The Most Disappointing Players on the Los Angeles Kings so Far in 2014-15
It's good that the Los Angeles Kings have won two Stanley Cups in the past three years after having, at best, average regular seasons. If not, there might be a lot more reason to be disappointed right now.
The Kings have 29 points and sit fourth in the Pacific Division. In other words, they currently hold down a wild-card spot.
They're also behind the Calgary Flames, but that's a whole other story.
For now, we're looking at the Kings' continued lack of success in the regular season—though it may matter little come playoff time—by examining the players who have been the most disappointing.
It's been a rough start for the captain, Dustin Brown.
It's an extension of his performance last season in many ways. Brown has just four goals and three assists for seven points in 24 games. He had a career-low 27 points in 79 games in the 2013-14 season.
Producing on offense is certainly the most noticeable problem. But, as Bleacher Report's Vinh Cao points out, the Kings and Brown have both had trouble with puck possession this year—an area where they normally dominate.
Brown needs to find a way to have an impact on every shift, whether it's by making a big hit, a good defensive play or generating offense.
Dwight King has a huge frame at 6'4", 230 pounds. He can have his way with smaller defensemen along the boards and outwork them in front of the net. Now, he's certainly not capable of being an elite power forward, but he should be a factor on the second or third line.
So far this season, however, he's been largely ineffective.
King had 15 goals and 15 assists for 30 points and was a plus-16 in 2013-14. It was a breakout year. This season, he's played 23 games and has two goals and five assists for seven points. He also owns a team-worst minus-seven rating.
There is plenty of time to salvage this campaign, and he doesn't have the same pressure to perform as Brown. That said, he is beginning a three-year, $5.85 million contract. He needs to be better in all areas, especially in getting pucks to the net.
Jarret Stoll was one of the team's most disappointing players very early in the season. He's improved in recent weeks but still has a little way to go. At age 32, Stoll can still be one of the Kings' best centers in terms of two-way play and faceoffs.
He's winning 51.6 percent of his draws thus far, which is down from over 54.5 percent last season. And those numbers have been sporadic of late, ranging from being over 70 percent in win percentage one game and then going below 36 percent the next.
Consistency in the dot is something the Kings depend on to win the puck possession battle. This and strong defensive play are the keys to success for Stoll. Like King, he has just two goals and five assists, but producing offensively isn't the same priority for Stoll—although it wouldn't hurt to rack up a few more points.
When you think of the type of performance you expect from Anze Kopitar every night or just glance quickly at the NHL point leaders, you expect better than what he's done.
Kopitar will undoubtedly turn things around. He remains one of the elite players in the world. However, his lack of production early makes him one of the most disappointing L.A. players.
He has five goals and five assists for 10 points in 21 games. That's the same number of points Mike Richards has, although Richards has played three more games. Injuries may be part of the reason behind Kopitar's struggles—he hasn't registered a point in five games.
Of the disappointing players, Kopitar is the one who absolutely won't be on this list come the midway point of the season. He's simply too good.