The Los Angeles Kings are in a strange position. But it is not a strange that one would try to avoid but a position any team would welcome. The Kings have been one of the NHL’s top teams over recent years. They won a Stanley Cup two seasons ago. Then came up just short of a chance to defend their title last season, after being eliminated by the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final.
So why is this a strange position? The Kings have been a franchise that has struggled for long periods of time. They have been a team that will be slightly successful and then drop off for another prolonged period. Now the Kings have a chance to establish themselves as a consistent force in the NHL.
If the Kings pull out another season that is capped off with a run deep into the playoffs they will have put themselves among the elite in the NHL. But if they fall short this season, it would leave a bitter taste in the mouths of all those involved with the Kings; fan, player and management alike. It would also place a sort of asterisk on the recent success of the organization.
Looking forward to next season, and even the couple of seasons after that, the Kings have a core of players locked up long-term that should make a consistent positive outcome more reasonable.
The Kings have Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty, Slava Voynov and Jonathan Quick all locked up for more than five years. Then you have Anze Kopitar for the next three seasons, and Jarret Stoll, Justin Williams and Robyn Reghr under contract for the next two seasons.
That right there is a group of very talented hockey players that, if management wants them to, will be playing along one another for a good chunk of the rest of their career.
This should build upon an already established chemistry that has gotten the Kings into the playoffs the last four seasons, into the conference finals the last two seasons and their names engraved on the Cup two years ago.