Will Kings Repeat 2012 Success?

Kings Once More?

1/16/13 in NHL   |   Andrew_Ericksen   |   230 respect

June 11, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown (23) is presented with the Stanley Cup by commissioner Gary Bettman (left) after defeating the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in game six of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals at the Staples Center.  The Kings won the series four games to two. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY SportsIt’s been 15 years since a team has put together back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships.  And in the last 9 seasons, we’ve had 9 different teams hoist the cup.
 
In other words, the numbers aren’t working in favor of a Kings repeat championship.  But all streaks come to an end some time, right?
 
Unlike a lot of the past Stanley Cup winners – who have undergone lineup changes in the offseason following their championship runs - the Los Angeles Kings will return a team that looks strikingly similar to their 2012 squad, and after a dominant playoff performance this past year, it’s safe to say that the Kings should have all the tools in place to make another deep run.
 
There have been a few hiccups in offseason.  First, Goaltender Jonathan Quick underwent surgery to repair an inflammatory cyst and disc fragment, but thanks to the lockout, it appears he won’t have to miss the opening weeks of the season.  Yet a more recent knee injury to star Center Anze Kopitar will likely leave the Kings shorthanded a bit to start the season.
 
With Quick, the Kings have one of the league’s premier goaltenders.  Up front, Dustin Brown, Kopitar, Justin Williams, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter lead a balanced offensive attack that did everything they needed to do in their 2012 playoff run.  And the defensive unit led by Drew Doughty, Willie Mitchell, and Rob Scuderi provided excellent support for Quick last year and should be ready to continue their stingy ways.
 
What’s similarly good news for the Kings is that the Western Conference is in a sort of awkward phase right now with usual powerhouses facing some big questions, and it is hard at this point to come up with a more confidant answer than the Kings as the top contender to win the conference.
 
The Canucks will have big goaltending questions, while the timetable for Ryan Kesler’s return is in doubt.  The Blues were led by solid defense and a goaltending duo last season, and it’s a big question as to whether they can repeat their 2012 success.  The Red Wings lost long-time defensive anchor Nicklas Lidstrom.  The Wild made the big offseason splash with Parise and Suter but are still young and unproven overall.  And the Sharks and Blackhawks return similar rosters this season but their recent playoff struggles aren’t very encouraging.
 
Will the Kings reign once again?  Plenty of work yet to do, but all the right tools are certainly in place.
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1/25/13   |   ML31   |   3615 respect

Can't agree the Kings are in a good position to repeat.  This is a team that barely got in the post season with the #8 spot and rode a hot goaltender through the finals.  Can that happen again?  Sure.  But the odds just aren't with it.  I think the safer bet is to go with the Canucks, Sharks or Blues to finally bust one out.

1/21/13   |   ZenoCosini   |   5 respect

I agree that the Kings are well-positioned to repeat.  The shortened season may be especially beneficial to them, given the injuries to Quick and Kopitar.