Los Angeles Kings are 12-1 to win the Stanley Cup.
The Los Angeles Kings showed that their Stanley Cup championship run of 2 seasons ago was no fluke as indicated by their performance a year ago. The Kings advanced to the Western Conference Finals before being eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in 5 games. In the first 2 rounds of the postseason the Kings defeated 2 very good teams in the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues. They especially showed a lot of character in a 6-game win over the Blues while overcoming a 2-0 deficit in the series.
When you talk about the Los Angeles Kings the foundation of their success all starts in goal. You would be hard pressed to make a case against Jonathan Quick being the best goaltender in the NHL right now. In the Kings Stanley Cup winning run in 2012 Quick posted a magnificent .946 save percentage, a1.41 goals against average, and had 3 shutouts in 20 postseason starts. Quick had a subpar 2012-2013 regular season but proceeded to elevate his game once again when the postseason arrived. In 18 games Quick posted a .934 save percentage, a1.86 goals against average, and had 3 shutouts. With this 27 year old star in the net the Kings won’t be any easy out for anyone for years to come.
When healthy the Kings defensemen are collectively as good if not better than any other defense corps in the NHL. You can make the case that part of the reason Jonathan Quick had a slight decline in is his play during the regular season, were due to the fact that key members of this unit were sidelined by injuries. Matt Greene was healthy enough to play in just 5 regular season games and just 9 of 18 playoff tilts. Willie Mitchell missed the entire 2012-2013 season. Veteran Robyn Regehr will begin his first full season with the Kings after being acquired in a trade deadline deal with Buffalo last season. Regehr appeared in just 12 regular season games and was in the top 4 rotation throughout the playoffs while playing in all 18 games. Youngsters Slava Voynov and Drew Doughty come off superb seasons and are only going to get better.
The Kings forwards may lack for a big name superstar but they’re a very formidable and well balanced group. All of the top 5 scoring forwards return from a year ago led by their captain Dustin Brown. If anyone has superstar potential in this group it’s 26 year old Anze Kopitar. Kopitar had 42 points in 47 regular season games a year ago. Kopitar has proven to be an almost point per game producer over the last 4 seasons. The only negative was a disappointing 2013 postseason that saw him score just 3 goals and add 6 assists for 9 points in 18 games. Jeff Carter, Justin Williams, and Mike Richards are all pure goal scorers with excellent postseason resumes.
The Kings can really improve their chances this upcoming year by having a better regular season than they had in the prior 2 campaigns. When they won the Stanley Cup in 2012 they did it as a #8 conference seed. Last season they were a #5 seed. Ultimately not having home ice advantage in a series caught up with them in the Western Conference Finals loss to Chicago. Especially consider the fact this club went an unbelievable 27-5 combined regular season and playoffs versus the money line on home ice a year ago. However, this is a club that’s proven it can win big playoff games on the road while showing a ton of resiliency over the last 2 postseasons.
With a roster that pretty much stayed status quo, one of the best goaltenders anywhere in the world in Jonathan Quick, and a solid coaching staff, the Los Angeles Kings chances to win the Stanley Cup at 12-1 NHL betting odds is a monster value.
My suggestion is to get down on this number for your hockey picks early, because it won’t be anywhere close to this by December 1st.