NHL.com is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams from Nov. 16-Dec. 16. Today, three important questions facing the Los Angeles Kings.
1. What will the workload be for goalie Jonathan Quick?
After posting the worst numbers of his NHL career in 2018-19 (3.38 goals-against average, .888 save percentage), Quick came on strong late last season and finished with a 2.79 GAA and .904 save percentage. Quick has been a workhorse for Los Angeles as he enters his 14th season, playing at least 60 games in six of the past 10 full NHL seasons. Since 2009-10, he ranks fourth in the NHL in games (597).
But even though Quick has three seasons remaining on a 10-year-contract he signed July 1, 2012, the 34-year-old could see his playing time diminish in favor of Calvin Petersen. The 26-year-old was 5-3-0 with a 2.64 GAA and .922 save percentage in eight games last season and has played 19 games for the Kings over the past two seasons.
2. Where will the offense come from?
The Kings were 30th in goals per game last season (2.53) after ranking 30th in 2018-19 (2.43). Although they were fourth in shots per game (33.2), their shooting percentage of 7.6 percent was the second lowest in the NHL (Detroit Red Wings, 7.4 percent). Center Anze Kopitar led Los Angeles with 62 points (21 goals, 41 assists), their only player with at least 20 goals or 50 points. Forward Alex Iafallo was second with 43 points (17 goals, 26 assists), and forward Dustin Brown and defenseman Drew Doughy tied for third with 35 points.
Los Angeles, which traded its second-leading goal-scorer Tyler Toffoli (18) to the Vancouver Canucks prior to the NHL Trade Deadline last season, didn’t address its offense in free agency and will rely on prospects to help turn it around.
3. Will any top prospects make the roster?
The Kings have a deep prospect pool with numerous players who could play significant roles this season. That includes centers Quinton Byfield (No. 2 pick in 2020 NHL Draft) and Alex Turcotte (No. 5 pick in 2019 NHL Draft), and forward Arthur Kaliyev (No. 33 in 2019 draft).
Forward Gabriel Vilardi, who made his NHL debut last season and scored seven points (three goals, four assists) in 10 games, will likely make the roster, but Byfield, Turcotte and Kaliyev may not.
“We’re not in a position where we’re forcing somebody into the lineup,” Los Angeles general manager Rob Blake said in October. “So when they’re ready, those opportunities will come. I don’t think we want to rush anyone when we don’t have to, and we want to make sure when they do step into the NHL, they are fully prepared for it.”