Thoughts on the Team at 11 games - Mid Season Update

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The last couple seasons ive written posts at around the 10 game mark going over my thoughts on the team... how are they doing, what to look for and what trends im looking at going forward. Basically, what are the big storylines to watch this season...

• Goaltending - Cam is playing better than i expected. Just by the numbers (GAA=2.14 - SV%.923 - GSAA=4.7) he's playing incredibly well. I think his numbers will likely trend down a bit as the season continues, but if he can play near what he's doing now, i think the team is in real good shape. On the other end of the the spectrum... Copley. He's only played three games, so his numbers dont really have the broad context you'd like to make a fair analysis, but the simple fact is, by the numbers (GAA=4.98 - SV%.788 - GSAA=-6), he's been awful. He's essentially last in the league. And the big problem here is that Cam is old. At 36 yrs old, there's a real risk of overplaying him if Copley cant climb back up to at least what he was doing last season. You can't go into the playoffs with your starter worn down. So keep an eye on this, because this situation still has the potential to cause some serious issues this season. It wouldn't be shocking if Cam were to slide down if they cant get him the proper rest throughout the season, or even if he just really isn't as good as he's playing right now. Im not going to make any predictions here because i think it's way too early to do so, but I won't be shocked if we see copley sent down, or a trade made at the deadline if he cant pick it up.

All this to say, goaltending has been an issue teh last couple seasons, and i think its' got teh potential to be an issue this season too. And that shouldnt be big news considering how little we're spending in net.

Pierre Luc Dubois - I'll keep it simple on this. Hasn't been good enough so far. Was basically invisible against the flyers. And im not really even concerned about production, as Fiala has had a slow start too. Arvidsson has been out. Laf is playing well but you can't exactly expect a rookie to drive the line. PLD just looks like he's kind of... floating. He never looks like he has urgency out there. He's a very skilled player, with a big body, and i do think he plays a smooth game, so sometimes it's easy to mistake that for lack of effort. But... i don't think he's found whatever it is he needs to find to raise his game a bit to where it needs to be. When i looked into him after the trade, ive seen him use his body to play physical. Ive seen him get under guy's' skin. I've seen him push people around. I'd like to see some of that. In all fairness, this is a new team and he's probably still getting used to the system a bit. Additionally, Fiala has been slow to start, and maybe that's chemistry i dont know, but all in all this line has potential for quite a bit more, and i think PLD has to spearhead that push. With that said, just his presence has provided the Kings with exceptional depth amongst the forwards, and even when he's not maybe doing more, he's allowing other lines a bit more freedom as teams still have to consider putting strong defense against this line.

Byfield - There will be no told you so's here... but he's doing everything we all hoped to see this season, and some of us maybe expected to some degree. He's top 5 on the team in points, despite playing on 2nd PP. And his role is definitely more of a puck hound and playmaker right now. He's absolutely flying out there and he's creating plays even if they aren't necessarily going into the net off his stick. My one concern right now is that his shot rate is basically the same as last year, although his shooting% is up. We all want him to score more, but it's tough when you're the first guy on the puck down in the offensive zone (your positioned to pass), the team's best pure shooter has 3 times as many shots as you and plays on your line, and you play more of a netfront/downlow position on PP2. With all that said, he could hit about 15 goals this season, and coupled with what should be a somewhere around 50 assists... i think we all have to be happy with that. All i care about is that he stays healthy, and keeps his foot on the gas. If those two things happen, it's going to be abig season for him and i think he proves pretty much all of his doubters wrong. Because at 21 yrs old, and a rough, injury filled start to his career... he's got a lot of potential still left in front of him.

Defense - Im throwing this all into one bucket because... why not. I think teh only guys who havent looked better than i expected are Roy and Gavrikov, and that's because i had high expectations for them. Doughty looks energized. ROy/Gav are playing very solid. Englund looks better than i think any of us expected, although admittedly the bar was quite low. And Spence has done everything i think we'd hoped he'd do. I do not miss Durzi at all, although i do wish him the best. I enjoyed his time here. I loved his tenacity and grit. But there have been no boneheaded plays so far, and those were a frequent occurrence last season. It was exciting, but you never knew what was going to happen sometimes. Spence has done as good a job offensively, and has been just so so much better on the defensive side of the puck. Now, that's not to say he's been perfect,and that bottom pair has been heavily sheltered, but i like what iovce seen so far and im kind of excited to revisit him at the end of the season. Let's be honest... how many of us have almost forgotten about clarke to some degree? Not that I want to, but simply because the defense has looked good.

Powerplay - I have to assume that some of the early struggles can be attributed to the lack of right shot players (Vilardi and Arvidsson), but the team looks to have changed things on it's entry a bit, generally going with two guys back to drop pass to. Maybe the players are still becoming familiar with smaller changes im not picking up on, but they do not look like they are carrying as much speed through the neutral zone, and they look spread out and stagnant in the zone. They havent been awful, but they are below league average.

