Los Angeles Kings
The Los Angeles Kings were founded back in 1967 as part of the NHL’s 6-team expansion. Since debuting in the NHL, they have gone on to win 2 Stanley Cups, 3 Conference Championships, and 1 Divisional Championship.
In the 2011-12 and 2013-14 seasons, the Kings won the Stanley Cup, led by center Anze Kopitar, team captain Dustin Brown, and goalie Jonathan Quick. In 2012, they defeated the New Jersey Devils in a 4-2 series, and Quick was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs. In 2014, they beat the New York Rangers 4-1; winger Justin Williams won the Conn Smythe this time.
Marcel Dionne holds the Kings’ all-time record for points with 1,307 and assists with 757. Their leading goal scorer is Luc Robitaille, with 557, 73 of which were game-winners. The Kings’ most famous player to ever play for their franchise is NHL legend Wayne Gretzky.
In 1988, the Kings made an enormous trade to bring him from the Edmonton Oilers to Los Angeles. This was big for the expansion and growth in popularity of the sport and for hockey in LA, considering the league’s best player now played in America rather than Canada. Gretzky would break many of the NHL records he owns while playing for the Kings, such as the all-time goals record. Unfortunately, they were never able to win a Stanley Cup during his tenure with the team, losing in the Cup final in 1993 to the Montreal Canadiens.
Their current owners, Philip Anschutz, and Ed Roski, purchased the team from its founders in 1995 after undergoing some financial hardships. Their general manager is currently former star defenseman Rob Blake, and the head coach is Todd McLellan.
A look inside the team:
The Kings finished 29-35-6 this past season, ranking 7th in the Pacific Division. This was their 1st season under new head coach Todd McLellan, who is looking to help rebuild the Kings. They will hope to bounce back and make the playoffs next year.
Due in part to the Covid-19 outbreak delaying the NHL regular season, the Kings, unfortunately, missed out on the playoffs this past season. The NHL playoffs were started immediately upon return, and the Kings didn’t qualify. However, it wasn’t all bad, as they were awarded the 2nd overall pick in the lottery. The Kings choose 18-year old center Quinton Byfield from the Sudbury Wolves(OHL), making him the highest-drafted black player of all-time. In the Ontario Hockey League, Byfield scored 143 points over two seasons – 61 goals and 82 assists in 109 games.
During this recent NHL Draft, the Kings also traded a 2nd-round pick for the former 7th overall pick in 2017, forward Lias Andersson. The 21-year old has potential and is looking to begin fresh; interestingly, his father also works in one of the King’s front office scouting departments.
Center Anze Kopitar had the best season for the Kings last year, recording 62 points on 21 goals and 41 assists all team-highs. He had 13 even-strength goals, 7 power-play goals, and 1 short-handed goal. Kopitar also finished 2nd on the team in game-winning goals with 5.
Their younger center, 26-year old Alex Iafallo, also had a strong year, with 17 goals and 26 assists. He had a shooting percentage of 12% and had the 3rd highest time on ice for the Kings. Veteran right winger Dustin Brown was their 3rd most productive player for the year, finishing with 35 points – 17 goals and 18 assists. Brown was 2nd on the team in shots on goal.
Their goalie is long-time veteran Jonathan Quick. This past season, he had a save percentage of 90.4%. Quick holds nearly every Los Angeles franchise goalie-related record. Although he helped lead them to their Stanley Cup appearances, he’s getting older, so King fans may be seeing a new face in nets soon. Quick’s stats have been declining over the past few years, and he’s played less.
Odds, via Draftkings, for the upcoming 2020-2021 NHL season:
+5000 to win 2020-2021 Stanley Cup
+2700 to win 2020-2021 Western Conference