Kings might want to flip the switch anytime about now

Ken Campbell
Joffrey Lupul and Jonathan Quick (Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

If the Stanley Cup playoffs were to begin right now, the Los Angeles Kings would be in them by the skin of their teeth. They would have limped into the post-season with four losses in their past five. They would enter the tournament with their most productive players in terrible slumps – Anze Kopitar with one goal in his past 13 and Jeff Carter with one in his past 12. Nobody is talking about Drew Doughty as a candidate for the Norris Trophy and Marian Gaborik has alternated between being injured and ineffective.

They’d be preparing to play one of the league’s hottest teams, one that has nine wins in it’s past 10. That team would be the Chicago Blackhawks and we all know what happened when they faced each other last spring. Read more

Bobby Ryan’s brilliant goal a bright spot in a bad stretch for Senators

Bobby Ryan (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Ottawa Senators have won just twice in their past 10 games, fired head coach Paul MacLean Monday, and lost 5-3 Thursday to the Los Angeles Kings in the debut of MacLean’s replacement, Dave Cameron. However, Sens star right winger Bobby Ryan played the silver lining in his team’s clouds with a stunning goal that ranks among the best he’s ever scored.

The Senators were trailing 2-0 with six minutes remaining in the second period at Canadian Tire Centre when Ryan picked up a pass on Ottawa’s side of the center ice line, broke into the Kings zone, deked L.A. defenseman Brayden McNabb into next week, and does the same to goalie Jonathan Quick: Read more

NHL’s best 1-on-1 goalie is calm, cool and, most importantly, Quick

Ryan Kennedy
Jonathan Quick

If you knew absolutely nothing about hockey and just looked at statistics, Jonathan Quick may not leap out at you right away.

Last season, his 2.07 goals-against average ranked fifth in the league, but in wins and save percentage he finished outside the top 10 and top 20, respectively. Ask NHL shooters, however, who they would least like to see in the crease when they’re barrelling down 1-on-1, and Quick is the name they fear most.

“You make a move and he’s just super-fast,” said Anaheim’s Devante Smith-Pelly. “Like he’s already there, almost.” Read more

Rumor Roundup: Martinez deal could leave Kings facing cap crunch

St. Louis Blues v Los Angeles Kings

The Los Angeles Kings recent re-signing of defenseman Alec Martinez to a six-year, $24-million contract extension leaves them with over $60 million invested in 14 players for 2015-16. There’s growing speculation over what GM Dean Lombardi will do to address this situation.

If the salary cap stagnates for next season they won’t have much room to re-sign such notables as Justin Williams, Tyler Toffoli, Tanner Pearson and Jarret Stoll. Looming on the horizon is a new contract for top center Anze Kopitar. He’s signed through 2015-16 and become eligible for unrestricted free agency in July 2016. Read more

If Los Angeles doesn’t right the ship it could spell an early off-season

The Hockey News
St. Louis Blues v Los Angeles Kings

By Dom Luszczyszyn

There’s something unusually wrong with the Los Angeles Kings this season. That they’ve won only 13 of their first 25 games (three less than last season) should tip you off and watching them play only confirms it.

Since swapping Jeff Carter for Jack Johnson in 2012, no team has had the puck on their collective sticks more than the Kings. Puck possession has been their calling card and they’ve played more games than any other team as a result, collecting two Stanley Cups in the process.

This season, that’s all changed. The Kings have been downright average generating only 50.9 percent of the shot attempts during 5-on-5 play. It gets worse when the game is close as the Kings drop to 47.5 percent of shot attempts, good for 23rd in the league. That’s a far cry from last year’s league leading mark of 57.2 and it’s the biggest drop for any team this season. Read more

Kings double down on roster, sign Alec Martinez to 6-year, $24-million extension – but change will still come

Adam Proteau
Alec Martinez

Under GM Dean Lombardi, the reigning-champion Los Angeles Kings have put a premium on player loyalty in an era where roster turnover is all but a given. That process continued Wednesday when Lombardi signed defenseman Alec Martinez to a six-year, $24-million contract extension – but it also guarantees the team will have to make changes next summer whether or not they win the Stanley Cup again this season.

Martinez’ contract – and its average annual value of $4-million a season – means the Kings have committed $60.1 million in cap space to just 14 players for next season; given that the cap isn’t guaranteed to rise beyond its current $69 million ceiling next season, that leaves precious little room to pay soon-to-be unrestricted free agent veterans Jarret Stoll and Justin Williams and restricted free agents Tyler Toffoli, Tanner Pearson and Martin Jones, among others.

This doesn’t mean the deal Martinez got is unfair. Read more

Los Angeles Kings fined $100k after suspended Slava Voynov practices with team

Jared Clinton
Slava Voynov (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

When the NHL suspended Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov, the Kings were instructed that Voynov was not to take part in any team activities, optional or otherwise.

On Tuesday, during what has been called an optional team skate by team officials, Voynov was on the ice with his teammates. Shortly after news broke that the suspended defenseman was taking part in a skate with the Kings, the NHL handed down a $100,000 fine to the team. The Orange County Register’s Rich Hammond reported that the Kings did not get league permission for Voynov to take part in the skate. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Several teams may be looking to make moves before holiday freeze

Jordan Eberle (Getty Images)

While anticipation over possible moves by the floundering Edmonton Oilers dominates the NHL rumor mill, others clubs could become active in the trade market between now and the NHL Christmas trade freeze, which commences at midnight on December 19.

CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty reports Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli would like to add “heaviness” to his roster to bolster his club’s size and strength on the puck. In a recent response to reader e-mail regarding possible trade targets, Haggerty lists Winnipeg’s Evander Kane and Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle as options, though the asking price could be more than the Bruins are willing to pay. Read more