So, this article will round out the small market NHL teams series that was broken up into six parts. Today I would like to talk about the LA Kings. Throughout the whole series, I have judged teams on talent, leadership, and fan support. Today I will do the very same with the LA Kings.
So lets start with the talent, then onto leadership, then we will round it out with the fan support. The best talent on the Kings look like this: Anze Kopitar, Jarret Stoll, Derek Armstrong, Alexander Frolov, Dustin Brown and Patrick O'Sullivan. Yes, that is good talent but you need more top notch players. The Kings are not going to succeed with that. Besides, Stoll scored just 14 goals and 22 assists for only 36 points in 81 games.
This season they should have Drew Doughty, Colten Teubert, Jonathan Bernier, and Tomas Hickey all playing in the NHL. That is the only plus side that I can find though. The Kings do not have good leadership that will lead them to the playoffs and eventually a Stanley Cup.
The closest player that they have to that is Anze Kopitar who has proved that he is ready for captaincy by never giving up when times get tough and always encouraging his fellow teammates, but you never want to just throw someone into captaincy so he could be one of the assistants.
So then, you can make 35 year old and the most experienced King captain right? Wrong. Derek Armstrong has yet to prove that he is worthy. So now who? Finally, lets move onto the fan support. After the Ducks won the Stanley cup it didn't help the Kings one bit. Infact if it did anything to their fan support it made it worse as both team are in the state of California.
So now the LA Kings have very little support. They may sell a lot of tickets every night but not a whole lot of sell outs. Just because LA has a lot of sports teams doesn't mean that there are a lot of die hard hockey fans. Basketball, baseball, soccer, and football are all American sports. Hockey is Canadian and doesn't do well in a lot of American cities. Same with the population. It doesn't necessarily mean that they are all hockey fans. Plus, the Californian hockey fans would be split up between the Kings and the Ducks.
So to finish up the series here are my final small market NHL teams rankings (based on projected performance).
1. Tampa Bay
5. Los Angeles