|Adam Cracknell – RW||Willie Mitchell – D|
|David Van Der Gulik – LW||Andrew Campbell – D|
If it’s not broke, don’t fix it right? If you look above, the Los Angeles Kings did not make many moves this offseason, but after winning the 2013-14 Stanley Cup and only losing Willie Mitchell, why change what worked last season?
It was not an offseason addition, but their biggest signing this summer was locking up Marian Gaborik for seven-years with an annual cap-hit of $4.9 million ($34.3 million total). The Kings traded for Gaborik at last season’s trade deadline and it turned out to be a great decision and may have been the move that ultimately earned them the Stanley Cup. After posting 16 points in 19 regular season games, it was his 14 goals and eight assists (22 points) in 26 playoff games that made giving up Matt Frattin and two draft picks well worth it.
The Kings have a plethora of talent up-and-down their roster. Up front Gaborik will likely play with Anze Kopitar to start the season and that duo has already proved to be dynamic. Gaborik has seven seasons of at least 30 goals and Kopitar has five seasons of at least 40 assists and 70 points. But that is just the beginning for the Kings. They also have Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown, Justin Williams and young talent like Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson… It is no surprise they are the defending champs. Despite all that talent, they rarely rank near the top of the league in goals because they play such a strong two-way game. No one will light up the league leaders page, but there will be consistent numbers across the board.
At the back-end is where the Kings have tons of fantasy talent. Drew Doughty is the leader on the blueline. He is excellent at both ends of the ice. He has played at least 24 minutes a game in every season since his rookie year and finished tied for seventh in the NHL with six power-play goals and 3:53 power-play TOI per game. Learning under Doughty is Slava Voynov, 24, and Jake Muzzin, 25. Voynov has not missed a game in the last two seasons while averaging 38.35 points per 82 games. Muzzin had a career-year with 24 points, but saw his goal production slip from the shortened season (7 to 5). Both play productive two-way games with tremendous offensive upside. Muzzin can fire the puck, while Voynov would benefit from sending more rubber at the net. Voynov will be a mid-to-late round selection but Muzzin should fall towards the end of the draft and potentially all the way to the waiver wire. Alec Martinez, 27, could also develop into a fantasy worthy option, but will start the year as a free agent in standard leagues.
The Kings’ top fantasy player is Jonathan Quick. To no ones surprise, Quick was stellar last season despite missing nearly two months with a groin strain. He finished the season with a 2.07 GAA and .915 SV%, which is what we have come to expect out of Quick. Over the last three seasons he has gone 80-51-21 with a 2.10 GAA, .919 SV% and 17 shutouts. Between Henrik Lundqvist, Tuukka Rask and Quick, the top-3 fantasy goalies are interchangeable. He could be a first or second round pick depending on personal preference. In comparison, Rask was 66-33-14 with a 2.02 GAA, .929 SV% and 15 shutouts while Lundqvist was 96-58-13 with a 2.13 GAA, .925 SV% and 15 shutouts over the same three-year span. Rookie Martin Jones, 24, was great as well. He went 12-6-0 with a 1.81 GAA, .934 SV% and four shutouts has the Kings’ backup. He will be a top spot-start option in 2014-15, but nothing more as long as Quick is healthy.
Look to the Draft (Ranking Kings’ Fantasy Players)
- Jonathan Quick – G
- Anze Kopitar – C
- Drew Doughty – D
- Marian Gaborik – RW
- Jeff Carter – C
- Tyler Toffoli – LW
- Slava Voynov – D
- Dustin Brown – RW
- Justin Williams – LW
- Jake Muzzin – D
Click HERE for the Kings’ potential line combinations heading into the 2014-15 season.
Season prediction: The Kings finish first in the Pacific Division and battle for the Presidents Trophy.
Other Season Previews: Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames,Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars,Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers,