2013-14 Grades for Los Angeles Kings Stars Ahead of the Olympic Break
Los Angeles Kings fans deserve a break. Their team is in the midst of its worst stretch of the season, having lost nine of its past 10 games.
As usual, you won’t find an L.A. player near the top of the NHL’s scoring list, but that doesn't necessarily mean stars like Anze Kopitar have performed poorly.
When assessing a player’s performance over an extended period of time, it’s important to look at the whole picture, not just stats.
With that said, here are the grades for the Kings’ stars heading into the Olympic break.
Anze Kopitar continues to lead the Kings in scoring while still playing a strong game defensively.
The 26-year-old has 17 goals and 29 assists for 46 points in 58 games this season. He's also had a physical impact, racking up 67 hits.
These are good numbers, but Kopitar is capable of producing more. To earn a higher mark, Kopitar must do more in the offensive zone, such as taking more shots and going hard to the net.
As the lone NHL player on Team Slovenia, the eyes of a nation will be focused on him. Look for Kopitar to return to L.A. inspired and highly-motivated.
The Kings ask a lot of Drew Doughty.
The 24-year-old defenseman averages nearly 26 minutes per game, four minutes more than any of his teammates. Of which, 3:53 is on the power play and 2:39 is on the penalty kill.
He physically outworks his opponents in the defensive end and consistently gets in the shooting lanes to block shots.
The only area Doughty could improve in is on offense. He has eight goals and 21 assists for 29 points in 58 games. But, like his teammates, he's capable of doing more, specifically on the power play.
The Kings need goals, and Doughty's speed and shot should help create more quality chances.
The Kings have struggled on offense of late, and Jeff Carter is partially responsible for that.
The Canadian Olympian hasn't scored in his past seven games. In 48 games this season, he has 20 goals and 16 assists for 36 points. He's been good, if not great at times, but Carter must be more consistent down the stretch, especially if Dean Lombardi doesn't acquire a skilled forward.
Carter is one of the elite snipers in the game and will hopefully come back from Sochi healthy after a strong Olympic performance.
As a Stanley Cup champion and Conn Smythe Trophy winner, expectations will always be high for Jonathan Quick.
In a season interrupted by injury, the American netminder has been average by his standards. He's 15-13-2 with a .909 save percentage, 2.22 goals-against average and three shutouts. While many of the losses can't be blamed on him, he is capable of maintaining a save percentage close to .920.
With that said, goaltending is the least of the Kings' worries. Quick always seems to raise his level of play in the playoffs, regardless of how he and his teammates have performed in the season.
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