The Los Angeles Kings have clinched the Stanley Cup tonight with a 6-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. This six-game series was close for the first two games, with both ending in 2-1 wins for the Kings in overtime before the Kings took a commanding 3-0 lead in the series.
This is great news for Kings' fans, as they get to celebrate their team's first ever Stanely Cup win. But in a league that tends to copy off of the successful teams, what does LA winning the Cup say for mean for the rest of the league?
The biggest implication it has is a return to the NHL where teams need a great goalie to win. After the 2008-10 Stanely Cup champions had above-average goaltending at best it's good to see back-to-back years where the team with the best playoff goalie has gone on to win it all.
While most teams would have tried to secure or maintain quality goaltending, there should be an increased premium on the position after teams got to watch how important Jonathan Quick was to the Kings. Without his amazing play they probably don't even come close to winning the Cup this year, which is why he was awarded the Conn Smythe trophy for playoff MVP.
Another big part of the Kings' success was the acquisitions of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. The Kings wanted to be deeper and more talented on offense, and acquiring the two former cornerstones of the Philadelphia Flyers certainly achieved that goal.
But there was a lot of risk involved in trading for two guys with huge contracts. There's no guarantee they'll work out, and if they don't they can cripple a franchise for years to come. But the Kings took that chance and it paid off big time.
Other keys to the success of the Kings was their powerplay and leadership. Having a strong powerplay and guys in the locker room that can step up is the key to winning on the road and that's where the Kings shined this postseason, posting only one road loss.
This should encourage some of the teams who've ignored their powerplay to put a bigger premium on players that can create plays in the offensive zone when the team is set up as well as defensemen who can quarterback the powerplay. Guys like Jaromir Jagr should see their free agency value rise as powerplay specialists.
All in all the Kings didn't do anything groundbreaking to put together a championship team. They built a team from the goalie out that was responsible defensively and capable of offensive bursts when they needed it. Their formula should be the formula of choice for NHL teams for the next few seasons, since they seem poised to be a threat to win it all for a few more seasons.
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