We are 14 days away from the start of the NHL season. The scheduling of your Fantasy Hockey drafts have begun. The DraftKit is on sale and it is time to start previewing the 2016-17 NHL season.
I will be previewing two teams every day and each preview will consist of: Projected Line Combinations, a breakdown of each team’s top Fantasy assets, a look at their goaltending situation and 2016-17 NHL Standings projection.
If you don’t want to wait for the previews, buy our 2016-17 DraftKit—which has previews for every team as well as projections for over 300 players and goalies. You will get rankings and projections on here over the next few weeks, but why wait, when you can get it all right now for just $4.95?
Let’s take a look at the Los Angeles Kings.
|Teddy Purcell – RW – (from FLA)||Milan Lucic – LW – (to EDM)|
|Jeff Zatkoff – G – (from PIT)||Vincent Lecavalier – C – (Retired)|
|Tom Gilbert – D – (from MTL)||Jamie McBain – D – (to ARI)|
|Michael Latta – C – (from WSH)||Nick Ebert – D – (to DAL)|
|Zach Trotman – D – (from BOS)||Jeff Schultz – D – (to ANA)|
From 2012-to-2014 the Los Angeles Kings won two out of three Stanley Cups only to miss the playoffs in 2015 and get bounced in the first round in 2016. They have become a somewhat inconsistently consistent bunch, having won at least forty games in six consecutive (full 82 game) seasons.
Despite a lot of regular season success, the Kings haven’t exactly been a factory for fantasy success—aside from Jonathan Quick. A lot of that can obviously be attributed to their lack of goal scoring over the years. Over the last five seasons, Los Angeles is tied for 20th in the NHL in goals for (2.60), but rank first in goals against (2.26). This isn’t to say that they don’t have fantasy relevant forwards and defensemen, but for a team that wins as much as they do, you’d expect there would be more.
Up front they are nearly split right down the middle in terms of young and veteran forwards. They are led by one of the NHL’s best two-way centres in Anze Kopitar, who has scored the eighth-most points (208) among centres over the last three seasons. Fellow centre Jeff Carter has seen his goal production slide from the 30’s to the mid-20’s but has seen an impressive bump in his assist totals. Over that same three year span he ranks ninth in goals (79), 19th in points (174) and tied for 27th in assists (95) among centres. Carter typically plays with Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson, on what is known as “That 70’s Line.” Toffoli is one of the top possession forwards in the NHL and is coming off of his first 30-goal season (31). When Toffoli’s linemates play without him, they carry a 54 CorsiFor% (CF%) but that balloons to an uber-impressive 60 CF% with Toffoli. Pearson’s offensive numbers aren’t quite as impressive—he’s coming off of 36 points (15G / 21A) in 2015-16—but his best years are still ahead of him. Look for Pearson to play the majority of the year with Carter and Toffoli and top 40 points for the first time in his career. Outside of those four, the rest of the Kings’ forwards are fringe draft picks/waiver wire additions. Veteran wingers Marian Gaborik and Teddy Purcell are no strangers to putting up strong offensive numbers, but haven’t done so in years. Gabroik is a massive injury risk, having missed an entire seasons worth of games over the last three years and is already expected to miss the first eight weeks of this season. Purcell is coming off of 43 points (14G / 29A) with the Oilers and Panthers last year and this season he returns to the team that he broke into the NHL with back in 2007-08.
The blueline is where the Kings are the most impressive. They are led by Drew Doughty, who has typically been a better real-life hockey player than in the fantasy world, but he was equally impressive in 2015-16. He had 51 points (14G / 37A) in 82 games last season, but ranked 18th among defensemen in points in the four previous years combined. He is a massive name, but is more of a fantasy No.2 defenseman with obvious No.1 upside based on last year’s huge numbers. Jake Muzzin remains one of the most underrated fantasy defenseman. He has posted back-to-back 40-plus point seasons and his combined 81 points is good for 25th among blueliners. Muzzin has quietly gone about his business, but is not longer underrated in fantasy circles. The rest of their blueline is filled out with Brayden McNabb, Alec Martinez, Zach Trotman and Tom Gilbert—Martinez is likely the only one who will have any fantasy impact this season.
In goal the Kings are also very strong. Last year, Jonathan Quick won 40 games for the first time in his career and ranks second in the NHL with 76 wins over the last two years. Over that stretch he is seventh in GAA (2.23) and 17th in SV% (.918). The Kings strong defensive play enables Quick to be a top-5 fantasy netminder. He will have a new backup this year with Jeff Zatkoff coming back to Los Angeles after spending the last four years in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ organization.
Overall, the Kings didn’t undergo many big changes this summer and they should be equally as good as they were last season. They have a good chance to finish a top the Pacific Division.
Kings in the DFO Top 275:
- 20. Jonathan Quick – G
- 42. Anze Kopitar – C
- 72. Jeff Carter – C
- 86. Tyler Toffoli – RW
- 93. Drew Doughty – D
- 132. Jake Muzzin – D
- 252. Tanner Pearson – LW
2016-17 Season Projection:
The Pacific Division has been one of the tougher divisions over the years, but it looks like the Anaheim Ducks are taking a step in the wrong direction while the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Arizona Coyotes are moving forward. All-in-all the Kings remain the most consistent team in the division and will push the San Jose Sharks for first.