As part of our summer series previewing the 2014-15 NHL season, CSNwashington.com is analyzing all 30 NHL teams, division by division. Today we finish up the Western Conference’s Pacific Division.
Today: LOS ANGELES KINGS
2013-14 record: 46-28-8, 100 points
Where they finished: 3rd in the Pacific; 6th in the West; tied for 10th in the NHL [Won the Stanley Cup]
Coach: Darryl Sutter (4th season)
Key additions: None
Key subtractions: RW Linden Vey
Marian Gaborik – Anze Kopitar – Dustin Brown
Tanner Pearson – Jeff Carter – Tyler Toffoli
Dwight Kings – Mike Richards – Justin Williams
Kyle Clifford – Jarret Stoll – Trevor Lewis
Extras: Jordan Nolan, Adam Cracknell
Jake Muzzin – Drew Doughty
Robyn Regehr – Slava Voynov
Alec Martinez – Matt Greene
Extras: Jeff Schultz, Brayden McNabb
Jonathan Quick – Martin Jones
[RELATED: NHL 2014-15 team preview: Anaheim Ducks]
Our take: Far too often Stanley Cup champions spend their summers saying goodbye to the players who won them a championship. That was not the case for the Kings, who have managed to retain their entire roster from last season’s miraculous run to their second title in three years.
The Kings won three Game 7s during the playoffs, all of them against the Western Conference’s Murderers’ Row of the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks. Their first order of business in the offseason was promoting John Stevens from assistant coach to Darryl Sutter’s associate coach, which essentially kept him from going to Pittsburgh, Carolina, Nashville, Vancouver or Washington.
The Kings also opened their wallets to sign 32-year-old left wing Marian Gaborik [14 goals, 8 assists in 26 playoff games] to a seven-year, $34.1 million contract that will pay him $6.075 million this season and $3.075 million in the final year, when he’s 39.
Additionally, the Kings re-signed defenseman Matt Greene for four years, former Caps defenseman Jeff Schultz for two years and forward Dwight King for three years. As a result the Kings have just over $208,000 in cap space entering the 2014-15 season.
When training camp opens, all eyes will be on goaltender Jonathan Quick, who underwent wrist surgery on June 24 and faces 10 to 12 weeks of recovery and rehab. Quick went 27-17-4 in the regular season with a 2.07 goals-against average and .915 save percentage, and 6-10 in the playoffs with a 2.58 GAA and .911 save percentage.
If the Kings can continue to be among the top puck possession teams in the NHL–-they were at 57 percent at even strength last season--they should be knocking on the Stanley Cup door yet again next spring.
Offseason Grade: B
Will they make the playoffs in 2014-15? Yes.
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