Los Angeles Kings Need Anze Kopitar to Grab the Reins

With a dozen games remaining in their regular season, the Los Angeles Kings sit on the Western Conference’s playoff bubble and need to string together wins soon.

Unfortunately, the only consistent trait this team has displayed in 2014-15 is inconsistency. The club’s top forward, Anze Kopitar, has carried the flag in this respect, continually alternating between quiet, messy and stellar showings.

If he can’t find his two-way groove in a hurry, L.A. will lose ground in the race for a postseason berth.



On paper, the basic stats would suggest a decent offensive season for Kopitar. He's on pace for 61 points after managing 70 last year.

A deeper look at the numbers, however, reveals that he hasn't contributed as positively in 2014-15. 

At his best, the Slovenian center utterly dominates the opposition in even-strength situations. That hasn't been the case this year, as he’s grown even more reluctant to shoot the puck than usual, which has in turn hurt his and the team’s attacking prowess:

Moreover, his play on the road has been deplorable, registering 18 points and a minus-10 rating in 30 contests away from Staples Center.

Asking him to suddenly become an assertive, potent force on offense—essentially a brand-new player—isn’t reasonable.

However, his current shot rate is unacceptable. Restoring it closer to his career average would open up the ice for his linemates—especially a sniper like Marian Gaborik, who is often tightly covered and could use some additional room to operate.

Moreover, the 6’3”, 224-pound center must take it upon himself to crash the net when he isn’t in control of the puck. His build is ideal for parking in the dirty areas, and when paired with a soft set of hands, he’s a nightmar...

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