And well they should. They’re an exciting team to watch, have great depth, talented young players at every position and the cap space to keep them all there long-term.
The Kings have built this team right, using a few years to get youth and build slowly through the draft, and not rushing players before they are ready.
They’ll be a powerhouse in a couple of years.
Best offseason move: Signing Willie Mitchell. They managed to sign a pretty decent defenceman for a small cap hit ($3.5 million) and short term (two years). That means it won’t screw up the Kings space when they need to resign Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson and more in a few years.
Worst offseason move: Putting all their eggs in one basket with Ilya Kovalchuk. The Kings tried hard to sign the free agent forward, but Kovalchuk signed with the Devils. When that happened, the Kings were left with signing Alexei Ponikarovsky, who’s a fine player, but isn’t what this team needs.
Dark horse trophy candidate: Jonathan Bernier for the Calder
Pool pick: Ryan Smyth. He started off the season so well last year that there were talks of him possibly being named to Canada’s Olympic team. But an injury slowed him down. He still finished with 53 points in 67 games. If he can stay healthy for the whole year, 65 is within his grasp. Who to stay away from: Alexei Ponikarovsky. Don’t believe the hype with this guy. He’s had more than 50 points once out of seven years. Look for him to finish with about 45 points.
Sporcle quiz: Can you name the LA Kings All Stars 1990-2010?
Best hall of fame choice: Drew Doughty. No one else comes close to making it to the hall of fame. Doughty has a lot of work to do before he gets there, and about 15 years to play,but he’s really the best choice here.
Blog to follow: Jewels from the Crown
My Prediction: Third in the Pacific, sixth in the West
Famous celebrity from that city: Mila Kunis