Hockey World Blog Season Previews 2010: Los Angeles Kings

Key Offseason Losses: Alexander Frolov, Randy Jones, Raitis Ivanans

Key Offseason Additions: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Willie Mitchell

Last Season Ranking: 6th in West


Leading the way for the Los Angeles Kings will be their young and talented center, Anze Kopitar. Halfway through November, last season, Kopitar was leading the league in points after picking up 30 in his first 19 games. While he cooled down at times, his season was exceptional as he finished with a career best in goals (34), assists (47), points (81) and plus/minus (+6). In addition to Kopitar, the Kings feature Ryan Smyth and Dustin Brown. Smyth is pretty consistent scoring 20-30 goals each season, but has missed time the past few seasons due to injury. If he stays healthy, his production could certainly increase. Brown, the Kings captain, produces much like Smyth does. However, Brown is due for a real break out season, and this could be it. He will start coming in to his prime over the next few seasons.

Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles KingsNewcomer Alexei Ponikarovsky should fit in well in LA. He will see good ice time, and play alongside several stars who could really help improve his game. Wayne Simmonds should also see an expanded role on the squad after posting 16 goals and 40 points last season. He’s a great two way player who’s young, full of energy, loves to hit and isn’t afraid to drop the gloves either. Beyond that, players like Justin Williams, Michal Handzus, Brad Richardson and Scott Parse will provide the depth up front. Williams is a skilled veteran who saw time with Smyth and Kopitar when he was healthy, unfortunately, he missed 33 games due to injury last year. He hasn’t played a full season since 2006-07, which was only one of two seasons he’s played a full 82 games in his nine year career.


The Kings feature two of the top young defenseman in the league on their unit, Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson. Both players are in their early twenties, and already see significant ice time playing against the oppositions top line. They’re already quite experienced for how young they are, seeing time in the playoffs last season, and both winning medals in the 2010 Olympics as well (Doughty won gold with Team Canada, Johnson silver with USA). You can bet both of these guys are hungry for another season, and ready to make another run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Kings will also be deploying Rob Scuderi back on the blue line this season. He plays more of a stay at home game and won’t see much power play time, but will instead kill penalties. In addition, they’ve brought in Willie Mitchell through free agency. He played 48 games with the Canucks last season, but missed the second half of the season with a concussion. The concussion, the 3rd of his career, scared off a lot of interested teams, but Mitchell insists that he is healthy and fully recovered. The Kings would love to get a full season out of him, as a veteran in the league, he could really help stabilize the Kings defensive corps.


Jonathan Quick will be back between the pipes for the Kings this season, which should come as no surprise. He posted good numbers last year with 39 wins, a .907 save percentage and a 2.54 goals against average. If he can improve on those numbers a bit, as expected, the Kings will be in even better shape this season. Backing up Quick will be Erik Ersberg.

Season Outlook:

The Kings went from 2nd to last in the West two years ago, with only 79 points, to a 6th seeded playoff team with 101 points last season. While they won’t make a 20+ point jump in the standings as they did from 2008-09 to 2009-10, the Kings should be able to compete with last seasons numbers. The addition of Alexei Ponikarovsky and a healthy Willie Mitchell will help this team repeat last years performance. With the hunger and determination of this young squad, they should be able to make a deeper run into the playoffs. The Kings could even surprise some people and be a sleeper team in the West come next spring.


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