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The Los Angeles Kings have been one of the better teams in the NHL over the last decade, having won 2 Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014. But having just made it into the playoffs last season and being swept by the Golden Knights in the 1st round, all signs point to the end of this group’s run and towards a rebuild. They do not look like a team that can make the playoffs anymore, let alone make a deep run. In 2012 Coach Darryl Sutter got a Conn Smythe performance from goaltender Jonathan Quick. In 2014 it was Justin Williams who rode to the trophy, and Dustin Brown was the team captain for both Stanley Cup runs and Drew Doughty, the perennial Norris trophy candidate, was securing the back end.
But Darryl Sutter retired in June 2018 and in the modern-day NHL that is all about youth and speed, several of the Kings’ best players are the wrong side of 30 and removed from their prime. All franchises go through rebuilds, and that time will be now if not soon for the Los Angeles Kings.
The Kings were part of one of the biggest trades in professional sports history in 1988 when they acquired Wayne Gretzky and two others from the Edmonton Oilers for two players, three first-round draft picks and $15 Million in cash, a groundbreaking trade in that day and age. With ‘The Great One’, the L.A. Kings only made it as far as the Stanley Cup Finals in 1993, which they lost to the Montreal Canadiens. They have seen a lot of great players over the years, and have retired the numbers of (4) Rob Blake, (16) Marcel Dionne, (18) Dave Taylor, (20) Luc Robitaille, (30) Rogie Vachon, and of course (99) Wayne Gretzky.
Los Angeles Kings’ Standings
Here’s a glance at the Los Angeles Kings’ standings. Check out how they’re doing against the rest of the division and the rest of the NHL.
Bet On Los Angeles Kings’ Games
Coming into the season, the Los Angeles Kings were +2500 to win the Stanley Cup, but one month into the 2018/19 season, that price has skyrocketed to +7000.
Bookmakers can see the writing on the wall with this outfit. In all likelihood, the Los Angeles Kings will find themselves as bottom dwellers this season, and the front office will need to make decisions as to the future of their core group. To be frank, they don’t have enough good young players to compete.
Last season, no forward under the age of 30 reached 50 points for them. Though they had the number 1 penalty-killing unit in the league, their power play was in the bottom half.
Through 17 games this season, their power play is in the bottom 5 of the league, and their penalty kill is now in the bottom half as well. Furthermore, only 3 Kings are in double-digit points. And not one of them is a forward under the age of 30. Their third-leading point-getter last season, and so far this season is defenseman Drew Doughty. Compare that with a team like the Toronto Maple Leafs whose top 6 scorers so far this season are all 28 or younger and who have five forwards under the age of 28 in the double digits.
It may have worked out in their favour that both Jonathan Quick, two time Stanley Cup winner for them, and backup goaltender Jack Campbell both suffered injuries in the early part of the season. They no longer need to hide the fact that this roster needs to be blown up. Over one month into the 2018/19 season, only one player on their entire roster has a +/- in the positive.
The Kings may be the team that blows up their roster and trades a bunch of their veterans and bigger contracts in the 2nd half of the season when the big teams are looking to make acquisitions to help their playoff pushes.
But even though this seems to be the logical move for an ageing team, the cornerstone of their franchise, defenseman Drew Doughty, 29 years old, signed an 8-year extension this summer with an annual salary around $11 Million. That price tag will make him unmovable, meaning that any potential rebuild will need to be done around this contract.
This team should be a fade all season from a betting standpoint. Nine out of their 12 losses have come by more than one goal meaning there is value to be had betting their opponents -1.5 on the Goal line.
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