When the NHL puts the Pacific Division back in place for the 2021-2022 season, the Seattle Kraken will see a lot of the once mighty Los Angeles Kings. It seems like just yesterday they won two Stanley Cups in three years – the last win was 2014 – but since then the Kings have missed the playoffs in five of seven seasons.
Their two playoff appearances – in 2016 and 2018 – both ended in first-round knockouts.
The key players, like Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, and Jonathan Quick, from those Cup teams are still on the roster. So, what gives? Why are they bad? Time has played a role as those players are not as effective as they once were, but also, the supporting cast is gone, replaced by younger players.
Seattle should beware, however, because the Kings have cap space and some promising young prospects on the rise. Could an improving Kings team turn a division rivalry into a full-on hate fest? It’s easy not to like Doughty so the chance is definitely there for Seattle to lean into some Kings abhorrence.
Let’s get to know the Kraken division rival Los Angeles Kings
Nickname history: The name ‘Kings’ came from a fan contest and was liked by original owner Jack Kent Cooke. The team’s original colors were ‘Forum Blue’ and yellow. The colors were changed to black, silver, and white for the 1997 season.
First season in NHL: 1967-1968 (31-33-10 record)
AHL affiliate: Ontario Reign
ECHL affiliate: None
Stanley Cup Final appearances: 1993 (lost to Montreal), 2012 (beat New Jersey), and 2014 (beat New York Rangers)
Presidents’ Trophies: none
Division titles: One (1990-1991)
All-time leading scorer: Marcel Dionne (1,307)
All-time leading goals: Luc Robitaille (557)
All-time leader in assists: Marcel Dionne (757)
2020-2021 record: 21-28-7 (sixth in West Division)
2020-2021 leading scorer: Anze Kopitar (13 goals, 37 assists, 50 points in 56 games)
Cap space: $9.1 million
Highest-paid player: Drew Doughty, D, $11 million through 2026-2027
Players with no-move clauses: Drew Doughty
Top prospect: Quinton Byfield
Potential Expansion Draft exposures: Austin Wagner, Lias Andersson, Olli Maatta, and Jonathan Quick
Chance of becoming heated Kraken rival: Fair
The Kings have arguably the top prospect pool in the NHL, possibly surpassing the Rangers, depending on who you talk to. They are rumored in on Jack Eichel, as well as the Rangers and there is also talk of Buffalo’s Sam Reinhard, or Columbus’s Seth Jones. Some $$$ would need to be shed and prospects going the other way, should they deal for one of these players. The Kings have got aways to go yet, but the future looks bright for that organization.