Can Anze Kopitar Climb To An Elite Status?
When you hear of an elite hockey player you immediately think of Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Steven Stamkos, and a few others, but I don’t think anyone places Anze Kopitar in that category. What sets those players apart from other good players is that these top players in the NHL are able to single-handedly control the tempo of a game and make the big plays when their team needs it. These players are capable of producing 100+ points and 50+ goals per season and have set themselves on another level from the rest of the league.
Even though Kopitar is one of the best scoring forwards on the Los Angeles Kings, people many times do not even consider his name when debating about who the “best” player in the league is. Kopitar has had a great NHL career so far and keep in mind the kid is only 24.
During his first NHL season in 06-07, Kopitar racked up 20 goals and 61 points in only 72 games. Since then, Kopitar had his best season in 09-10 where he had career highs in goals (34) and points (81). He has remained consistent hitting 73 and 76 points in the last 2 seasons. But the question remains, can Kopitar bump himself to that next level?
During this previous season, the Kings had the second lowest goals for total in the NHL, but on stellar defense and goal tending, they were able to clinch that 8th spot in the west. Still, Kopitar was able to put up 76 points in which the next closest player on the Kings was Justin Williams with only 59 points.
However, Kopitar showed in the playoffs that he had the potential to play better than what he has in the past. Kopitar managed to produce at a point per game rate hitting 20 points in 20 games. Keep in mind that the Kings had to take on the top 3 Western teams plus the tough New Jersey Devils, which is no easy task.
If Kopitar keeps this groove and the Kings continue their play, there is no reason why Kopitar wont be able to hit 90+ points and 40+ goals. He has the skill and he can play in multiple situations. So is this the year we see Kopitar’s name on top of the leaderboards?
Kopitar certainly has the potential to become better and fight for the Art Ross Trophy year after year, and hopefully we all see it happen very soon.
Follow me on twitter @TonyMoreno20 for news, updates, or discussions.