Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
No, the Los Angeles Kings weren't able to pull of the repeat in 2013, as Darryl Sutter's boys fell to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks in the Western Conference Finals.
However, it wasn't due to a lack of depth or talent at any position, because the Kings are absolutely stacked in every way imaginable.
Up front, the Kings have a nice mix of skill and grit, with a budding superstar in Anze Kopitar, a standout sniper in Jeff Carter, and a pair of heart-and-soul leaders in Mike Richards and captain Dustin Brown.
Beyond those four, L.A.'s Justin Williams is an underrated offensive catalyst, who has been the perfect running mate for Kopitar and Brown. Veteran pivot Jarret Stoll provides clutch scoring and leadership down the middle as well, but what makes the Kings' lineup special is the quality of the team's bottom-six.
Trevor Lewis, Dwight King, Daniel Carcillo, Jordan Nolan and Kyle Clifford are a difficult bunch to play against, and former Maple Leaf Matt Frattin could blossom into a legitimate top-nine forward after escaping the pressure-cooker that is Toronto, Ontario.
On the back end, the Kings have arguably the best defensive group in the league, lead by one of the most electrifying blue-liners in the game in Drew Doughty. Doughty's mobility and poise with the puck is virtually unparalleled, and Slava Voynov has suddenly become one of the most dangerous offensive defenders in hockey after scoring six goals and 13 points in 18 postseason games.
After the two offensive dynamos, the Kings have a solid foursome in Willie Mitchell, Matt Greene, Robyn Regehr and Alec Martinez, so generally speaking, the Kings' crown jewels are well protected.
Which brings us to the Kings' crease.
Simply put, there is no goalie in the game as clutch as Jonathan Quick, who put on one of the greatest goaltending performances in recent memory during the 2012 postseason. He's young, talented and confident, and unless something drastic happens between now and February, he will be the No. 1 guy in net for the American entry at the 2014 Olympic Games.