Los Angeles Kings’ Biggest Needs for 2017

LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 26: Alex Lintuniemi
LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 26: Alex Lintuniemi /

The Los Angeles Kings finished the 2016-2017 season at a 39-35 mark, twenty games worse than the prior season. For the upcoming year, there are a lot of question marks surrounding the team’s roster.

A year that saw the Kings finish in nearly last place in the Pacific Division was disappointing to say the least. Perhaps the only solitude that they could find is that the rival Coyotes were even worse. With the new season on the horizon, the Kings’ roster remains essentially the same.

There have been a few additions to the team, some that will hopefully result in an overall better team. Most notable are two veteran additions in Michael Cammalleri and Christian Folin, both coming to Los Angeles as free agent signings. Fans see a familiar face in Cammalleri, who the Kings drafted in 2001 as the 49th overall pick.

Folin, a defenseman, spent his last 4 years playing for the Minnesota Wild. He had his best year by far last season, putting up a +/- of +10 in 51 games played. Folin also managed to match his career high in goals, as well as put up a respectable point total. While he is not the long-term solution at the position, Folin’s defensive numbers matched the output of Drew Doughty last year.

Michael Cammalleri is the more experienced veteran, as this next season will be his 15th in the NHL. Cammalleri comes into the new season with 287 career goals, as well as 613 career points. Those numbers won’t exactly cement him in hockey lore, but they he will add to a team that scored 88 goals in all of the 2016-2017 season.

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The Kings struggled mightily last season, there is no doubting that. Each position on the ice had it’s woes, and some standout players had down seasons all at the wrong times. Drew Doughty had put much of the blame himself following a season which saw them miss the playoffs for just the second time since the 2009 season. Doughty certainly had a down year, posting a +/- of just 8 compared to his amazing 2015 season. That 2015 season saw Doughty post a +/- of 24, and earned himself the James Norris Memorial Trophy for the best all around defensive player.

Anze Kopitar also had a bad season last year, no doubt part of the team’s ineffectiveness as an offensive unit. In 2015, the Kings ranked near the top of their division in goals scored with 223 on the season, while allowing the 3rd least goals against. That all changed in 2016, allowing the 6th least goals but scoring the 6th worse goals for. Kopitar is part of the core of the team, so scoring half the goals he did in 2015 no doubt hurt. While his presence as a prominent assist man has not changed, his overall production will need to step back up to get the team back in order.

The Outlook: The defense has always been there for Los Angeles. Jonathan Quick is still one of the elite goaltenders in the game, and Doughty should bounce back as one the top defenders in the league. As long as the offense can get going again, expect the Kings to be back in the post-season this year.