Los Angeles Kings
2008/09: 34-37-11 – 79 pts (5th in Pacific, 14th in West)
Arrived: Ryan Smyth (COL), Rob Scuderi (PIT), Brandon Segal (TAM)
Departed: Kyle Quincey (COL), Tom Preissing (COL), Brian Boyle (NYR), Matt Moulson (NYI), Kyle Calder, Denis Gauthier, Daniel Taylor, Derek Armstrong (All UFA)
The Kings were a better team than their record indicated last year; they allowed the 8th fewest goals in the West, but the offence could not seem to click. Because of this, their 79 points placed them second to last in the conference. However, they added some grit and goal-scoring up front with the acquisition of Smyth, who is a great addition to any team, although maybe not at a 6.25M cap hit. They have a nice young core of defenceman to make up for the losses of Quincey and Preissing, and the acquisition of Scuderi provides a veteran presence on the blue line. If their young players take the next step and Jonathan Quick plays like he did last year, the Kings could make some noise down the stretch, but I do not see them making the playoffs.
FANTASY WORTHY FORWARDS
Anze Kopitar (C) – Kopitar took a step back last season, scoring 11 fewer points than he did in 2007-08, but is still a fine fantasy player. An improved team should help out his +/-, and he can be counted on for 70-75 points.
Alex Frolov (LW) – Frolov’s point totals have decreased for three straight seasons, which is not something you want to see from a guy who should be entering his prime. However, he still lit the lamp 32 times last year which ranked him 11th among left wingers. His stats are lacking in the other categories but reliable goal scorers are the toughest type of player to find. He could be a steal on draft day.
Dustin Brown (RW) – Brown also took a step back last year, but that was largely in part to a .082 shooting percentage, almost half of what it was the year before. Brown will bounce back and you can count on him for 30 goals, maybe more if he puts the puck on net 292 times like he did last year.
Ryan Smyth (LW) – Smyth will benefit from the move to a more talented Kings team, and should regain his form as a 30 goal scorer. Expect a fair share of powerplay goals, and hope he has smoothed things over with Jack Johnson.
DRAFT WORTHY DEFENCEMEN
Drew Doughty – While I would only recommend drafting Doughty in deeper leagues, he should definitely be on your radar. Another year of maturity will help his +/- and he could easily score 35 points. If he gets off to a hot start you should pick him up.
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Jonathan Quick – Quick had a fantastic season despite not getting his first start until December 19th. He compiled a 21-18-2 record and .914 save percentage, making him a reliable fantasy goalie for the remainder of the season. He is still 23 years old and should only improve.
Bonus: Despite losing several players to graduation last year, including Doughty and Quick, the Kings ranked 4th this summer in Hockey’s Future prospect rankings. The future looks bright in LA.