Los Angeles Kings' Biggest Underachievers So Far in 2013-14
The Kings have the talent and depth to be one of the league's top teams, and yet they sit ninth overall in the Western Conference. Some players have brought their A-game on a regular basis while others, such as the captain and an All-Star caliber goaltender, have underachieved.
These are the Kings' biggest underachievers early in 2013-14.
Stats courtesy of NHL.com.
Salary information courtesy of CapGeek.com.
As captain and a regular on the Kings' top line for years, Dustin Brown is expected to lead by example each and every night. Not to mention he signed an eight-year, $47 million contract extension in the offseason.
He hasn't produced consistently this season, having notched three goals and four assists for seven points in 19 games.
The 29-year-old was dealing with a hamstring injury early in the season, but seems to be healthy now. In recent games, Brown has racked up a ton of hits and played better defensively. However, he still needs to find his scoring touch and have a bigger impact on the power play.
With the absence of Jeff Carter, the Kings need other forwards to step up offensively, or losses like the one to the Buffalo Sabres will add up.
There was a feeling of optimism that L.A. had gained a top-six forward in the trade that sent Jonathan Bernier to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Matt Frattin started the season on the Kings' second line with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, but things have not gone as planned.
Frattin struggled to contribute offensively and wasn't playing the effective two-way game many expected. He's since been demoted to the fourth line.
In 17 games, Frattin has just one goal, four points and a minus-seven rating. He played 25 games with the Maple Leafs last season and recorded 13 points and was plus-six.
The 25-year-old has the potential to earn more ice time and work his way onto the third line. Although, with the way Linden Vey and Tyler Toffoli have performed since being called up, that won't be an easy task.
After appearing in 54 games in his rookie season in 2011-12, Slava Voynov played in all 48 games of the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign.
He improved significantly from one season to the next, playing solid defense and racking up six goals and 19 assists for 25 points and a plus-five rating. But he didn't stop there. The Russian blueliner took it up another notch in the playoffs and was arguably the team's best defenseman, with 13 points in 18 games.
That performance helped him earn a six-year, $25 million contract. A contract he hasn't lived up to early on this season.
Voynov has blocked just 13 shots, has the second most giveaways on the team (21) and hasn't generated scoring chances from the blue line.
However, Voynov is just 23 years old and may simply be experiencing the first major cold streak of his career. Given time, and perhaps a change in defensive partners, Voynov should turn things around.
First, it's important to acknowledge Jonathan Quick's injury, which he sustained against the Sabres on Tuesday. The American netminder suffered a grade two groin strain and could miss four to six weeks, according to Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times.
Quick is 10-5-0 this season with a goals-against average (2.35) which ranks 20th in the league and a save percentage (.905) which ranks outside the top 30. Quick put up similar numbers last season, before returning to All-Star form in the playoffs.
If the Kings hope to climb the standings in the highly competitive Western Conference, they're likely going to need Quick to dominate immediately upon his return.
Backup Ben Scrivens has appeared in just 38 career games and isn't used to carrying the load for more than a couple of weeks. Martin Jones, meanwhile, has never played an NHL game.