To get you ready for the 2015-16 season, we will be previewing all 30 NHL in 30 days, division by division. Check the bottom of the page for a schedule of each preview.
Today’s team: Los Angeles Kings
2014-15 record: 40-27-15, 4th in the Pacific
How they finished: Did not make the playoffs
Coach: Darryl Sutter (5th season)
Notable additions: LW Milan Lucic, G Jhonas Enroth
Notable subtractions: D Robyn Regehr, C Mike Richards, D Andrej Sekera, C Jarrett Stoll, RW Justin Williams
Schedule against the Capitals: Tues. Feb. 15 at Washington, Wed. March 9 at Los Angeles
Outlook: Just about everyone penciled the Kings into the playoffs last season so it was a shock when they were not able to dig themselves out of the hole they had dug in the standings and actually missed the playoffs.
Suddenly a team that has won two Stanley Cups in four seasons has some questions surrounding them.
The Kings return all five of their leading scorers from last season and added Milan Lucic, but they still lost a fair amount of offensive contributors. This was an average offensive team last year and the addition of Lucic by itself feels like it is not enough to make this team dangerous again.
Jonathan Quick returns and remains one of the league's top netminders, but what about the defense in front of him? Robyn Regehr and Andrej Sekera are both gone and Slava Voynov's situation is still unresolved in terms of the NHL. Those are tough shoes to fill.
The Kings still have over $6 million of cap space which could suggest they may be hoping Voynov can return next season ($4.162 cap hit). Otherwise it's hard to have much faith in the defense they return this fall.
There is also some turmoil in Los Angeles. The team unceremoniously terminated Mike Richards' contract for "a material breach of the requirements of his standard player's contract," Jarrett Stoll was arrested in April for possession of cocaine and ecstasy and of course the Voynov domestic abuse incident. There are also reports that some Kings players are growing tired of head coach Darryl Sutter.
This is not a team that is going to start from scratch, they had the best Corsi-for percentage in the NHL last season, but there are enough problems on and off the ice to suggest the dominant Kings who have won two of the last four Stanley Cups are gone.
Expectations: The defense has undeniably regressed, the offense will remain average and the players are not happy with their coach. You can't count the Kings out completely given what they have accomplished over the past few years and their possession numbers suggest last season was more of an anomaly than anything else, but the cracks are starting to form.
Los Angeles is on the decline and look to be a middle of the pack team this season. They will be in the hunt for a playoff spot and if they get in, who knows what they can do?
See more team previews:
Chicago Blackhawks 8/8
Colorado Avalanche 8/9
Dallas Stars 8/10
Minnesota Wild 8/11
St. Louis Blues 8/13
Winnipeg Jets 8/14
Boston Bruins 8/15
Buffalo Sabres 8/16
Detroit Red Wings 8/17
Florida Panthers 8/18
Montreal Canadiens 8/19
Ottawa Senators 8/20<
Tampa Bay Lightning 8/21
Toronto Maple Leafs 8/22
Carolina Hurricanes 8/23
Columbus Blue Jackets 8/24
New Jersey Devils 8/25
New York Islanders 8/26
New York Rangers 8/27
Philadelphia Flyers 8/28
Pittsburgh Penguins 8/29
Washington Capitals 8/30