Lack Of Scoring For The Los Angeles Kings Doomed Playoff Hopes


The NHL has made a lot of rule changes in recent years.

It’s to the point the NHL makes a few rule changes every offseason.  One of the biggest ‘goals’ of NHL executives, policy makers and owners is to increase scoring.  So why did scoring go down in the 2014-2015 season?

Through a number of rule changes and policy alteration the NHL has tried to increase scoring league wide:

Two-line pass is erased.  Limit hitting, fighting, and push enforcement of penalties that protect star players to keep them healthy and scoring.  Reduce goaltenders equipment size, making it tougher for netminders to stop the puck.

There’s a whole host of other changes, but the question becomes have any of them worked?

It doesn’t seem so.

This year no player reached 100 points – Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars won the scoring title (Art Ross Trophy).  Last season only one player reached 100 – Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby with 104.  In 2013 Martin St. Louis scored 60 points in 48 games, due to a late start from the lockout.  In 2011-2012 Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin was the only player to reach 100, with 109.  Tampa’s Steven Stamkos was close with 97.

Los Angeles Kings
Los Angeles Kings /

Los Angeles Kings

The more the NHL tries to tinker with the game the more we hear additional changes are needed.

Los Angeles Kings fans know better than most how badly more scoring is needed.

The Kings went through numerous droughts during the 2014-2015 season where offense wasn’t a problem, but scoring was.  L.A. routinely put up more than 30 shots a game, but they were stifled and snake-bitten; scoring only one or two goals.

The Kings had three 20-goal scorers, and only two players that registered more than 50 points.

Looking at the talent in the Kings forward lines on paper it seems difficult to fathom those numbers.

In seasons when he played in more than 50 games, the 41 points Justin Williams registered was the third lowest of his career.  The two lower-scoring seasons were Williams’ first two in the NHL.

Dustin Brown has never been a scoring machine, but Brownie’s a contributor.  This season?  Brown put up 27 points.  That’s tie for his worst career number.  Tie with last season.  The 11 goals Brown scored were the lowest since his rookie season when he scored 1 in 31 games.

At this point it’s clear there were problems with Mike Richards game and stats.

Defense is the transition position in hockey.  Defensemen move the puck up out of the defensive zone, and hold it in the offensive zone; thus limiting the time the puck is in your zone and maximizing the time it’s in your opponent’s zone.

L.A.’s blueline didn’t have a consistent year.  Most of that was due to injuries or missing players (Slava Voynov, cough*).

That’s no excuse for the forwards to not produce.

Looking outside L.A. it’s clear the Kings weren’t the only team that had problems scoring.  The Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche showed similar declines in 20-goal and 50 point scorers, and both of those teams also missed the playoffs.

Where do the Kings go from here?

Clearly rule changes won’t make a big difference.  If the NHL increases the size of the nets, or manipulates another rule the Western Conference will still find a way to play tough, limiting defense.

L.A.’s snipers need to come back hungry next year and get back to playing physical in front of the net, and take all the garbage goals they can get.  It’s how you beat elite goaltenders – don’t let them see the puck.  That’s how the Kings won the Cup.

Hopefully a lack of scoring won’t be a problem next year, because this season it doomed the Kings playoff hopes.

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April 7, 2015; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Los Angeles Kings Head Coach Darryl Sutter is seen on the players bench as they play the Edmonton Oilers during the 3rd period at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Walter Tychnowicz- USA TODAY Sports