LA Kings Quarter Pole Review

When the Kings went out in the offseason and acquired Pierre Luc Dubois in the landmark trade of Rob Blake’s tenure as general manager, the trade between Winnipeg and Los Angeles for the marquee center became amplified in abundance due to its significance in the Western Conference. The West is becoming what it used to be for most of the 2010s, a juggernaut conference brimmed with contenders. Pierre Luc Dubois’s move to the Kings is arguably the most polarizing offseason move in the NHL. With a big center added to an already sterling roster that has made the playoffs the last two seasons, renewed and more substantial expectations are ever present for a team working on the limited time of two future Hall of Famers. Fortunately for those two, the Kings are so deep now that the weight is favorably distributed, exposing succession to greatness and growth: see Trevor Moore, Adrian Kempe.

Do you want growth? How about your second overall pick? He has been nothing short of excellent. Though he marginally missed his first career hat trick, Byfield will be a long-time king. Knowing this, management has taken their time and been patient with his character arc within this film. He has been assertive, strong on the puck, and looks like a first-line player. The points are finally starting to come.

The Kings are now 21 games into the season. They have exceeded any expectations. They are stingy defensively, leading the league with the fewest goals allowed. Their defensive core does not boast the Cale Makar or Quinn Hughes offensively potent defenseman. However, they have two shutdown defensive pairings that may be two of the best in the game. Drew Doughty will chip in for offense, and to be fair, so will Matt Roy and Vladislav Gavrikov. Their third defensive pair has some eccentric flair to it. Jordan Spence beat out Brandt Clarke for a roster spot, which was Spence’s to lose. He has entirely played within his skin, and while he still waits for his first goal of the year, his underlying offensive analytics are supreme. The goals will come. And his partner? An insurance marker of a pickup during the offseason, Andreas Englund utilized the opportunity to force his way into the lineup and use his skillset to become a welcome addition to this lineup. Their defensive core has maintained the legacy of the Kings being a stingy team.

They have consistently been a stingy defensive team during the tenure of Todd McLellan, with this season’s defensive metrics echoing similar numbers to last year’s Kings team. Last year, the team heavily relied on a dynamic, powerhouse powerplay and received below-average penalty kill work that bled them goals against the entire season, becoming a death knell against a historic powerplay in the first round.

This year? They lead the league in penalty-killing at 89.7%. They are a team renewed and committed to making the clear, making the extra effort in a new formation that has catalyzed the rise in elite-level defending with a short man. The flip side? Their powerplay has sunk to the middle of the pack. Is this an issue? It could be in specific situations, but situational acts as pure speculation when you have such dominant five-on-five play, and your penalty-killing is superb. The powerplay must turn it up a notch to delve fully into the club’s killer instinct. They are within a grouping of the top five teams in the league without a dynamic powerplay. To add that as an element to an already deep and bolstered club with the deepest forward group in the league would be unrivaled. What can change that? Well, the return of a dominant powerplay figure in Viktor Arvidsson. That’s right, the team has been this dominant without one of its best forwards.

The return date is unsure, but his return would boost an already burgeoning squad toward the most outstanding season the franchise has ever seen, and we have yet to see the best from Dubois. Coming soon. Onwards and upwards for this deep, juggernaut squad.

Hear more from LA Kings Insider Zach Dooley and me here as we wrap up the quarter pole:

Episode 7. Player Safety First! Inside The Rink

NHL Player Safety is not policing enough incidents. Jacob Trouba is not suspended for swinging at Trent Frederic. David Perron gets 6 games, Eric Gudbranson jumps Nick Cousins and gets a game. NHL All-Star game changes. Winter Classic jerseys suck. Plus much more!For more from us, visit Inside The RinkHow to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  2. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  3. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  4. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire
  5. Episode 3. Firing Blanks

Connor Doyle

US Navy Veteran and UCLA Class of 2024. Background in International Development Studies. Los Angeles born and raised. Following hockey for over a decade.

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