Los Angeles Kings Are Flying High, But Are Still In Rebuild Mode

LOS ANGELES — With the Los Angeles Kings flying high, having won nine straight games and setting a franchise record for consecutive wins with a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Detroit Red Wings on February 6, many have probably forgotten one important thing.

The Kings are still in rebuild mode.

Indeed, even with the Kings currently living in the rarefied air of fourth place in the Western Conference, they are still not where they want or need to be.

“It clearly shows that we’re [going] in the right direction,” said Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi. “In terms of what you’re pleased with, it’s always been about getting better every year, having a nucleus start to form and to become a contender. So what that record represents to me right now is that we’re clearly headed in the right direction.”

“I don’t doubt that we’re [going] in the right direction, but we’re not going to be ultimately pleased until we get to where we feel we’re at Chicago’s level or San Jose’s level,” added Lombardi. “That’s where we’re going. So I’m pleased in terms of the right direction, but [we’re not] kidding ourselves]. We’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

Before this season began, Lombardi said that his young core of players had to get better if the Kings are going to reach new heights and, at least to this point in the season—58 games in, the core has improved.

“I said, at the beginning of the year, there were a couple of key indications,” Lombardi explained. “Number one, the kids had to get better. No matter who we added, the most important thing was that Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Jack Johnson and Jonathan Quick all get better. That was number one.”

“I think all of those kids, to varying degrees...

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