NHL.com provides in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams in August. Today, three important questions facing the Los Angeles Kings.
[Kings31IN31:[Kings31IN31:[Kings31IN31:[Kings31IN31:Season preview | Best perspectives | Fantasy breakdown | Behind the numbers]
1. Can they get more points?
Los Angeles Kings scored second in the NHL (199), ahead of Anaheim Ducks (196). Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown Los Angeles led with 22 goals each, the second largest among NHL team leaders Brad Richardson and Alex Galchenyuk of Arizona Coyotes (19). Kings' power game took 27th place (15.8 percent) and averaged 28.8 shots per game, tied second with New York Islanders in NHL, ahead of ducks (27.7).
Kings need the best players in it Ilja Kowalczukwho scored 16 goals in his first season in Los Angeles, and Tyler Toffoliwhose 5.8 percent shooting rate was the worst among NHL strikers with at least 175 shots on goal.
"I think the players we have now are still good enough to score more goals, as in the past," said Marco Sturm, Kings assistant. "From conversation to [coach Todd McLellan], he will definitely spend more time on strength training, so I see that we are moving forward, scoring more goals, especially in special teams. "
Video: 31 on 31: Los Angeles Kings 2019-20 season preview
2. Can they reverse this in defense?
Usually the kings' strength struggled with their own end last season, finishing 22nd in the NHL with 3.16 goals per match, their worst average since 2007-08 (3.21), and 29 on a 76.5 percent penalty kill, their worst since 1989-90 (75.9 percent).
Kings have defense veterans Drew Doughty. Derek Forbort and Alec Martinezbut after purchase Dion Phaneuf and losing Oscar Fantenberg to Vancouver Canucks in a free agency, Los Angeles will need young defenders like Sean Walker, 24 and Matt Roy24 to accelerate their development.
"The start wasn't what we wanted (last season)," said Sturm. "And if it happens, as Forbort said, the guys are holding on harder, the guys are frustrated and suddenly during the season … things have gone a bit.
"It was a new situation for our team and our players, so I really believe that the guys in the upcoming season will be better prepared and we will have no excuses."
3. Can Jonathan Quick keep well?
Rapid had its worst full NHL season – 3.38 goals – compared to an average of 888 percent in savings – but the questions starting the season have more to do with his health than with the game. The 33-year-old lost a long period last season due to torn meniscus surgery, two years removed since he played 17 games due to non-surgical lower body injury. This injury occurred in the same area as the strained groin, which held him for almost two months in 2013–2014.
Although Quick may no longer be a goalkeeper who can start over 60 games in a season, Kings don't need him. Jack Campbell (2.30 GAA, .928 percent savings in the previous season) proved that he is more than capable of backing up, so if Quick can stay healthy, with less workload, he can get back into shape from 2017-18 when he won William M Jennings Trophy, awarded to NHL goalkeepers with the fewest goals scored in the regular season.
"Certainly can do it" Alex Iafallo said. "We trust Him and He trusts us, and if we all do our work, everything becomes easier. He is an incredible goalkeeper. "
Video: Top 10 records in 2018–19: Fast