LA Kings: Does the LA Kings core have a championship encore?

LA Kings (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
LA Kings (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images) /
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LA Kings 2012
LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The LA Kings championship core consists of Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Quick, Drew Doughty, and Jeff Carter. Together, they led the team to its highest points in franchise history – can they do it again?

Dean Lombardi was hired as the General Manager of the LA Kings on April 21, 2006, and many credit him being the architect of the 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup-winning teams. A closer look, however, reveals the ascension to the top began before he was hired.

Then Los Angeles General Manager Dave Taylor drafted Dustin Brown in the first round of the 2003 NHL entry draft. Brown would quickly become captain and a face of the franchise with his gritty, tenacious play while possessing a goal scorer’s touch. A solid cornerstone on which to build had been established.

Two years later, in 2005, Taylor would strike draft day gold again. With the #11 overall pick, he selected Anze Kopitar – the bonafide #1 center every championship team needs. Two rounds later, goaltender Jonathan Quick‘s name would be called. After eventually beating out Jonathan Bernier for the Kings starting job in the crease, Quick would establish himself as “the best money goaltender in the game” during the cup years.

The fourth piece of the core was drafted by Dean Lombardi. With the #2 overall pick in the 2008 NHL entry draft, LA took Drew Doughty. The right-handed shooting defenseman jumped right into the NHL as an 18-year-old and never looked back. Not only would he win the Stanley Cup twice, in 2016 he won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman. Over the years, Doughty has become a favorite among reporters – as he is rarely at a loss for words.

Dean Lombardi made several trades that helped make the LA Kings into a powerhouse, bringing in Mike Richards, Matt Greene, Jarret Stoll, and Marian Gaborik among others. The trade for Jeff Carter from the Columbus Blue Jackets at the 2012 trade deadline, however, would turn out to be the most impactful deal he made. Still, with the team, Carter’s impact on the championship teams was huge. Even at 36 years old, the team just isn’t the same when its alternate captain is not in the lineup or playing at 100 percent.

With a core group of players like this, it really isn’t surprising the LA Kings won two Stanley Cups. What is surprising is how quickly the good times came to an end.