LA Kings: West Division power rankings after Week 14

LA Kings (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
LA Kings (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports) /

The dust has settled from the trade deadline, and the race for the West Division’s fourth seed is set to heat up down the stretch.

After a brief hiatus last week due to the trade deadline, our West Division power rankings are back.

There’s no longer the possibility of external reinforcements arriving. Teams are going to sink or swim with what they have. At this point, most teams in the division know whether what they have is good enough to get to the playoffs or not, though the race for the fourth seed remains intriguing.

Here’s how the LA Kings and everyone else in the West stacks up in the latest edition of our power rankings.

1. Colorado Avalanche (30-9-4)

Last week: 1

It seems that COVID-19 is the only thing that can slow down the Colorado Avalanche these days. Off since last Wednesday, due to a COVID situation with the team, they’re scheduled as of now to resume play on Thursday.

Next four games: @ St. Louis (2), @ Vegas (2)

2. Vegas Golden Knights (31-11-2)

Last week: 2

A six-game winning streak has vaulted the Vegas Golden Knights back into a tie with the Avalanche for first place in the West, though Colorado has a game in hand as of Monday. In other words, Vegas is undefeated in the Mattias Janmark era. Who said they overpaid for him?

Next four games: San Jose (2), @ Anaheim, Colorado

3. Minnesota Wild (27-13-3)

Last week: 3

The Minnesota Wild seem to be locked into the third seed at this point. It was a little surprising that they didn’t add anyone at the trade deadline, given the team’s performance this season. Perhaps that speaks to a lack of confidence in their ability to go deep in the playoffs this year, knowing they’ll be facing either Vegas or Colorado in the first round, with there then a pretty good chance the other one would be waiting for them in the second round if they managed to win.

Next four games: @ Arizona (2), @ LA Kings, @ San Jose

4. St. Louis Blues (19-18-6)

Last week: 6

Just when you think the St. Louis Blues are finally getting things on track — three straight wins over Vegas and Minnesota, including a 9-1 demolition of the Wild — they go and lose two in a row in regulation, including a crucial home game against the Arizona Coyotes. The Blues have two games left against the Anaheim Ducks and one against the Kings, with the other 10 all coming against the top three teams in the division. They’re really going to have to earn their way into the playoffs.

Next four games: Colorado (2), @ Minnesota (2)

5. Arizona Coyotes (20-20-5)

Last week: 4

That was really an enormous win for the Coyotes against the Blues on Saturday. St. Louis does have two games in hand and is still only one point back for the fourth seed, but Arizona does have a more forgiving schedule the rest of the way, with seven of 11 games coming against the Kings and the San Jose Sharks.

6. San Jose Sharks (18-22-4)

Last week: 5

It seems like there were no contenders who saw a use for a 41-year-old Patrick Marleau at the trade deadline, and it now looks pretty certain that he’ll be retiring without a Stanley Cup ring. Still, what a career, as he just passed Gordie Howe for the most games played in NHL history.

Veteran members of the Kings who’ve had plenty of battles with Marleau and the Sharks over the years showed their respect for him after they played San Jose for the final time this season.

Next four games: @ Vegas (2), Minnesota, Arizona

7. LA Kings (16-20-6)

Last week: 7

Two years ago, it was Jake Muzzin and Tanner Pearson. Last year, it was Alec Martinez, Tyler Toffoli, and Kyle Clifford. Last week, it was Jeff Carter who became the latest member of the Kings’ old championship core that the organization parted ways with as it continues its transition to a new era.

And it’s becoming painfully obvious that the next goodbye needs to be said to Jonathan Quick.

With a .890 save percentage this year and a .895 over the last three, LA will likely have to go down the buyout route with Quick at this point. Even if the Kings retain most of the money remaining on his contract, which has two more years at a $5.8 M cap hit left on it, there still may not be a trade market for the 35-year-old. If Quick is on the team next year, it will simply be because Rob Blake couldn’t bring himself to make a painful but necessary call, which would be unacceptable.

Next four games: Anaheim, Minnesota, Arizona, Anaheim

8. Anaheim Ducks (14-25-7)

Last week: 8

The last time we did this, I said I may just have to put a Trevor Zegras highlight in this section until something interesting about the Ducks to discuss. Then they sent Zegras down. So, uh… how about that Ben Hutton trade?

Next four games: @ LA Kings, Vegas, @ LA Kings (2)