Western Conference Outlook: Los Angeles Kings


Here we take a look at the 2014 Stanley Cup Champions, the Los Angeles Kings. There is not too much to necessarily depict from the Kings in comparison to last season and this up coming season, but we will take a look at the slight changes the team has made this off-season and predict how the Nashville Predators will fare against them this up coming season.

In case you missed it, we took a look at the Dallas Stars and predicted how the Predators will fare against them next season here.

The Kings A Year Ago

The Los Angeles Kings were not the best team in the league last season in regards to points, nor were they the best team in the Western Conference, nor the Pacific Division. The Kings finished the regular season as the number twenty-six team in scoring, with just 198-goals scored. Even with their ‘struggling’ offense at times, the Kings solidified a playoff-spot and we all know what happened after that.

The Kings saw the San Jose Sharks in the first-round of the playoffs and the Sharks looked like, at least early on, a team that could make a very deep run into the playoffs just off the first few games of the series. The Sharks found themselves leading the best-of-seven series three-games to zero, then the Kings caught their fire. The Kings had a come back of the ages and won the playoff series four-games to three; outscoring the Sharks eighteen to five in those final four-games of the series.

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It was safe to say after the Kings incredible come from behind series win they were beyond confident and poised to beat anyone in a seven-game series that was in their way of the Stanley Cup. The Kings faced another in-state rival in the Anaheim Ducks in the second-round of the playoffs, winning that series 4-3.

The Kings opponent for the Western Conference Finals was the Chicago Blackhawks. On paper this matchup looked like one for the ages, and it did not disappoint on the ice. The Kings found themselves in another seven-game series thriller with the Hawks, eventually ousting them 5-4 in an overtime game in Chicago to take home the Western Conference crown in their third game-seven victory of the 2014 playoffs.

On the other side of the United States the New York Rangers won the Eastern Conference over the Montreal Canadiens. This set up a great Stanley Cup Finals between two great hockey clubs with two of the best goalies in the business in Jonathan Quick for the Kings and Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers.

Quick and the Kings ousted Lundqvist and the Rangers in a five-game series, taking home the Stanley Cup with a 3-2 overtime win in Los Angeles.

The Kings number-one center, Anze Kopitar, lead the team in the points category for the regular season with a total of 70-points in 82-games. Kopitar also lead the team in points during their Stanley Cup run with 26-points in their 26-games played.

The Predators matched up with the Kings three-times last season and took the season series with a 2-0-1 record.

Kings Off-Season Moves

Why mess up something that worked so well a year ago? The Kings, by no real surprise, were a very quiet team this off-season.

The Kings did re-sing a lot of their Stanley Cup Champion team members this off-season. Los Angeles re-signed forwards Marian Gaborik to a 7-year, $4.875 mil/year contract and Dwight King to a 3-year, $5.85 mil deal. The Kings also re-signed defensemen Jeff Schultz and Matt Greene, and brought in new forwards Adam Cracknell and David Van Der Gulik.

The Kings parted ways with two-time Stanley Cup champion, defenseman Willie Mitchell who signed with the Florida Panthers and also forward Colin Fraser.

The Kings will have almost 100% of their same personnel they had on the ice a year ago, which I expect will work just fine after taking home the Stanley Cup.

Predators Predictions Against The Kings

The Predators took points in every match up with the Kings last season; each game being a one-goal differential. Both the Kings and the Predators were in the bottom-half of the goals category last season among all the teams in the NHL. The Predators and Kings both have all-star caliber defensemen in Shea Weber and Drew Doughty and great goalies in Pekka Rinne and Jonathan Quick. The Kings had, and still do have, the advantage when it comes to forwards, but other than that, Nashville and Los Angeles match up very well when looking at things on paper from last season’s standards.

The Kings don’t have many question marks, but the Predators do. None of us know how the new faces in Nashville will perform, but here is our best shot at predicting the Predators matchups with the Kings.

I expect another close three-game season series between the Predators and Kings again this up coming season.

The Predators have to travel to Los Angeles twice this up coming season and only get the defending Stanley  Cup champions once on their home-ice in Nashville.

The first meeting comes in Nashville in late November and I predict that the Predators will rise-up to the occasion of playing against the defending champions and take the win in Smashville in a shootout.

Now, for the next two games in Los Angeles, I predict that the Predators will lose both of those games but take points from at least one of them in fashion of an overtime or shootout loss.

I predict the Predators to finish the season 1-1-1 against the defending Stanley Cup Champions.

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