Last Season – After sneaking into the playoffs as the 8th seed, the Kings caught lightning in a bottle and steamrolled their way to the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
Saying Goodbye – Trent Hunter, Ethan Moreau
Saying Hello – none
Ready to Step In – Although his skating ability might hold him back at the NHL level, former Ottawa 67’s winger Tyler Toffoli is a pure goal scorer who could get a shot if an injury happens in the Kings top 6. He might have to wait, however, as the lineup is pretty much set.
Look For A Bounce-back Season From – Simon Gagne has had some extra time to put his injury woes behind him. Suiting up for just 34 regular season games, Gagne got into 4 playoff games but with so much time off was largely ineffective. Adding his talent to the team will be a case of the rich getting richer.
Hardware Hopefuls – Mike Richards, Selke; Drew Doughty, Norris; Jonathan Quick, Vezina
Upside – The Kings return the same roster that won the Stanley Cup. With little to no turnover, they have the recipe for success. Add to that an extra 3 months to get over the “hangover” and they should be ready to defend.
Downside – As the champs, the Kings will find out quickly what it is like to have a target on their backs every single night.
2013 Prognosis – The Kings are made for the playoffs, and they will get there again. There isn’t much to choose between the top teams in the west, and it will be a war if they want to get back to the top of the mountain. I am not saying they will or they won’t but the leadership and coaching gives them the chance to repeat.