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Los Angeles Kings 2014/15 Team Preview

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1Los Angeles Kings 2014/15 Team Preview Empty Los Angeles Kings 2014/15 Team Preview on Sun Feb 02, 2014 10:18 am

The Hockey News

The Hockey News
Division: Pacific
General Manager: Noel Hall
Head Coach: Darryl Sutter

Last Year: A hard fought year for the Kings as they earned their way into the second round of the playoffs before eventually being eliminated. A blend of youth, talent and elite goaltending led the way for them and their core looks to remain intact and grow together.

This Year: A terrific top two lines should pace this team offensively. Few teams in the league can match the sheer skill level on the top line and they’ve got a nice mix of role players in the bottom 6 to provide depth and flesh out their PK. Playing between Vanek and Eriksson, you could see Duchene challenge in the scoring race. The defensive group is solid from top to bottom with no players another team can try to focus on and attack. They feature one of, if not the best goalie in the game and look to ride their top end talent even further into the playoffs this season.

Projected Depth Chart
Vanek - Duchene - Eriksson
Hagelin - Hodgson - Boedker
Jones - Desharnis - Moller
Miller - Lapierre – Fehr

Edler - J. Johnson
N. Schultz - E. Johnson
Redmond - Polak

Lundqvist - Scrivens

Prospect Watch
Valentin Zykov (19): A sublime talent with speed to burn and a shot to kill, Zykov has a chance at becoming an elite winger. Works better without the puck and gets into great shooting positions. At 6'0 and 209 pounds you'd expect more out of his physical game and that's an area he could stand to work on.

Olli Maatta (20): Needs some time to fill out and grow his game, but Maatta projects to be an elite defenseman at both ends of the rink. Already a NHL level passer, Maatta possesses a wickedly accurate slap shot and enjoys playing the body. Needs to work on his skating to avoid getting abused by speedier forwards, but he's not far off from starting his NHL career and has a chance to be very special.

Dylan McIlrath (22): A hulking prospect (6'5, 215lbs) that could probably play third pairing minutes in the NHL at this point in his career, McIlrath projects as a 2/3 type defensive defenseman. A powerful shot, a more powerful body play and most importantly, a willingness to use it sets him up for success at the next level.

The Upside: Loads of offensive talent that should only get better the more they play together. Consistency will be a huge factor for them this year and if they improve as much from the start of this season to the end of it as they did last year, they’ll give Chicago a run for their money in the West.

The Downside: As talented as the forward group is, the D group lacks a true #1 to lead them. This is offset by having an elite goalie behind them, but they will rely a lot on their forwards providing the offence this year. Look for a potential rental move at the deadline to add a piece like that if they are in contention the way we think they will be.

Our Prediction: 1st in the Pacific, 2nd in the West

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