Penalty Kill - Well, they're better this season. From what i can tell they've simply decided to take away the middle of the ice, play a bit less aggressive, although im not sure that's the best description. From what i can see, they play a tight box that sometimes is a diamond, and it seems to be fluid based on reads. Seems like they are basically playing the numbers game. Take away the dangerous areas. They might still get beat by great plays, but over time, it probably winds up being the option that concedes the least amount of goals. I'd love to hear others thought on what they are doing here.

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Closing Thoughts

This team has depth to go deep this season. The ability to roll lines and still match up well is going to be what separates this team from last season's team. It may seem small, but having PLD on the 3rd line and lizotte on the 4th line makes such a huge difference. It reminds me of when the Kings brought in Mike Richards, and allowed Stoll to move to 3C. It puts players in roles best suited to their strengths, and it creates real mismatches for other teams. We're seeing that now with a 4th line that is hard on pucks and tenacious, and makes the right plays. Lizotte isnt out there trying to keep up with Fiala. He isn't out there stressed with needing to chip in more offensively that he's really capable of. And the 3rd line, despite starting slow in general, is a line that most teams simply cannot ignore.

I think this team is definitely competing for the 2nd/3rd spot in the division again, although if vegas finally comes down to earth i wouldnt be shocked to see the Kings give them a run for the top spot. The rest of the division is really weird right now. No way Anaheim, Vancouver, or Edmonton continue on their current trends. My one concern is (knock wood) an injury to Gavrikov. I think Englund looks great in that bottom pair role, but i cannot fathom him or Bjornfot playing 2nd pair for an extended amount of time. But overall im really excited about this season. I think we finally break through. That's my prediction.
 
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The kings are doing better than I expected.
I expected the first three lines to do about what they are doing.

The 4th line has been amazing.

I did a facepalm when they signed Englund. I was wrong.

Talbot is doing better than I expected.
Copley is doing worse than I expected.
 
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My thoughts:

high roller laughing GIF
 
The last couple seasons ive written posts at around the 10 game mark going over my thoughts on the team... how are they doing, what to look for and what trends im looking at going forward. Basically, what are the big storylines to watch this season...

• Goaltending - Cam is playing better than i expected. Just by the numbers (GAA=2.14 - SV%.923 - GSAA=4.7) he's playing incredibly well. I think his numbers will likely trend down a bit as the season continues, but if he can play near what he's doing now, i think the team is in real good shape. On the other end of the the spectrum... Copley. He's only played three games, so his numbers dont really have the broad context you'd like to make a fair analysis, but the simple fact is, by the numbers (GAA=4.98 - SV%.788 - GSAA=-6), he's been awful. He's essentially last in the league. And the big problem here is that Cam is old. At 36 yrs old, there's a real risk of overplaying him if Copley cant climb back up to at least what he was doing last season. You can't go into the playoffs with your starter worn down. So keep an eye on this, because this situation still has the potential to cause some serious issues this season. It wouldn't be shocking if Cam were to slide down if they cant get him the proper rest throughout the season, or even if he just really isn't as good as he's playing right now. Im not going to make any predictions here because i think it's way too early to do so, but I won't be shocked if we see copley sent down, or a trade made at the deadline if he cant pick it up.

The goaltending for the Kings is what concerns me. Now this is somewhat better than the first half of last season, but I still get nervous about Talbot and Copley because at times, they either get caught into a bad spot and get overwhelmed by the sudden nature of the opposing team's attack or give up soft goals that are easily preventable thanks to having a bout of brain fart syndrome when they shouldn't have. The problem here is that right now there isn't a market where good goalies can be acquired from other teams at the bargain level this season, so RB is going to have to find some way to solve the Kings' goaltending depth issue. If he can't find a solution, he might as well draft a goalie in the next coming entry draft next year.
 
Spot on analysis.
On defense, Doughty has really been bringing it. Someone said in a game thread that single Doughty >>> married Doughty. IDK if that is the cause, but Drew has really elevated his game. Maybe changing the flex in his stick was all he needed. I was also a big Durzi defender (you have to take into account his pluses with the minuses) and he's done great in AZ. That said, Spence has done a very good job filling the role. I just hope his size isn't a liability in the playoffs. Englund has been crazy impressive in the 3rd pair LD role. He has excelled at "play big and don't get burned".
Don't undersell the 4th line either. Tonka seems to always get a timely goal. Lizotte still brings it every night and Trevor Lewis looks like a hungry kid out there and not a guy who played his 900th NHL game.
 
What I notice is that Vancouver and suddenly the Ducks are basically right there with us so no time for self-congratulation.
 
