Monday, September 17, 2018

Los Angeles Kings 2018-19 season preview



              In a big bounce back year, the Los Angeles Kings finished made the playoffs again, but they scored just three goals in four games, and were swept by the expansion Vegas Golden Knights in the first round. Bounce back years for Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown were huge for the team. This offseason, the Kings went to Russia and signed star Ilya Kovalchuk. Before we look into their team, here's some fast facts for the Los Angeles Kings.

Head Coach: John Stevens
General Manager: Rob Blake
Arena: Staples Center
AHL Affiliate: Ontario Reign
2017-18 record: 45-29-8
2017-18 placement: 4th
Division: Pacific
2017-18 goals leader: Anze Kopitar (35)
2017-18 assists leader: Anze Kopitar (57)
2017-18 points leader: Anze Kopitar
2017-18 points leader (defensman): Drew Doughty (60)
Captain: Anze Kopitar
Assistant Captains: Drew Doughty, Jeff Carter
2018 first round pick: Rasmus Kupari

Offseason additions: Ilya Kovalchuk, Peter Budaj

Offseason subtractions: Tobias Rieder, Torrey Mitchell, Andy Andreoff, Scott Wedgewood, Christian Folin, Kevin Gravel.

Forwards: Anze Kopitar is a top five center in hockey, maybe even a top 10 player. If Ilya Kovalchuk can transfer nicely back to the NHL, and Dustin Brown repeats his 2017-18 campaign, than that is a lethal first line. Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson form the legendary 70s line. Alex Iafallo, Mike Amadio and Jonny Brodzinski can be underrated bottom six players, alongside veterans Kyle Clifford and Trevor Lewis.

Forward lines:

Ilya Kovalchuk - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown
Tanner Pearson - Jeff Carter - Tyler Toffoli
Alex Iafallo - Adrian Kempe - Jonny Brodzinski
Kyle Clifford - Trevor Lewis - Mike Amadio
Other: Nate Thompson

Defenseman: Drew Doughty is the third best defenseman in the league. Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez are both top 20 left defensemen. Dion Phaneuf can play top-4. Derek Forbort is really underrated. This is a good core.

Defensive pairs:

Jake Muzzin - Drew Doughty
Alec Martinez - Derek Forbort
Dion Phaneuf - Paul LaDue
Other: Dan Brickley, Oscar Fantenberg

Goalies: Jonathan Quick, when healthy, is among hockey's best goalies. Back again, Peter Budaj will back up Quick, with former first round pick Jack Campbell as the third goalie.

Goalie alignment:

Jonathan Quick
Peter Budaj
Other: Jack Campbell

Predictions:

Top five scorers:

Anze Kopitar
Drew Doughty
Ilya Kovalchuk
Tyler Toffoli
Jeff Carter/Dustin Brown

Playoffs: Yes
Division: 4th
I think the Kings will be eliminated in the 2nd round of the postseason.

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