Finishing at the bottom of the standings for an extended period certainly has it’s benefits… OK, one benefit, a boatload of high draft pick talent. Last year was another year of waiting for the young talent to develop, to make the next move. Last year was another one out of the playoffs. The franchise has a deep well of talent, some special players, starting with Anze Kopitar. The rebuilding process this team has been through began to show a little progress last season, but is progress enough?
Last Year’s Record – 34-37-11 79 points. 5th in the Pacific Division, 14th in the Western Conference
Key Additions – Ryan Smyth, Rob Scuderi
Key Subtractions – Kyle Calder, Tom Preissing, Derek Armstrong
Division Match Up – The Pacific remains difficult with the other two California teams trying to keep the Kings down, Dallas will not have Sean Avery to ruin their room and the mess in Phoenix can’t help the Coyotes. It will be difficult for LA to move up in this division but they will certainly avoid the basement.
Outlook for 2009-2010 – The Los Angeles Kings are being touted as the dark horse team this year, kinda like they were last year, and the year before that. The endless rebuilding process of this team may start to show results this year as I do anticipate the Kings to be better. The add of veteran leader Ryan Smyth does that. His influence should be felt on and off the ice, helping some of the youngsters improve their work ethic. Rob Scuderi brings some veteran leadership to the blueline and there is complementary talent across the roster. To steal a phrase from the NHL marketing last season… Is this the year? In a division with less firepower at the top... maybe, in the Pacific, nope.