The offense for the Los Angeles Kings was just a notch above dreadful during the regular season nlast year. Their 29th ranked scoring almost kept them out of the postseason altogether.
Had it not been for Jonathan Quick, a strong defensive group, and Jonathan Quick, their dream run never happens. But Quick kept them afloat, the offense found its groove at the right time, and the rest is history.
Much has been made about the fact that this team is returning its entire roster from the 2012 playoffs. It’s seen mainly as a positive, and in a lot of ways, it is. You have that chemistry aspect, which can’t be overlooked. But returning a whole roster from a team that ranked 31st in the league in scoring doesn’t sound like a recipe for offensive success.
So should we expect the Kings to be able to continue the success in the offensive end that they had during the postseason? The answer to that question is very likely ‘yes’.
Health is the first key. This was a team that wasn’t entirely healthy throughout much of the season, which undoubtedly cost them some points on offense. A healthy and fresh team overall, with a healthy Simon Gagne (for now) should be a quick boost for this club. As should a full season of Jeff Carter. He showed some flashes in the postseason that indicated he could return to his 30-goal scoring ways some time soon.
Don’t forget about a rejuvenated Dustin Penner. His postseason run saved his hockey career and he’s earned a one-year deal with the Kings. He’s playing for a big payday in 2012-13.
But at the end of the day, this is still a club with elite talent in the offensive end. Anze Kopitar is a top 15 player. Justin Williams is one of the game’s more underrated offensive players. I’d expect Mike Richards to take a step back towards his old scoring ways after a season to adjust to the West Coast.
Also, there’s still young offensive talent within the organization ready to make an impact. Dwight King has the potential to be an impact player with half a season under his belt. Andrei Loktionov and Tyler Toffoli are playing for regular minutes, with Toffoli looking to make his NHL debut this season.
Not only could this team be improved on offense, they could be a force. The pieces are there. Regardless, it’d be difficult for them to actually be worse offensively than they were in the regular season last year.