The Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup last year and they did it in such easy fashion, many people assumed that this was a dynasty in the making, worthy of our NHL picks. A year later, they didn’t even make the playoffs. Is this a team on the rise or on the fall?
What’s With Quick?
It’s no secret that the Kings go with Jonathan Quick. When he’s on his game, they are incredibly tough to beat. When he’s off it, this team is quite vulnerable, which could influence the NHL odds eventually.
The Kings have won the Stanley Cup in two of the last four seasons but when you take a look at Quick’s numbers, he appears to be fading a little bit.
2011-12 Playoffs: 16-4, 1.41 GAA, .946 save percentage
2012-13 Playoffs: 9-9, 1.86 GAA, .934 save percentage
2013-14 Playoffs: 16-10, 2.58 GAA, .911 save percentage
The trend line is definitely in decline. And that doesn’t even include this past regular season when Quick had a 2.24 GAA and a .918 save percentage. Not bad but not great.
The good news is that Quick finished the season strong, going 20-10-3 with a 1.96 GAA and a .925 save percentage after the All-Star break. If he can carry that over to next season, then the Kings will again be on the rise.
Where Is The Offense?
Darryl Sutter has been the head coach of the Los Angeles Kings for three and a half years now. In each of those seasons, the Kings have been very inept in terms of goals per game.
Regular Season Goals Per Game
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In his four seasons, the only time they ranked better than 18th in goals per game was the 2012-13 season. However, the Kings have been able to kick it up a notch in the playoffs.
Postseason Goals Per Game
In two of the last three postseasons that they’ve played, the Kings ranked in the top three in scoring. Clearly, a light switch goes off once the playoffs arrive and they kick it into high gear. However, the Kings are only able to do this in short bursts. Unless they figure out a way to score consistently, they aren’t going to be a real threat.
It’s hard to believe that the Kings, a team that was so successful on the road in their two postseason runs, is barely capable of anything on the road in the regular season. Take this year for example: the Kings were an impressive 25-9-7 in home games this year at the Staples Center but were just 15-18-8 on the road. That’s the third-worst road record in the Western Conference and was only better than Edmonton and Arizona. The Kings were also 8-12-4 on the road during the 2012-13 season, which was the last time they didn’t win the Cup. However, in their two recent Stanley Cup winning seasons, the Kings were far more competitive with records of 18-13-10 and 23-14-4.
For the Kings to get back on track and find themselves as a Cup contender next year, they’ll need Quick to get better, the offense to get back on track and their performance on the road to improve.