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Kings of the castle

The Los Angeles Kings sit 11th in the Western Conference with a 23-21-7 record. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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The Los Angeles Kings sit 11th in the Western Conference with a 23-21-7 record. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

For the L.A. Kings, post-season experience is more valuable than another high draft pick.

The Kings are one of those limbo teams that could fall out of contention and call the name of a hot prospect come June or claw their way into a playoff spot.

While adding a future star to your ranks is always a tempting notion, the Kings as an organization would be a lot further along by getting all the youngsters currently in the lineup some playoff exposure.

The Hockey News’ annual Future Watch magazine hits shelves in early March and guess what team was adjudged to have the best corps of young players in its system?

It was the Kings, naturally, based largely on their shocking collection of skilled young blueliners.

The Kings have more than enough hope for the future; what they need now is a playoff berth to accentuate the learning curve of the young players already driving the team.

THE HOCKEY NEWS POWER RANKINGS
RK.
TEAM
LW
OVERALL
L10
THE SCOOP
1
Boston Bruins
3
39-8-7
6-1-3
Michael Ryder endures a painful interruption to his comeback year after being struck in the face with a puck. He's out indefinitely
2
Detroit Red Wings
5
35-11-7
5-4-1
Ty Conklin's 3-0 shutout of the Pens on Sunday is more indicative of the way the Wings want to win games
3
San Jose Sharks
1
36-7-7
6-2-2
Have lost three in a row and play eight of their next 11 on the road
4
Washington Capitals
6
34-16-4
7-2-1
Brent Johnson's injury could be the excuse needed to go find a goalie
5
New Jersey Devils
2
33-17-3
8-2-0
Patrik Elias is on pace for 92 points, the most since he posted 96 in 2000-01
6
Chicago Blackhawks
8
29-14-8
5-4-1
One goal in 18 games for Patrick Kane
7
Dallas Stars
12
26-19-7
8-2-0
They're movin' on up and it looks like Sean Avery is being moved on out for half the price of his contract
8
Calgary Flames
4
30-18-4
4-6-0
Four-game losing streak is the first real sign of trouble since November
9
Philadelphia Flyers
9
28-15-9
5-5-0
Antero Niittymaki's continued hot play means it'll be interesting to see how many more taps he gets down the stretch
10
Buffalo Sabres
13
28-20-6
6-3-1
Drew Stafford staying hot would help take the sting out of losing Thomas Vanek for a month with a broken jaw
11
Florida Panthers
10
25-19-8
5-3-2
Nine of their next 11 games are against teams they're looking up at in the East playoff race
12
Anaheim Ducks
14
27-24-5
5-5-0
Chris Pronger trade rumors feel legit; how good would he look on the Caps?
13
Carolina Hurricanes
16
27-22-5
6-4-0
Tuomo Ruutu is on pace for 24 goals and, more importantly for the oft-injured Finn, 79 games played
14
New York Rangers
7
29-19-5
5-4-1
Only Nashville and Ottawa average fewer goals per game than the Blueshirts
15
Minnesota Wild
19
27-22-3
6-4-0
Ten months after shattering his leg, Kurtis Foster has been assigned for a rehab stint in the American League
16
Montreal Canadiens
11
29-18-6
3-7-0
Going out on the road for 10 of their next 13; will they still be in the playoffs when they get back?
17
Los Angeles Kings
25
23-21-7
6-3-1
Jonathan Quick has the Kings going with a 6-1 record over his past seven starts
18
Nashville Predators
22
25-25-3
5-5-0
There's a chance nobody on this team reaches 60 points this year
19
Columbus Blue Jackets
15
25-23-5
4-5-1
Do the Jackets' playoff hopes go on the shelf with Steve Mason going on the IR?
20
Pittsburgh Penguins
20
26-24-5
5-4-1
Maybe they should just roll the dice on Marian Gaborik because Minnesota doesn't have much leverage in trading the always-injured, unrestricted free agent to be
21
Vancouver Canucks
29
24-20-8
2-5-3
Through all the ups and downs, you still get the feeling no team would be crazy about seeing the Canucks in Round 1
22
Tampa Bay Lightning
21
18-24-11
5-4-1
It's downright dangerous to be a defenseman in Tampa right now, where blueliners are dropping like flies
23
Edmonton Oilers
17
26-23-4
5-4-1
Lots of talk that Erik Cole's brief tenure in Edmonton will end with a trade before the March 4 deadline
24
Phoenix Coyotes
18
24-25-5
3-7-0
Dropping six straight isn't the way to nose into the post-season
25
Toronto Maple Leafs
24
20-24-9
4-3-3
Great to see 19-year-old Luke Schenn get his first NHL goal; he's going to be a tough lynchpin on the Leafs blueline for a long time
26
Ottawa Senators
26
18-25-8
4-4-2
Sens are forechecking more under new coach Cory Clouston
27
St. Louis Blues
23
22-24-6
6-1-3
Chris Mason has taken the No. 1 mantle from Manny Legace
28
Colorado Avalanche
27
25-27-1
3-7-0
If they're going to push for the playoffs, the Avs have to start taking advantage of the schedule's soft touches
29
Atlanta Thrashers
30
18-31-5
4-6-0
If the Thrashers traded Ilya Kovalchuk and added that haul to a high pick this year, they'd have the basis of something solid very soon considering Bryan Little and Zach Bogosian are already on the scene
30
New York Islanders
28
16-31-5
4-5-1
Nineteen-year-old rookie Josh Bailey continuing his apprenticeship, has four points in past five games

The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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