By PowerPlayCJ @powerplaywithcj on July 21, 2014
No team has won back-to-back Stanley Cups in over 15 years, and the primary mission of the 2014-15 Los Angeles Kings will be just that. Before they can accomplish this mission, they will need to make it out of the tougher than ever Western Conference. Teams around the West have improved, and the Kings will need to be at their best to vanquish these potential playoff foes.
The dynamic duo of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin gave teams fits all last season with their speed and skill. Adding Jason Spezza improves the team’s depth and gives them an entirely new look offensively. The thought of facing this young, upstart team should frighten teams around the league, even the reigning Cup champions.
After the collapse in the first round last year, blood will surely be in the water if the two run into each other in the playoffs. With the trade rumors circulating the Sharks it could be a new-look team that takes on the Kings.
Their seven-game war in the second round was in so many ways a microcosm of what is to come in the rivalry between the two SoCal teams. The Ducks will have rising star John Gibson between the pipes next year, and they made a huge splash acquiring Ryan Kesler from Vancouver. The team’s improvements could sway another playoff series into the team from Orange County’s favor.
The Hawks and Kings fought tooth and nail for seven games of the Western Conference Finals, and the Blackhawks continue to be among the league’s elite teams. After re-signing franchise cornerstones Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews Chicago will surely lose some depth players to get under the salary cap, but they are still a threat to the Kings and the rest of the league.
The Kings have vanquished the Blues in two of the last three years, so surely revenge will be on the Blues’ minds. They also made the biggest splash in free agency inking former U.S. Olympian Paul Stastny to a seven-year deal. The team’s depth and overall defense makes them among the best teams in the NHL and the biggest threat to the Kings in the Western Conference.
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