LA Kings among The Athletic’s top three franchises in ‘Salary Cap Era’

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

The Athletic recently compiled their list top NHL franchises in the Salary Cap Era. The LA Kings come in at number three.

Not long after the Tampa Bay Lightning clinched their second Stanley Cup in franchise history, The Athletic released its list of top franchises in the ‘Salary Cap Era.’ They used a point system to rank each organization with 11 points awarded for winning the Stanley Cup, 5 points for losing in the Stanly Cup Finals, 3 points for losing in the conference finals, and 1 point for simply making the playoffs. The LA Kings came in third on their list, tied with Boston and Tampa in points.

The NHL’s salary cap was implemented before the 2005-2006 season, and while it took a few years for the Kings to rack up the points, they made quick work for themselves in the 2010s. The 2009-2010 season saw LA make the playoffs for the first time since the 2001-2002 campaign. And it began a run of five consecutive seasons of postseason play, including two Stanley Cup Championships in 2012 and 2014.

The Athletic has the Blackhawks and Penguins ahead of the Kings on this list, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise given how successful those two franchises have been. The Blackhawks won three Cups in six years, defeating the Kings to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals against the Boston Bruins in 2013.

However, the Kings would return the favor the following season with Alec Martinez‘ overtime goal in Game 7 on the road at the United Center, sending LA to the Finals against the Rangers. Of course, Martinez had one of the most memorable goals in Game 5 against New York, scoring on a rebound in double overtime to give the Kings their second Cup in three seasons.

Pittsburgh has three Cup wins on their resume as well and have made the postseason every year with the exception of the first season the salary cap was put into effect. They won Cups in 2009 and went back-to-back in 2016 and 2017. Pittsburgh also had a Finals appearance in 2008, falling to the Detroit Red Wings. Most recently, the Penguins dropped their qualifying round against the Canadiens in the playoff bubble this year.

Back to the home team.

The best-case scenario is that the Kings sniff a Wild Card spot next season, but they aren’t projected to make a deep postseason run anytime soon. Next year will be about evaluating the talent they have in the prospect pool. Of course, they hold the second overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, which will only continue to stockpile the prospect pool.

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Regardless of the team’s record in the 2020-2021 season, hopefully, we can see the Kings return to play at the Staples Center on a regular basis as well as the development of the prospects in the right direction.