Sunday, September 2, 2012
Can The Kings Repeat?
Having a championship team win in back-to-back seasons is a difficult feat. Doing so in the NHL is even harder. The last time a team was able to defend their Championship was in 1997 and 1998 when the Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in consecutive seasons.
So now comes the question will the Los Angeles Kings, the 2012 Stanley Cup champions, be able to fend off the rest of the NHL and repeat in 2013?
One has to think they have a very good chance when looking at the roster that will dawn Kings sweaters next season. The Kings were able to bring back the entire roster that carried them to a 16-4 run through the playoffs, a roster that should point the Kings off in the right direction.
One of the biggest question marks that surrounded the Kings last season was their experience. Now that the Kings' young guns have all gone through the long haul that is a Stanley Cup winning offseason, experience should not be on the minds of anyone.
Looking at how the Kings got through the regular season and playoffs one statistic sticks out like a sore thumb. Their offensive short comings forced their fans into near insanity over the course of the season and had most questioning whether or not they had what it takes to even contest for the Cup.
The Kings could not buy a goal, and were horrible with the man advantage. Both are areas that could keep a team from even qualifying for the playoffs. But the Kings were able to slide by.
This year, with Jeff Carter around for an entire season, Slava Voynov getting more time on the power play and a healthy Simon Gagne, the offense should not be too hard to come by, hopefully.
But, if the Kings once again struggle to put the puck in the back of the net a familiar answer is waiting in their crease. After a season worthy of a Vezina Trophy nomination, and a playoffs performance worthy of the Conn Smythe, Jonathan Quick signed a 10-year contract extension with the Kings.
Knowing that Quick will be manning the crease for the Kings for at least ten more years has got to have Kings fan sleeping a little better.
Sprinkle all this on the return of players like Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards and Drew Doughty and the Kings have got a very solid roster heading into next season. But don't think if one of those players goes down the Kings will fall apart.
Kings General Manager, Dean Lombardi, has done work over the years and built up a very strong prospect pool full of NHL ready players like Tyler Toffoli, that will be ready to make an impact if one of the guys in the big club goes down for a game or two.
It would seem like the Kings have all the right ingredients to at least have a strong case at repeating as Stanley Cup Champions. But, if things were that predictable it would not be the NHL now would it.