LA Kings: Reviewing the Kings season through analytics

Apr 12, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; LA Kings coach Todd McLellan wears a face mask in the third period against the Vegas Golden Knights at Staples Center. Vegas won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 12, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; LA Kings coach Todd McLellan wears a face mask in the third period against the Vegas Golden Knights at Staples Center. Vegas won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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Andreas Athanasiou LA Kings
Mandatory Credit: John Locher/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports /

A lineup in constant change

Going into the 2021 season, secondary scoring was bound to be an issue. After the top line of Iafallo – Kopitar – Brown, where would production come from?

Screen Shot 2021-05-14 at 8.16.24 AM
Screen Shot 2021-05-14 at 8.16.24 AM /

Head Coach Todd McLellan found himself in search of that depth scoring throughout the year and looking at the discrepancies in minutes for the lines used. It’s easy to see. The Kopitar line with Iafallo and Brown did their part, posting an xGF% of 56.5, good enough to be the 16th best line in the NHL. The rest of the forward group, however, couldn’t find their footing, and line juggling was constant.

The big question mark for next season will be the left-wing position on the first line. While Alex Iafallo took on that role throughout most of the year, it’s widely known that in order for the Kings to be successful, a more elite scoring winger in that spot would be needed.

This isn’t to knock on the quality of play from Iafallo, but that it would be more advantageous for him to be placed in a secondary scoring role. That potential was illustrated toward the end of the year when Iafallo was placed alongside Gabe Vilardi and Lias Andersson.