Great post. I was hoping Kings would be at .500 after the first 12 games. Given their slow starts the last couple seasons plus AUS, questionable goaltending, and the strength of schedule I wasn’t optimistic. Really impressive the way this team has instantly played to an “identity” and totally bought in to their structure.

Talbot is of course better than expected. Not worried about Copley since Rittich is ready and Blake won’t think twice about making that switch. How he handled goalies last year shows he’s not nostalgic. Don’t know how many more bad starts Copley gets until that happens but it can’t be more than 2-3.
 
PLD looks like a lazy uninspired bum on the ice which was his scouting report from fans I believe - I didn't follow him at all but I'm not impressed. I hope it's just.. system adjusting, though Fiala adjusted a lot faster. Maybe all he really is is a big body to take some time away from Kopi and that may be all they want, IDK. I think he needs to get off PP1 immediately and something obviously needs to be shifted there.

Byfields stuffin a sock in my mouth for trash talkin him the last 2 seasons though of course I always wanted the best for the dude and he's REALLY impressing me this year, though I stand by my trash talking :D He put in a lot of work this summer and it shows.

Moore is a helluva player and I think will only get better. Sounds like an awesome supportive family and he puts in the work and is getting rewarded and it's good to see. He is a true LA King or at least what I identify as a King - a hard working, grindy player who doesn't cheat. Same with Lizotte honestly this year, he's doing great as well.

I could go on but I could say the same things about most of the team - PLD being the outlier but I'm not gonna go off on him too much yet. No way in hell he's worth ~4 players so far but it is what it is. Talbot is playing lights out and I hope he can continue. I hope Copley or whoever they bring in behind him can give the guy some rest.

My overall assessment, the last 3 games especially, as I mentioned in the last GDT - is that the Kings are playing very disciplined (maybe minus some penalties), systematic hockey. It's not super flashy, but god damn they are getting things done at the moment.

As many know, I wait until the 80 game mark, before I give my expert analysis. Please stay tuned.

Cup?? Good No cup??? Bad = expert
 
This team is good, very good.

PLD will figure it out, give him some time.

Goaltending will hopefully stay good. Copper will have to play eventually (probably this Thursday) so we'll see how that goes.

Now let's win some games at home...especially since I will be there the 9th, 11th, 16th, 18th and 25th.
 
I'd love to be able to chp in with some smart in-depth analytical comments but I can't because firstly, all I get to see is the 9 minutes highlights courtesy of NHL in YouTube and secondly and most importantly, I'm not in the slightest bit smart! But I AM very, very happy and privileged to be able to come and read all the fantastic analysis, insight and humor that you guys so articulately and, above all, civilly bring to "LetsGoKings", rain or shine (the Kings, that is) every single night.

Thanks to everyone, especially Mr. Rinkrat and Ms. Nyssa and others I've no doubt omitted here, who make this such a pleasure and a genuine hockey enlightenment for me to enjoy and from which to learn. Okay, that being said, from now on I promise I'll try to keep my sycophantic adulation to an absolute minimum.

Everyone, be healthy, be happy and, well...Go Kings Go, of course!!!
 
The Petersen contract comments, priceless! I’m still shocked a team took that contract. I used to feel bad for Petersen then I thought dude got a payday for potential.
 
I'd love to be able to chp in with some smart in-depth analytical comments but I can't because firstly, all I get to see is the 9 minutes highlights courtesy of NHL in YouTube and secondly and most importantly, I'm not in the slightest bit smart! But I AM very, very happy and privileged to be able to come and read all the fantastic analysis, insight and humor that you guys so articulately and, above all, civilly bring to "LetsGoKings", rain or shine (the Kings, that is) every single night.

Thanks to everyone, especially Mr. Rinkrat and Ms. Nyssa and others I've no doubt omitted here, who make this such a pleasure and a genuine hockey enlightenment for me to enjoy and from which to learn. Okay, that being said, from now on I promise I'll try to keep my sycophantic adulation to an absolute minimum.

Everyone, be healthy, be happy and, well...Go Kings Go, of course!!!

Such a nice post from a username that almost looks like f***_Off.
 
I'd love to be able to chp in with some smart in-depth analytical comments but I can't because firstly, all I get to see is the 9 minutes highlights courtesy of NHL in YouTube and secondly and most importantly, I'm not in the slightest bit smart! But I AM very, very happy and privileged to be able to come and read all the fantastic analysis, insight and humor that you guys so articulately and, above all, civilly bring to "LetsGoKings", rain or shine (the Kings, that is) every single night.

Thanks to everyone, especially Mr. Rinkrat and Ms. Nyssa and others I've no doubt omitted here, who make this such a pleasure and a genuine hockey enlightenment for me to enjoy and from which to learn. Okay, that being said, from now on I promise I'll try to keep my sycophantic adulation to an absolute minimum.

Everyone, be healthy, be happy and, well...Go Kings Go, of course!!!
Was this written by Chat GTP? Seems like a bot.
 
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