colorado Avalanche||Conditional 2018 4th RD Pick|
|Conditional 2018 4th RD Pick||Montreal Canadiens||F Dwight King|
|G Ben Bishop
2017 5th RD Pick
|Tampa Bay Lightning||G Peter Budaj
D Erik Cernak
2017 7th RD Pick
Conditional 2017 Pick
|Conditional 2017 5th RD Pick||Washington Capitals||D Tom Gilbert|
|D Cam Schilling||Chicago Blackhawks||F Michael Latta|
Impending Free Agents
|POS||Age||Name||2016-17 Cap Hit|
- The Kings have seven picks in this year’s draft and will actually have a first round pick for the first time since 2014. This will also be the highest that the team has drafted since 2009. The Kings could use another puck-moving defenseman to finish out their top four. They also need another strong center to slot in behind Anze Kopitar in the future because right now the Kings rely heavily on one line.
What I Said About Them Before the Season
- The main point I tried making prior to the season starting is that I have complete trust in head coach Darryl Sutter and his ability to get everything out of his players. He has established such a strong system that values puck possession that they don’t give up many goals. I was concerned about their lack of offense but thought that their defense and goaltending were good enough to shut down opposing offenses. I was really questioning of their financial situation and the overall age of their roster, considering they are an older group of players. I was mostly concerned about the contract statuses of Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson as both need new contracts but the Kings don’t have much cap space in order to make both signings possible. Regardless of those issues, I projected the Kings to get back to the playoffs and potentially make another run at the Stanley Cup.
- Failure – This is a roster group designed to be in the playoffs every season and be potential Cup contenders every year. They have an expensive payroll with numerous players signed to long-term deals and their farm system isn’t strong. They missed the playoffs despite being in the hunt for much of the season and added talent at the trade deadline in order to help in their pursuit. The Kings dealt with a significant injury to starting goaltender Jonathan Quick and were without him until late February. Peter Budaj was excellent in his absence, posting a .917 save percentage and a 2.12 goals against average in 51 starts. Without him, they would have been near the bottom of the league very quickly. The Kings also had to deal with a cold offense for most of the season, something the team has struggled with for several seasons now, and a major reason for this were the down seasons for Anze Kopitar and Tyler Toffoli. The Kings realy heavily on these two players for a large percentage of the team’s offense and Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty had to step up in order to provide the Kings with offense. Ultimately, their issues this season cost head coach Darryl Sutter and GM Dean Lombardi their jobs.
- I can understand why the team’s front office felt the need to let Dean Lombardi go. He made a lot of questionable player personnel decisions including signings veterans to long-term deals that the players will never be able to live up to. He also made the interesting decision to acquire Ben Bishop at this year’s trade deadline when Jonathan Quick was returning from injury. Despite this, I still think Lombardi should have had a longer leash considering he helped build a roster that won two Stanley Cups. What I don’t understand and completely disagree with is the firing of Darryl Sutter. He had these Kings teams at heights they had never reached previously, were regularly the best puck possession team in the league, and won two Stanley Cups. The lack of talent on the roster wasn’t his fault and he can’t force his players to score goals, which was their ultimate downfall. He is probably better off going to a new team that is young and in a better financial situation, such as Buffalo or Florida. The Kings will also have a really difficult time replacing Sutter with anyone of comparable value or who can guide the team to the playoffs again. For this offseason, new GM Rob Blake will have to figure out a way to re-sign Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson, who are key contributors to the team’s offense and need to be on the roster for future success. They also need to figure out a way to get more offense, either from players already on their roster or through the draft or free agency. Lastly, if I am the Kings, I am trying to convince the Vegas Golden Knights to take Dustin Brown in the Expansion Draft as he is very expensive and cannot live up to his contract. Having his contract off their books would be beneficial to the team going forward and allow them to actually pursue free agents once again. The problem for the Kings is going to be that their division is getting a lot more competitive with the Flames and Oilers developing into playoff teams and I don’t think that LA has much of a chance at the playoffs next season.
*All stats and information came from hockey-reference.com, rosterresource.com, spotrac.com, NHL.com, hockeydb.com, capfriendly.com, tsn.ca, and eliteprospects.com*