The Los Angeles Kings signed Dustin Brown to a contract extension earlier this summer, not long after locking up defenseman Slava Voynov on a new deal. With those two in the mix for the next several years, they’ve locked up essentially their entire core moving forward.
It’s a group that includes the likes of Brown and Voynov, as well as Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty. All of them are signed to long-term deals. Don’t discount the presence of guys like Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, who should also be no brainers to be considered part of the ‘core’ group of this team. And don’t forget about that Jonathan Quick guy. You could even throw Justin Williams in the mix.
The question of whether or not the Kings have one of the top core groups in the league is certainly a valid one. They have a solid mix of players up front, and on the blue line, as well as an elite presence in goal. There are very few teams throughout the league that can say they have that type of talent.
In Kopitar, you have an elite player. He’s one of the best two-way players in the game, is typically good for 25-30 goals in a season, and 40-50 assists. He’s dynamite in the faceoff circle. Joined up front by Carter, a premier goal scorer in this league, and Richards, who is an asset as a secondary scorer and a special teams guy, there is some high end talent, to say the least. Brown doesn’t bring elite point totals, but he knows how to put the puck in the net, and is a nightmare matchup, physically.
On the blue line, Doughty and Voynov are both top notch offensive defenseman. Doughty has the potential to be a perennial Norris Trophy candidate as one of the league’s best all-around defensemen. Voynov is a weapon back there as well, and really started to break out in this year’s playoffs.
And then there’s the man between the pipes. Jonathan Quick is an elite talent in this league, a quantity which many teams would kill for. Add him to the mix and you have an absolutely dynamite group of players in Hollywood. But to call them the best core in the league might be a stretch.
When you have clubs like Chicago and Pittsburgh, it’s hard to say that the Kings have the best. They’re certainly in the mix, though. With a Stanley Cup title in 2011-12, this group nearly got back to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2013. They have the group to continue to make noise again for the next several years, meaning there’s definitely good reason to be excited about the future of this team, as long as their current core remains intact.