New Years Resolutions for the LA Kings

2023 was an excellent year for the LA Kings. They made the playoffs for the second year in a row while having Adrian Kempe become the first forty-goal scorer since Luc Robitaille and the point-per-game integration of Kevin Fiala. In the offseason, the Kings’ front office was busy again, levying the most prominent trade of Rob Blake’s tenure as GM in the Pierre Luc Dubois acquisition. The current season has seen the Kings become part of the upper echelon of the NHL’s elite caliber teams, though the league’s parity has now rounded six to eight teams of being contenders to previous eras where it boiled down to two or three. There is hardly room to point out glaring holes in a lineup that has skyrocketed this team to the best winning percentage in the West, but here are some things to have resolutions for.

The Elite powerplay of 22-23 has disappeared into a middle/lower pack percentage for the current season at 19.3%. The Kings are hurting from needing a righty on their first or second unit outside of their defensive point men in Doughty and Jordan Spence. Gabriel Vilardi is missed from the special teams perspective, and while he lights it up in Winnipeg, there will continue to be a heated debate amongst the fans and spectators as to who won the PLD trade. Pierre Luc Dubois was an effective powerplay pivot on Winnipeg’s top unit. He has not connected on the powerplay in LA, boasting a single powerplay point this year, being a goal while returning to Winnipeg earlier in the year. He was demoted to the second unit with more lefties in Danault, Moore, and Kaliyev. This has not fixed the issue of needing a better shot selection from both sides of the ice. The Kings are also hurting from not having Viktor Arvidsson this year, who is a primary assist monster on the powerplay but also acts as a shot threat.

The Kings have utilized more play from the bumper position, using a high forward, which has seen more one-timers from Kopitar. However, the goal most recently scored off the powerplay was off the rush.

The Kings are missing diversity in their units without right-handed shots. They are forced to set up plays that teams can read more in advance, seeing that one-time options from Adrian Kempe and Kevin Fiala are forced to the right side of the ice. While he is a guaranteed future Hall of Famer, Drew Doughty isn’t truly a shot threat and acts as a facilitator instead. It doesn’t leave many options. The one right-handed shot threat available would be in Ontario, in Samuel Fagemo, who has scorched his way around the AHL and has a scoring touch in the NHL to boot. Is he owed a call-up? That remains to be seen. If the powerplay was more lethal, we could rank this team in the top three spots in the entire league.

Secondary Scoring

The Kings started the season, lighting it up offensively from all of their lines. In December, their bottom six dropped off the scoring sheet. Carl Grundstrom hasn’t scored since November 25th against Montreal, and Arthur Kaliyev hasn’t scored since December 5th against Columbus. Kaliyev sees extensive time on the second powerplay unit as the primary one-time option but has yet to collect a powerplay goal in 15 games. Kaliyev has found himself in Todd McLellan’s doghouse and, during his entire tenure with the Kings, has sparked mass debate on his capability and potential with the organization. Can he play in a top-six role? Kaliyev has proven to be a scorer on special teams but has yet to be an effective play at even strength; it doesn’t matter what coach is in place; an NHL coach wants to give minutes to trusting players five-on-five.

With balanced scoring, the Kings started the season as a suffocating team that puts its foot on the gas for 60 minutes, rolling four lines. That has dried up lately, and it’s a massive reason why they’ve let teams back into games.

A new powerplay look and secondary scoring should be at the top of the list for New Year’s Resolutions for the LA Kings.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

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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