Three LA Kings killers avoided with all-Canadian division

(Photo by Ben Nelms/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ben Nelms/Getty Images) /

With the league trending towards an all-Canadian division for the 2021 season, the LA Kings will get a break from these three players.

The NHL is in the middle of a critical week in order to achieve a January 1 start date as planned. However, that door is slowly closing as the owners and players continue to disagree on payment, which is mirroring MLB’s disaster that ultimately delayed their season by almost four months.

The LA Kings haven’t played a meaningful game since mid-March, and they are expected to get at least a week of additional training camp time when the schedule is set.

It’s nearly a lock that the league’s schedule will implement an all-Canadian division due to the ongoing issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The 14-day mandatory quarantine period for travelers from the United States into Canada is impossible to determine an NHL schedule for the upcoming season.

According to The Athletic‘s Pierre LeBrun, a number of league executives, scouts, and coaches like the idea that would be in place for just this season.

The early division realignment suggests that the LA Kings will play the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars more often than in previous years. Of course, these two teams would be replacing the Canucks, Oilers, and Flames in the Pacific Division to create some hybrid version of it.

In doing so, the Kings would get a much-needed break from having to play these three players.

1. Elias Pettersson

Just 22 years of age, Elias Pettersson has wreaked havoc on the Kings, having scored a career-best 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in just seven games. The Predators are the next closest with ten points in six games. The former fifth overall pick in 2017 has a bright future ahead of him, as demonstrated by his limited but productive past.

Last season, Pettersson already had four game-winning goals before the New Year, including the decisive third goal on December 28 while hosting LA.  Pettersson lit the lamp just 19 seconds after the Kings tied up the game late in the third period.

2. Connor McDavid

Connor McDavid loves playing the Kings. His 26 points are second-most to only the Canucks throughout his young career. The former first overall pick in 2015 is one of the fastest skaters in the NHL. He’s been a nightmare for most Pacific Division teams, but he’s done the most damage against Los Angeles with just a 13.2 shot percentage.

Around the rest of the division, McDavid is approaching a 21+ shot percentage against the likes of the San Jose Sharks and Calgary Flames. The 23-year-old’s resume speaks for itself. The Kings will be happy to have a year off from McDavid.

3. Leon Draisaitl

Like his teammate, Leon Draisaitl has gone off on the LA Kings, scoring eight goals with 13 assists for 21 points in 23 games. The 25-year-old was one of two Oilers’ players to score a hat trick against Los Angeles in their 8-4 win back in March 2019.

Draisaitl will generally miss playing the Pacific Division in 2021, having scored 21 points against the Sharks and Canucks as well. He also has a career 23 points against the Coyotes on just a 7.8 shot percentage.

Of course, the Avalanche and Stars bring their own headaches in Nathan MacKinnon and Jamie Benn. The Kings have somewhat held the former in check, limiting MacKinnon to three goals with seven assists in 19 games.

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Benn has done well against LA, tallying 16 goals with 17 assists for 33 points in 40 games. The Stars’ captain has five career power play goals against the Kings-one of the best totals of the teams he’s played.