The Kings’ crown lost its shine last year. The Los Angeles Kings finished last in the western conference with 71 points only seven points clear of league bottom Ottawa Senators. The Ilya Kovalchuk experiment did not go as anticipated. Changes behind the coaching staff showing he was not what new head coach Willie Desjardins was looking for at the time. With Todd McLellan now taking over in Los Angeles he may provide the spark the team needs.
First Key Game: Vegas Golden Knights – October 13th
What could be seen as the old versus the new if the Kings want to prove they are not a thing of the past they will need to compete against the Knights (should be named the Battle of the Chess Board – Ed).
Odds to win the division
66:1 (t-7th overall) (via Betway)
Is this a bet worth taking?
This is a runaway no. The Kings are in a stacked Pacific division that is not sympathetic for off nights. The odds of 66:1 to make the playoffs would be something that this writer would consider but to win the division? I would put three teams ahead of them and could see them repeating at the bottom of the division instead of ending up on the top.
Keys To The Season
Story to watch
The year of the bounce back. Will Jonathan Quick? How about Ilya Kovalchuk? The Los Angeles Kings need to rebound in order to return to relevance. This will start behind the bench though, a familiar face to some of the players and the fans Todd McLellan has been in the King’s life at his two previous coaching spots San Jose with the Sharks and Edmonton with the Oilers. McLellan has also made a playoff appearance in seven of his ten years coaching and will hope his system will improve the Kings. That Stanley Cup win in 2014 feels like a hell of a long ago.
Player to watch
Tyler Toffoli will be a name to watch this season. If the Kings are going to have a resurgence, Toffoli will have to show his 2015-2016 season where he scored 31 goals was not an aberration.
If Tyler is unable to show this performance again in the silver and black; he may be attempting to do so in another uniform at the deadline or with a new team after free agency. This is the last year remaining on Toffoli’s deal, and if the Kings do decide to take this in more of a rebuild mode, he could fetch valuable assets for the team moving forward.
Jonathan Quick to be himself. While Quick wasn’t the only issue for the Kings last season, he was unable to be the magic wand he once was that helped the Kings win a cup and make problems disappear. Having three seasons remaining on his deal after this season the front office may be soon asking if Quick is the solution or if they would be better off going full tank and trading him or exposing him in the Seattle expansion.
If the Los Angeles Kings were an animal, what would they be?
A Brown Bear (thought I would not mention you Dustin Brown?), the bigger question is just what season are the Kings? Are they ready to spring into summer or are they prepared for the deep hibernation of winter?