Anze Kopitar put together an impressive performance at the All-Star game in Carolina. He netted two goals and an assist, and logged a significant amount of ice time in a game designed to feature the most talented players in the game. Nobody doubts that Kopitar is a talented player, least of all myself. That being said, if the Kings want to continue their strong play during the upcoming hardest stretch of the road trip, they’re going to need Kopitar to step up his offense. Let’s take a look at his offensive production, shall we?
First, let’s acknowledge the fact that he hasn’t exactly been absent from the scoring sheet. In the past 19 games (nearly 25% of the season), Kopitar has tallied 14 assists. It’s not a huge number, and still below what we will need him to produce to justify his role as the #1 center on the team. Regardless, that’s not the troubling number. The far more challenging statistic is the fact that he has only scored one goal during that time. Seriously, 1 goal in nearly 25% of the season. Seriously, extrapolating that rate over a full 82 game season put him at (rounded up) 5 goals. That might be a respectable number for Rob Scuderi, but not for Anze Kopitar.
I know, I sound alarmist. And obviously he’s not going to remain at this rate. In fact, Kopitar has historically been a very streaky scorer. The one thing that can be said is that even during his scoring slumps, he’s still performing at a high level. His role defensively, and even as a playmaker hasn’t dipped th0ugh his scoring has fallen off. Regardless, he need to step up his scoring. His 16 goals thus far are too few, and too far between. Realistically if the Kings make the playoffs, they’ll need Kopitar to bring some serious offense to compliment their strong defensive game if they want to get past the first round.
So here’s the million dollar question, with 29 games remaining, how many goals does Kopitar score? He’d need 18 in the next 29 games to tie a career high, and 11 to ensure it’s not the lowest total since he was a rookie. So how many does he score?