The writers here at the FanSided Sports Network are now on day nine of our NHL season preview. I’d like you to skate over to each of our sites daily and see what our talented hockey writers have to say about their teams’ upcoming season. Remember, we’re all fans and we have high expectations for our team, and previews are what they are…..previews. It will be interesting to see what the gang here has to say about their respective clubs. Will the Washington Capitals finally challenge for the Cup, what will happen to the Boston Bruins as they try to defend their championship, and can the Vancouver Canucks survive the “heartbreak” of losing in the Finals without tearing up their city….again.
On today’s docket, Gavin Humes from Fansided’s Rink Royalty looks at a season of great anticipation for the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings are coming off a disappointing playoff performance that saw them drop their opening series to California rival San Jose in six games. While the team was without Anze Kopitar, its best offensive player, for the playoffs, it didn’t stop them from splitting the first two games of that series and building a 4-0 lead in game three at home. That’s where the wheels came off for the Kings. The Sharks mounted an improbably comeback to win 6-5 and win three of the next four.
This caused GM Dean Lombardi to make one of the biggest splashes of the offseason, bringing former Philadelphia Flyers captain Mike Richards out west.
Gavin had this to say about bringing Richards to LA:
The top two centers in Los Angeles give the Kings arguably the strongest 1-2 punch in the Western Conference in Mike Richards and Anze Kopitar. Both are incredible performers, and give the Kings realistically a 1A – 1B set up, which would takes the scoring pressure off of either, and keep any team from keying in on either.
Where the Kings finish is the West is now suddenly dependent how quickly can reach a deal with star defenseman Drew Doughty. The two sides remained deadlocked as to how much a young defensemen with an Olympic Gold Medal by age 21 should be compensated. If the reports that have circulated are to be believed, the team has offered to make Doughty the highest paid King (or very close to it) and that he’s declined. With camps opening this weekend, a holdout appears imminent. With him, there’s no reason they can’t finish first in the Pacific. Without him, the edge in the division probably stays with San Jose, leaving the battle for second place between them and the Anaheim Ducks, with a 5-7 place finish the conference.
Check out the full preview here.
Tomorrow’s preview will focus on the Minnesota Wild.
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