NHL free-agency review: How LA Kings stack up in Pacific Division


NHL free-agency review: How LA Kings stack up in Pacific Division

Editor’s note: NHL free agency was fast and furious, and the moves that teams did (and did not) make set the tone for next season. All week, we’ll examine the Sharks’ Pacific Division rivals, and whether their free-agency approach put them in better, worse or the same position. Today, we dive into the LA Kings.

There's no way to sugarcoat it: The Kings took a serious nosedive last season into the cellar of the Western Conference.

With a dismal record both at home and on the road --and only winning month in the entire season --  it's no wonder their rivalry with the Sharks lacked so much oomph last season.

But LA is moving on from that, tapping San Jose's former coach Todd McLellan to stand behind their bench and making steps towards a rebuild. But have they done enough so far this offseason to signal a turnaround?

Here's a look at what the Kings have done since free agency opened up on July 1.

Players who signed

The Kings have added some pieces so far this offseason, although nothing that will fully change the look of the team.

LA got its biggest boost a week after the market opened when they re-signed RFA Alex Iafallo to a two-year deal. The 25-year-old was a rare player on the Kings' roster that improved his game last season and is expected to take on an even bigger role in the 2019-20 season.

The Kings also tried adding depth to their lineup by signing former Red Wings' forward Martin Frk and former Sharks d-man Joakim Ryan to one-year contracts. Neither player posted many points with their respective clubs last season, so it isn't entirely clear if they'll thrive on a new team.

Players who left

The Kings bought out the rest of Dion Phaneuf's contract in June, and the 34-year-old defenseman reportedly has received offers from other teams since the market opened. The loss shouldn't affect LA a ton , considering Phaneuf didn't produce much during his two campaigns there. 

They did lose some depth, however, with winger Brendan Leipsic going to the Capitals on a one-year deal. How the team plans to fill in pieces of their lineup still remains to be seen.

There's a possibility there will be more moves on the horizon, since the Kings only have $9,440,606 in cap space and a couple of players due to hit free agency after next season. They could move Kings staple Tyler Toffoli, who often is mentioned in trade rumors and is coming off of a down season.

[RELATED: Why Roenick won't count out Sharks after losing Pavelski]

Better, worse, or the same?

So far, the Kings haven't done much since the market opened to signal any major change to the team. Even with the few tweaks, the core of the team is still very much intact.

While there's still plenty of time for LA to make more adjustments to its roster, the lack of flexibility under the cap could make that difficult. And if the bulk of the team is staying together, it doesn't appear that there will be any significant changes to how they perform in the Pacific Division next season.

How Kendall Coyne Schofield is staying fit during coronavirus hiatus


How Kendall Coyne Schofield is staying fit during coronavirus hiatus

For world-class athletes, being stuck in the house is a strange feeling.

But that's the predicament NBC Sports California's Sharks analyst Kendall Coyne Schofield finds herself in.

Schofield and her husband Michael, an offensive lineman who last played with the Los Angeles Chargers, are holed up at their Orland Park, Illinois home.

In the latest episode of NBC Sports' Distance Training, the Schofields told host Jac Collinsworth that before the state issued a "Stay at home" order, they went to local sporting good stores and bought dumbbells, elastic bands, an exercise bike and anything else they might need in order to workout at home.

"Obviously, our biggest stress was as soon as it started going down and gyms started closing and everywhere we had a chance to work out started closing, we were like 'We need to find a way to workout,' " Michael said. "So I knew a couple days before, our governor of Illinois was going to do a shelter in place or stay in place announcement, we booked dumbbells, we got bands, we ran to Dick's Sporting Goods to get whatever we could and just throw it in our basement.

"But now it's been a hassle. 'OK, we got two dumbbells, a bunch of bands, a stationary bike, let's make the best of it and see what we can do to stay in shape, so it's definitely been hard every single day to come up with workouts and doing stuff, but we're making the most of it."

But working out at their home hasn't been the easiest transition for Kendall and Michael.

"I think what's really challenging, and I'm sure a lot of athletes have the same challenges, when you're in your basement, when you're in your home, you're in an environment that's usually comfortable to you," Kendall said. "That you usually come back to after working out, you're relaxing and you're doing anything but physical activity to be an elite athlete, so I think it's hard being in our home working out and trying to reach that peak performance level mentally and physically, and then at the same time, your phone rings and you say 'I'm just gonna grab that. It's fine,' and just trying to stay on track because there are so many distractions in this environment that you never really utilized as your gym, your lab, your place to be as professional as you can in your sport."

You can watch the full interview between the Schofields and Collinsworth here:

The NHL season, like all other North American sports leagues, is on an indefinite hiatus, and no timeline for resumption of play has been given.

[RELATED: Leonard reunited with college roommate]

Until the league makes an announcement, Kendall Coyne Schofield will have to keep working out in her home in Illinois.

How Sharks' Timo Meier is handling coronavirus pandemic in Switzerland

How Sharks' Timo Meier is handling coronavirus pandemic in Switzerland

Timo Meier is back in Europe, and doing just fine.

But his country is not.

“It’s pretty bad here in Switzerland,” the Sharks forward said last week via FaceTime. “Obviously, the [coronavirus case] numbers increase daily. I try not to read too much into it, but you can’t really avoid it.”

Switzerland, with a population of less than 9 million, has one of the highest COVID-19 cases-per-capita numbers in the world. Greater than Italy, Spain or the United States as of last week.

“Here, we have the rule that you’re not allowed to be around more than five people outside,” Meier explained. “But I’m trying to stick to the rule of staying home. Only go outside when really needed.”

It became a quick decision for Meier to leave San Jose. He wanted to be near family, but that obviously necessitated a trans-Atlantic flight to reach Zurich. Boarding that plane during a pandemic was slightly terrifying.

“It was definitely weird flights,” Meier said. “I was trying to be really cautious — luckily, I had some hand sanitizer. After everything I’d touch, I’d sanitize my hands. A little too cautious at times, but you really can’t be. I was really trying to limit everything and don’t touch too much stuff. I made it here safe.”

Meier isn’t necessarily a germaphobe, but he knows this experience could have an effect.

“It’s definitely going to translate after this is over,” Meier said. “I’m going to be a little more careful than I was before, but I think that’s a good thing.”

[RELATED: Leonard reunited with college roommate]

Days lately are simple and repetitive for the 23-year-old. They include sleeping in, a morning workout, an isolated afternoon walk in the hills, and usually a glass of wine with dinner.

Meier seems perfectly content under isolation, so long as things remain similar for he and family: “I’m not complaining too much.”