Few players have stood out in the mess that is the Los Angeles Kings this season.
The Kings have posted a record of 14-13-4 on the season, but despite their mediocre start to the season, it is not all bad news for the team that was supposed to contend for the Stanley Cup.
The list of players having a poor season is much longer than the list of players having a fine season for the Kings. Nevertheless, let’s look at three players who have played well in LA.
If every player on the roster gave the effort he gives, there would not be any problems in LA.
Anze Kopitar is the most talented player on the team, and he works the hardest on the ice.
The dynamic centre had a hot start to the season and, although he has cooled off a little since then, he leads the team in points with 29 and is on pace to record 76 on the season.
Kopitar, 24, has led the Kings in scoring the past four years and is poised to do it a fifth time this season.
If you had to find a downside to Kopitar’s game, he is not all that physical despite his 6’3”, 225-pound frame and he can be an inconsistent scorer.
He is the offensive leader on the team and has the speed, size and hands to dominate games.
He is out with a concussion now, but when healthy he was one of the team’s all-around best players.
Mike Richards, 26, has been exactly as advertised since LA acquired him in a trade from Philadelphia in the summer.
He is great on special teams and he can score goals too. He had nine goals in the 11 games before his injury and 20 points in 25 games for the year.
If Kings management ever decides to reconsider the captaincy on the team, Richards and Kopitar would be the top candidates to replace the struggling Dustin Brown.
Richards has shown all the characteristics a leader should have and has been a complete player for the Kings despite their slow start.
Where would the Kings be if not for goaltender Jonathan Quick this year?
What success they have had this year, as little as there has been, can be attributed to his performance in the net.
He has a certain confidence and calmness in the net and his athleticism has helped him steal wins.
With the lack of offense from the Kings this year, they need him to continue to be their MVP if they want to earn a playoff spot in the competitive Western Conference.
If a .930 save percentage and 2.09 goals-against-average were not enough, he also has four shutouts to go along with it. That includes a three-game shutout streak earlier this year.