The Los Angeles Kings placed fourth in the Pacific Division with a 45-29-8 record and 98 overall points. The Kings were eliminated swiftly from last year’s playoffs by the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round.
Goaltender Jonathan Quick played phenomenally, as he posted a .947 save percentage. His performance was overlooked due to an unimpressive offensive display. The Kings scored a grand total of three goals in the Vegas series. Nobody found any offensive rhythm and facing Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury proved to be too great of a challenge.
One of the faces of the Kings’ franchise re-signed for eight more years. Drew Doughty (cover photo) is coming back to the City of Angels. The 28-year-old defenseman racked up 60 points last year, and will likely repeat his production this year.
The Kings pulled Ilya Kovalchuk out of retirement. He last played with the New Jersey Devils in 2013, and scored 31 points in 37 games. Despite a five-year leave of absence, Kovalchuk scored 417 goals in twelve seasons with the Devils. He will be an interesting player to watch this year.
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What To Expect:
The Kings are an aging team, yet aren’t out of contention by any means. Center Anze Kopitar, 31, remains one of the most prominent scorers in the league. Right wing Dustin Brown, 33, rebounded last year with 61 points.
Center Jeff Carter’s season was plagued by an ankle injury. However, in his 27 games, he found the back of the net 13 times. If he stays healthy, the Kings have a better chance of challenging the younger teams in the Pacific Division, and returning to the playoffs.
Will age eventually catch up with Los Angeles? Possibly, but it won’t be this year. They can still compete, and they have proven reliable talent to fall back on. If everyone stays healthy, the Kings will be back in the playoffs.
Photo Credit: NHL.com —Jack Woods covers the Nashville Predators and the Central Division for Fullpresscoverage.com. You can follow Jack on Twitter @jack_woods15.
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