The Los Angeles Kings weren’t happy with the results of last season and cleaned house by firing both head coach Darryl Sutter and general manager Dean Lombardi.
Michael Cammalleri was added to the forward line of the L.A. Kings over the summer by signing him to a one-year $1 million contract. He formerly played for the Kings back in 2002/03 when he began his NHL career. He was subsequently traded to the Calgary Flames prior to the 2008/09 season. The Kings will need his offensive contribution, as the team struggled to score goals last season.
Scoring just 199 goals will not win a team too many games, and the team also hired Pierre Turgeon as an assistant coach in charge of the offense. It is hoped that Turgeon who scored 132 points in 1992-93 with the New York Islanders, can give instruction to the Kings’ players on how to score more often.
The Kings signed Darcy Kuemper, who came from the Minnesota Wild, to a one-year, $650,000 contract July 1, 2017, to back up Jonathan Quick. With Quick said to be fully recovered from his leg injury, which happened in his first game last season, the uncertainty of the goalie position should be laid to rest.
Jarome Iginla played just 19 games for the Kings and is still an unsigned unrestricted free agent.
Moving on up
Gabriel Vilardi was the Kings’ 11th overall pick this past summer and is only 18-years-old. The young center was predicted to be chosen higher in the draft, so the Kings felt fortunate to grab him at #11. It may take Vilardi a couple years to mature, but the potential in his game, which includes his individual puck skills and all-around play has got to make the Kings excited about the center.
Adrian Kempe who was drafted 29th overall by the Kings in 2014 may be ready to hold down a roster spot this season. He appeared in 25 games last season with two goals, four assists.
What can the Los Angeles Kings achieve this season?
After a couple of mediocre campaigns since their 2014 triumph, things needed to change. John Stevens replaced Darryl Sutter as head coach. Rob Blake was promoted to general manager from assistant GM, replacing Dean Lombardi. Executive Luc Robitaille was promoted to Kings’ president and will oversee hockey and business operations.
What may not have been addressed is that the Los Angeles Kings are the fourth oldest team in the league. The core of this team including Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Marian Gaborik, Drew Doughty, Matt Greene and Alec Martinez are all 29-years-old or older excluding Doughty who is 28. That means players like Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli need to step up to keep this aging team competitive.
Yet, when you have a couple of star players like Quick and Doughty there’s always a chance you can overachieve. Their striking downfall may be that they just don’t have the offensive firepower to win games. The defense and goaltending are stellar, but unless they find a consistent goal scorer or Kopitar and Gaborik suddenly get their groove on, it will be a horror movie for the Tinseltown Kings.
Taking into consideration their age and deficient offense, Los Angeles are likely to finish sixth in the tough Pacific Division, and 12th in the even tougher Western Conference. The team did absolutely nothing but add Mike Cammalleri to a struggling offense, and he has only scored 24 goals the past two seasons.
Unless some trades are made, or this team suddenly wakes up from the coma they’ve been in, it doesn’t bode well for them.
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