The Kings finished 27-16-5 in the shortened season, good for a fourth place tie with Vancouver in the Conference. Of course, Vancouver got a three seed for winning their division, and the Kings were fifth. The Kings finished 2-1-1 against the Ducks last year, which is a pretty strong push for both clubs.
In a surprise to no one, Anze Kopitar led the Kings' scorers last year posting a 10+32=42. Jeff Carter was the top goal scorer tallying, 26 in his 48 games, and Slava Yoynov led the way from the blueline with a 6+19=25. Doughty and Kings' Captain Dustin Brown each hung up six points in four games against the Ducks last year.
Jonathan Quick struggled last year, and the other John, Mr. Bernier, led Kings goaltenders with a 1.87 GAA and .922 SV%. Of course, Quick doubled him in wins. Quick was by far the better goalie against the Ducks despite being chased with two goals against in six minutes in the teams' first meeting. He went on to win his next two games against the Ducks giving up 2 and 1 goals respectively.
The Kings had the 10th best PP in the league, clicking at a comfy 19.9%. Against the Ducks, the Kings went 5/14, good for 27.7%
They were also 10th in the league in PK%, killing 83.2% of penalties. The Ducks managed to go 5-12 against the Kings PK, leaving the Kings' efficiency at a paltry 58.3%
The Kings haven't made any real "key" additions. They'll be hoping that Willie Mitchell can return to his form when they were marching to a Stanley Cup Championship. Jeff Schultz is a reclamation project from Washington, but if he can get his head on straight, he might be good stay-at-home security against another Mitchell injury.
Matt Fratin, acquired in the Bernier trade will be looked to for scoring in order to fill the offensive void, if you want to call it that, left by Dustin Penner.
Dan Carcillo, agitator extraordinaire will give Ducks fans one more reason to hate the Kings, and curse Shanahan's wheel of justice.
Overall, the Kings will be using youth to fill in gaps in the forward core as Tyler Taffoli showed tons of promise at the end of last season, and Kyle Clifford continues to climb the ranks.
It's hard to ignore the loss of Rob Scuderi. I don't know if the Kings didn't want to stomach buying out Regehr or Mitchell, but I feel Scuderi was the one to keep for all the right intangible reasons. I think he was a big reason that team found its way to a Cup, as he was a stabilizing force on the backend, albeit a deteriorating one.
Another player who's presence will be missed when the Kings hit the post season will be Dustin Penner. Penner was undoubtedly a regular season BUST in L.A., but he did magnificent work for them in the playoffs, which I'm sure had L.A. fans wondering why Penner was either Dr. Pancake or Mr.Playoffs.
Bernier was getting splinters from so much time on the Pine Pony, and the Kings will probably survive his departure with soon-to-be perennial Vezina candidate Quick between the pipes.
The Ducks will face off against the Kings five times this season (two home, three away) including the marquee game of the season in the Coors Light Stadium Series at Dodger Stadium Jan. 25.
Tues. Dec. 3 @ Ducks 7:00 pm, Prime Ticket
Thurs. Jan. 23 @ Ducks 7:00 pm, Prime Ticket
Sat. Jan. 25 @ Kings 6:30 pm, NBCSN/CBC (Dodger Stadium)
Sat. Mar. 15 @ Kings 7:30 pm, Prime Ticket
Sat. Apr. 12 @ Kings 7:30 pm, KDOC