Welcome back to a new series here at Vegas Hockey Now, where we will take a look at all the teams in the Pacific Division and analyze what they did this offseason. The Golden Knights missed the playoffs for the first time in franchise history last season, so keeping an eye on the other teams in the division is key.
The Los Angeles Kings seem to be back in contention for a regular spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs after then re-tooled their franchise following their Stanley Cup wins in 2012 and 2014. Last season, they were one of the teams that took advantage of the Golden Knight’s blunders and made the playoffs.
They have a lot of young talent but also a good strong winning core with Drew Doughty, Jonathan Quick, and Anze Kopitar at the helm. Look for the Kings to continue to be a competitive team in 2022-23, and one the Golden Knights will need to compete hard against for points in the regular season.
LOS ANGELES KINGS
Last Season- 44-27-11, 111 points. Lost in the first round 4-3 to the Edmonton Oilers.
2022-23 Matchups- 10/11, away at 7:00, 12/27, away at 7:30, 1/7, home at 7:00, 4/6, home at 7:00.
Notable Additions- Kevin Fiala
Notable Subtractions- Dustin Brown, Andreas Athanasiou, Olli Maatta
This year’s Los Angeles Kings group looks relatively the same, with only a couple of names leaving. All-time games played leader in King’s history, Dustin Brown, has retired and will have not only his jersey retired but a statue in his honor this upcoming season.
The Kings made a big trade early in the offseason by acquiring Minnesota Wild forward Kevin Fiala, who is one of the most underrated players in the league. Last season Fiala scored 85 points in 82 games and will now bolster the King’s top-six that already has guys like Kopitar, Philip Danault, and Adrian Kempe.
Next step seasons from some of the King’s top youngsters could also boost their team’s overall performance. No. 2 overall draft pick from 2020, Quinton Byfield, has yet to emerge in the NHL. Additionally, 2017 and 2018 first-rounders Gabe Vilardi and Rasmus Kupari have yet to emerge.
In net, the Kings have 2012 Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick in a tandem. They also have Cal Petersen, who was also expected to take the next step in his career as general manager Rob Blake signed him to a three-year $5 million AAV deal.
If players like Byfield, Kupari, Vilardi, and Petersen can have coming-out parties in 2022-23, the Kings will be an even more dangerous team and could once again steal a playoff spot from the Golden Knights.
VHN’s Pacific Division Prediction– 4th Pacific Division, 6th Western Conference
Projected Depth Chart
Adrian Kempe- Anze Kopitar- Kevin Fiala
Trevor Moore- Philip Danault- Viktor Arvidsson
Alex Iafallo- Blake Lizotte- Arthur Kaliyev
Gabe Vilardi- Quinton Byfield- Rasmus Kupari
Mikey Anderson- Drew Doughty
Tobias Bjornfoot- Matt Roy
Alex Edler- Sean Durzi
Jonathan Quick/Cal Petersen
IR: Sean Walker