LA Kings: Team report cards after the first ten games

LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports) /
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LA Kings Matt Roy
LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports) /

With the LA Kings ten games into the 2021 season, how do the team’s grades look?

With the 2021 season nearly twenty percent complete, it’s time for the LA Kings report card at the end of the proverbial first marking period. The team entered this season knowing they would begin to phase younger prospects into the lineup, and given how they ended the previous season, there was optimism the Kings would be improved.

Adding to the optimism was the change in the playoff format, which has the top four teams in each division qualifying instead of the top eight teams based on points in each conference.

The season started with two heartbreaking overtime losses and only one win in the four games. Two wins in the following three games would give the fanbase reason to believe that maybe “the plan” would eventually work, and the team may just be starting to emerge from its rebuild. The LA Kings’ eighth game of the season against the Minnesota Wild would prove to be their most pivotal game, and not for a good reason.

Going into that game, the Kings found out Andreas Athanasiou and Blake Lizotte would be entering the covid protocol and therefore ineligible to play. Losing Athanasiou especially hurt. The speed he has brought really seems to be a catalyst for the team’s offense.

If this weren’t disastrous enough, the LA Kings would leave this game without two major pieces of their defense corps. In the second period, right defenseman Matt Roy would leave the game in the second period after being boarded by the Wild’s Kevin Fiala and would not return. In the third period, fellow right defenseman Sean Walker was hit in the face by a Matt Dumba slapshot, and like Roy, he would leave the game and not return. We now know both Roy and Walker will miss multiple weeks because of these injuries.

Their ninth and tenth games of this season have certainly not been highlights for the LA Kings. On Tuesday night, they lost by a score of 3-1 to the Anaheim Ducks. While the scoreboard would indicate a close game, they were badly outplayed their crosstown rival. Friday night, the Kings were blown out by the Vegas Golden Knights to close out the first ten game period of their season.

With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at the report card. The report card is broken down into four categories: offense, defense, goaltending, and special teams.