2010-2011 NHL Predictions: Breaking Down The Los Angeles Kings

Key Additions: LW Alex Ponikarovsky, D Willie Mitchell.

Key Subtractions: C Jeff Halpern, LW Fredrik Modin, LW Alex Frolov, D Sean O’Donnell, D Randy Jones.

It wasn’t long ago that fans were calling for the resurrection of the Los Angeles Kings. With other franchises in the area like the Lakers, Dodgers, Anaheim Ducks, and Angels each showing great promise every season, the Kings were wallowing in the West.

Then, in the course of a single season, those woes were washed away by some excellent play throughout the season. Though the Kings still exited the playoffs in round one, that doesn’t mean they’ll be a one-hit wonder. If their recent progress in camp and offseason acquisitions are any indicator, they’re here to stay.

Though the Kings spent a good portion of the offseason looking like a frontrunner for Ilya Kovalchuk, landing the star Russian never came to fruition, leaving the core of LA’s scoring untouched. Anze Kopitar broke out into new realms of stardom with his first 80-point season. Kopitar’s scoring touch and the ease at which he reads a defense are two dangerous assets that could propel him further this year.

Behind Kopitar is a plethora of Kings forwards who are more than capable of scoring 20 goals each this season. Los Angeles boasts Michal Handzus, Jarrett Stoll, Dustin Brown, Wayne Simmonds, Ryan Smyth, and new acquisition Alex Ponikarovsky as threats on a well-balanced, first three lines.

Ponikarovsky, acquired as recourse for the loss of an unhappy Alexander Frolov, has picked up for less than he had been asking during the regular season and could prove to be a two-way jolt. Brown is willing to take the body 100 percent of the time despite not being as big as many of his foes and could well hit a stride that sends him to 40 goals this year.

Handzus, Smyth, and Stoll are veterans of the league that each have their fair share of leadership talents as well....

About the Author