Complete Preview for the Los Angeles Kings’ 2014-15 Season

Unlike 29 other teams, the Los Angeles Kings didn’t have to spend the summer of 2014 engrossed in how to be better. With two championships in three seasons, L.A. is one of the premier teams in the league (only Chicago stands on near-equal footing), and the primary concern was just keeping the machine together.

That’s what Dean Lombardi did. Marian Gaborik, who fit in so brilliantly after coming over at the trade deadline, was signed long-term at reasonable dollars. No. 6/7 defenceman Matt Greene got a four-year contract. Part-time NHL’er Adam Cracknell was the club’s big offseason addition. It was a summer of maintenance, not construction.

It’s hard to blame the Kings for their contentment with the status quo. Aside from the on-ice results, the depth chart shows a wonderfully deep and competent forward corps, a defence anchored by arguably the best rearguard in the game and a goalie who has come up big in the postseason.


What We Learned in 2013-14

Superficially, there wouldn’t seem to be much to learn about Los Angeles; this is the team that won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and went to the Conference Final in 2013. Yet, there was a significant lesson buried in the club’s 2013-14 campaign.

It was simply that the team is such a possession monster that even really significant problems can’t stop it.

In the regular season, the Kings couldn’t shoot to save their lives. At five-on-five, the team’s shooting percentage was a brutal 7.0 percent. For the sake of comparison, the San Jose Sharks were below the league average and still a full percentage point better; the division-winning Anaheim Ducks were three full percentage points better.

Shooting at the Sharks’ sub-average number, L.A. would have been more than 25 goals better; at the Ducks shooting percentage it would have scored just u...

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