Hockey Predictions: Los Angeles Kings Futures Odds
by Alan Matthews - 9/4/2013
All in all it was a successful 2013 lockout-shortened season for the Los Angeles Kings. They finished with 59 points, good for second in the Pacific Division behind Anaheim. L.A. was an underdog to No. 4 seed St. Louis in the conference quarterfinals, and the Kings looked like toast after losing their first two games in St. Louis. But as usual, Los Angeles dominated at home and won the next four, including an overtime Game 5 in St. Louis that all but ended things.
The Western Conference semifinals against San Jose were as back-and-forth as you can get. Only once did a team score more than four goals, and the home team held serve in all of them. The Kings took a 2-0 lead in the second period of Game 7 -- thanks to goals from “Mr. Game 7” Justin Williams -- and held on to advance to the West Finals for the second year in a row.
Los Angeles was dispatched by Chicago in that round, but it was an extremely close series. If the Hawks hadn't won Game 5 at home in double overtime, thanks to a Patrick Kane hat trick, I'm pretty confident in saying it would have gone seven games. Kane was just the fourth player in the last 30 years to record a hat trick in a conference finals clincher.
So while the Kings were obviously disappointed with not having a chance to defend their Cup title, consider that before winning the Cup the Kings had won only one playoff series in the previous 19 seasons and missed the playoffs altogether in 12 of those seasons.
The biggest offseason move for Los Angeles was trading perhaps the best young backup goalie in the league, Jonathan Bernier, to Toronto for forward Matt Frattin, goaltender Ben Scrivens and a second-round draft pick. As long as Jonathan Quick is healthy, Bernier was a luxury. He was 9-3-1 record with a 1.88 goals-against average and a save percentage of .922 last year. The Kings did pretty well for what they got. Frattin played in 25 regular-season games with Toronto, scored seven goals, including three game-winners, and 13 points. He'll likely be on the third line in L.A.
Scrivens played in 20 games with the Maple Leafs last season and posted a 7-9-0 record, two shutouts, a 2.69 goals-against-average. He's a good No. 2. The Kings also traded for Daniel Carcillo from the Chicago Blackhawks because they needed a left wing to replace Dustin Penner, who was a regular with on the No. 2 line with Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. Penner left as a free agent for Anaheim. Carter was fourth in the league with 26 goals last season and is fifth in goals over the last five seasons with 162.
The Kings need a bounce-back season from Anze Kopitar. He had 42 points in 47 regular-season games but went the final 16 without a goal and had just nine points in 18 playoff games compared to 20 in 20 games in the 2012 playoffs. L.A. has a rising star defensemen in Slava Voynov, who is only 23. He led Kings defensemen with 25 points last season and then had six goals and 13 points in 18 playoff games. Voynov got a big new extension this offseason. Drew Doughty had a down season in 2013 but remains one of the league's top young blueliners at 23 and a Norris Trophy candidate possibility.
2013-14 Los Angeles Kings Schedule Highlights
The Kings were not a good road team last year at 8-12-4 and thus might get off to a rough start to the upcoming season with six of their first eight at home. The Kings open the season on Oct. at Minnesota. Los Angeles was 1-2 against Minnesota last year, losing both games in the Twin Cities, both by a goal. L.A. then plays again the next night -- one of 14 back-to-backs on the season -- before hosting the Rangers in the home opener Oct. 7. No team had more regulation home wins last year than Los Angeles with 19.
L.A. returns home Oct. 19 against Dallas to start a stretch of eight of nine at Staples Center, with the only road trip a quick flight to Phoenix. The first rematch game against San Jose is Oct. 30. Los Angeles could get its first look at Bernier on Dec. 11 when it visits Toronto.
The first game against the champion Blackhawks is Dec. 15 in Chicago. The Stanley Cup runner-up Boston Bruins visit L.A. on Jan. 9, and the Detroit Red Wings make their only visit two days later. Everyone has the Jan. 25 game against the Ducks circled as it will be played at Dodger Stadium -- the Kings are the home team. Pittsburgh and Sidney Crosby visit L.A. on Jan. 30. The regular season finishes with four of five on the road, with the finale at Staples Center against the Ducks on April 12. Every team's schedule includes a break from Feb. 9 to Feb. 26 for the Olympics in Russia.
2013-14 Los Angeles Kings Futures Odds & Past Trends
At Bovada, the Kings are 12/1 to win their second Stanley Cup (fourth-favorite) and 6/1 second-favorites to win the West. They are 31/20 to win the Pacific Division. Anze Kopitar is 30/1 to win the Hart Trophy, as is Quick. Los Angeles was 19-18-11 “over/under” last year, 8-10-6 at home and 11-8-5 on the road.
NHL Predictions: 2013-14 Los Angeles Kings Picks
Maybe the Kings could have gotten more for Bernier if they had displayed him more, but you don't bench probably the best goalie in the NHL in Quick. The Pacific Division should be tougher this year with Vancouver now in the group. It will be a dogfight between the Kings, Canucks, Sharks and Ducks. It looks way tougher than the Central, which absorbed a lousy Dallas team from the Pacific. Goaltending wins in the NHL and the Kings have the best in Quick. Take them on the division prop, and I look for a 100-point season but not a Western Conference title.
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