LA Kings: Forget the lottery and go for the playoffs

(Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images) /
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LA Kings Gabe Vilardi
LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports) /

Ok, so why make the playoffs then if the LA Kings are only going to get beat in the first round?

This LA Kings team certainly has flaws and might not even make the playoffs, but even just getting in would be good for this organization on so many levels. To start, the experience of being in the playoffs would be the ultimate development tool for the team’s many young players.

Sure the Kings veteran core is no stranger to it, but players like Vilardi, Roy, Anderson, Bjornfot, and the rest of the “young guns” would greatly benefit from the experience. This Kings team is expected to be a playoff contender as early as next season, so any playoff experience the “kids” can get before expectations kick in will only help advance their development and help the team long term.

To illustrate just how a team can build off a playoff experience, look no further than this year’s Chicago Blackhawks. Like the Kings, Chicago still has a veteran championship core that is incorporating several young players. Last season the Hawks shocked the hockey world by upending the heavily favored Edmonton Oilers to get into the playoffs.

Had Chicago lost this series, they might have had a chance at a top-three lottery pick. Instead, they still ended up with a very good first-round pick in Lukas Reichel, and the team has built on that playoff appearance to get off to an unexpectedly good start this season.

Besides, who says if the LA Kings make the playoffs, they will lose? When they won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014, they were the number 8 and number 6 seeds, respectively. When this team is playing their game and up to their potential. The LA Kings have a puncher’s chance against anyone they face.

Finally, the reason the LA Kings should be pushing to make the playoffs this season instead of playing for another lottery draft pick is this coming offseason. The Kings will enter this offseason with an abundance of salary cap space and will need to bring in players from outside the organization to complete the rebuild.

Should they make the playoffs, it would make Los Angeles that much more of an attractive destination for free agents, as they would now be a “playoff team” as opposed to a “team with the potential.” Bring in the right free agent(s), and the Kings could be Stanley Cup contenders again sooner rather than later.

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Talk of tanking for a chance at a high lottery pick has tailed off lately, as the Kings are on a five-game winning streak and playing their best hockey of the season. Are the Kings really a playoff team and are just now finally showing it? Time will tell. Whether they are a playoff team or not, the Kings are now at a point where losing should no longer be tolerated. For that, and the reasons listed above, the LA Kings should forget about the lottery and go for the playoffs.