The analytics crowd are quick to point out the possession-dominating Kings missing the playoffs was a stats anomaly. The purists say possession stats mean nothing if you don’t possess a playoff spot after 82 regular season games. What can’t be argued is Los Angeles played a league-high 64 games the past three playoffs. The time off this spring will do their bodies good.
Round 1, pick 13
Round 2, pick 43
Round 3, pick 74
Round 4, pick 104
Round 5, pick 134
Round 7, picks 187, 194
The Kings couldn’t score goals down the stretch if their playoff lives literally depended upon it. They won two Stanley Cups with an offense that was bottom-tier in the NHL. It was middle of the pack this year, but with a thinned out defense corps, all those extra shot attempts didn’t make a difference on the scoreboard. More secondary scoring is needed.
The retirement of Robyn Regehr and the uncertain future of Slava Voynov is shining a spotlight on the fact the Kings have little blueline depth in Los Angeles and throughout their system. With Andrej Sekera a UFA and Matt Greene slowing down, Los Angeles needs reinforcements now and in the long term.
GM Dean Lombardi erred in not making Mike Richards a compliance buyout last summer, so Richards’ $5.75-million cap hit the next five seasons will keep the Kings on a tight budget for the time being. The potential loss of pending UFAs Justin Williams, Jarret Stoll and Sekera will be countered by promotions from within rather than the free agent front.
In the System 2015-16
Center Nick Shore got a good taste of action and is bound to produce more with added responsibilities. Adrian Kempe, a first-rounder from 2014, is a cheap alternative to slot in among the top-nine forwards.
Did You Know
Thomas Hickey, L.A.’s first round pick in 2007, spent six seasons in the system before finally getting an NHL chance with the Islanders in 2013. Derek Forbort, L.A.’s first round pick in 2010, just finished his fifth season in the system without an NHL taste.