The Los Angeles Kings entered the 2012 season as the defending Stanley Cup champions. They didn’t look like they were going to pose much of a threat to repeat during the regular season, but everything changed once they made the postseason.
As a five seed, they were able to upset the St. Louis Blues in six games. They took care of the San Jose Sharks in seven games from there, before losing to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks in five games.
The Kings were a completely different team when it came to the playoffs, particularly when it came to the goaltending of Jonathan Quick. In the regular season, Quick had a 2.45 GAA and a .902 save percentage. In the playoffs, Quick raised his game by the tune of a 1.86 GAA and .934 save percentage.
When it comes to the 2013 regular season, I think the Kings will be one of the best teams in the entire league. This team is poised for yet another long run, and I think they will be one of the top two seeds in the Western Conference.
They still have one of the top goaltenders in all of the NHL in Quick, they return their five top offensive players in Dustin Brown, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Justin Williams and Anze Kopitar, and the defense is led by the always stellar Drew Doughty.
The three biggest losses they will have to overcome are Dustin Penner, defenseman Rob Scuderi, and backup goalie Jonathan Bernier. Even with that, I think the Kings have enough firepower to take home the Pacific Division Crown. If Quick can play in the regular season like he did postseason, there’s no question that this team will be one of 2013’s best.
Final Prediction: 48-25-9 (105 points)