By Sean Sarcu @seansarcu on June 14, 2014
Now having won two Stanley Cups in the last three seasons, the Los Angeles Kings are the NHL's newest dynasty. The definition word, of course, is relative; increased parity in today's NHL as compared to the league of years past necessitates an adjustment in the word's meaning. Here are five reasons why the 2013-14 Stanley Cup champion Kings have risen to the top of the dynasty mountain.
Los Angeles' defense starts and ends with Drew Doughty, who is the best defenseman on the roster at essentially every measurable skill. He's hardly alone, though; the improvement of Jake Muzzin this season was a boon to LA, and Willie Mitchell is as solid a stay-at-home player as ever. Darryl Sutter has had this team locking things down in its own zone for three years running, and there's no sign of that changing anytime soon.
Having a playoff monster like Justin Williams playing on one of the bottom two forward lines is beyond a mere luxury; it's simply absurd. Jarret Stoll and Mike Richards help round out LA's bottom six, which is likely the best in the NHL. It's not hard to see why Sutter is so comfortable giving his third and fourth lines regular shifts during overtime playoff games. LA's depth supplements their already-great top six incredibly well.
The Kings boast one of the league's top three two-way centers in Anze Kopitar, but he is just the tip of the iceberg; Jeff Carter, Stoll and Richards join Kopitar to create a tetrad of centers who can perhaps be rivaled only by the San Jose Sharks. Centers are the most important players on the ice other than goaltenders for rather intuitive reasons; their position dictates making an impact at both ends of the ice.
After losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final in 2013 due primarily to not being able to keep up with them, the Kings got much faster at forward in time for 2014. Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson are two of the NHL's quicker players, and they ran roughshod over the Blackhawks in particular. Speed and puck possession dominate today's NHL, and the Kings are at the forefront of it.
En route to capturing the 2014 Stanley Cup, the Kings took down Chicago, the only other NHL team for which there was a reasonable argument to toss around the "D" word. The Blackhawks have two Cups in five years after losing to LA, while the Kings now have two in just three years. Next season will be an interesting battle between the two, but for now Los Angeles is the sole claimant to the dynasty moniker.
Sean Sarcu is a Chicago Blackhawks writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter or add him to your network on Google.
December 22, 2014 by Douglas Smith
The Columbus Blue Jackets are coming on strong of late, but they sit 12th in the NHL Eastern Conference due in large part to their poor defending in the third period. Read More
With the Carolina Hurricanes well out of playoff contention, it is time for them to ask for some help at Christmas to set up their trade board and make roster decisions for the future. Read More
December 21, 2014 by PowerPlayCJ
Now 11 weeks into the 2014-15 NHL season, pretenders and contenders are shaping up throughout the NHL, as teams are settling into their spots in the standings. Read More
December 21, 2014 by Shaun Lavery
Justin Faulk has had a great year so far in 2014-15, and he is without a doubt Carolina Hurricanes' MVP thus far. Read More
After a slower than slow start to the season, Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings has caught fire. Read More
December 21, 2014 by tjostrander
The Edmonton Oilers have been open to shopping Taylor Hall as their struggles increase. The Boston Bruins are the best option for Oilers. Read More
December 21, 2014 by Patrick Leiva
The Edmonton Oilers have fallen on tough times. They own the worst record in the NHL and have lost 17 of their past 18 games. See why all they want for X-mas is a paltry win. Read More
Matt Stajan, Mason Raymond and Joe Colborne are all slumping in their return from injury. An increase in production would be a great holiday gift for the Flames. Read More
December 21, 2014 by Lissa Albert
The Montreal Canadiens are having a good season so far, but could use a little Christmas magic. What should the Habs ask Santa for this Christmas? Read More
December 20, 2014 by Shaun Lavery
The Calgary Flames find themselves in a seven-game losing streak. You never want to blame one position during tough times, but goalies Karri Ramo and Jonas Hillner must improve. Read More
December 20, 2014 by seanmeyers
Despite the success of the Detroit Red Wings this season, the team has been dreadful in shootouts. As a result, the Red Wings should ask Santa for shootout skills for Christmas this year. Read More
December 20, 2014 by Patrick Leiva
The San Jose Sharks have been on a roll recently, winning eight of their past nine games. But in order to make a deep run in the postseason, they will need to find additional scoring depth. Read More