Last years’ record: 39-35-8, 10th in the Western Conference
Key additions: Mike Cammalleri
Key losses: None
Outlook: After yet another disappointing season the LA Kings cleaned house, firing head coach Darryl Sutter and Gm Dean Lombardi. The blame had to fall on someone after the Kings missed the playoffs for the second year in a row after winning two Stanley Cups in three years.
Outside of management changes the Kings had a quiet off-season. They signed former King and New Jersey Devil Mike Cammalleri to a one year deal. Cammalleri should help add some more offensive pop to a team that had some trouble consistently lighting the lamp last year. The Kings also added defenseman Christian Folin, which is one of my most underrated signings of the off-season. Folin should fill the void left my Brayden McNabb, who was selected by Vegas.
Los Angeles isn’t a bad team. Last year when Johnathan Quick went down with an injury early in the season, it seemed to spell the beginning of the end for the Kings. If Quick can stay healthy, which seems hard for him, the Kings have a realistic shot at returning to the playoffs.
Outside of the injury plagued Quick, the Kings will have some questions on defense as well. Jake Muzzin, Drew Doughty, and Alec Martinez return to provide a great top pairing and half of a second one, but that’s where the question marks come in. The Kings will rely on guys like: Christian Folin, Kevin Gravel, Derek Forbort, and Paul LaDue to fill those last three spots. The Kings have a tad over five million in cap space, so it surprises me that they didn’t bring in a veteran guy on a PTO. Rob Blake must be confident those guys can get it done.
Marian Gaborik’s health and Drew Doughty’s future with the Kings remains cloudy, but the Kings have the talent to return to the playoffs. Johnathan Quick will need to stay healthy in order for that to happen and the defense will need to gel early. If those things can happen look for playoff hockey to return to the Staples Center this spring.