With the 2019-20 NHL season on hold we are going to take a look at where each NHL team stands at this moment with a series of posts examining their season. Have they met expectations? Exceeded expectations? Who has been the surprise? All of that and more. Today we look at the 2019-20 Los Angeles Kings.
2019-20 Los Angeles Kings
Record: 29-35-6 (64 points in 70 games), seventh in the Pacific Division, second-worst in West
Leading Scorer: Anze Kopitar – 62 points (21 goals and 41 assists)
In-Season Roster Moves
- Sent Jack Campbell and Kyle Clifford to Maple Leafs for Trevor Moore, a 2020 third-rounder, and a conditional 2021 third-rounder.
- Traded Tyler Toffoli to Canucks for Tyler Madden, Tim Schaller, 2020 second-rounder, and a conditional 2020 fourth-rounder.
- Sent Alec Martinez to Golden Knights for a 2020 second-rounder and 2021 second-rounder.
- Received conditional fourth-rounder in 2021 from Flames for Derek Forbort.
After exceeding expectations in 2017-18, the Kings crashed to earth in 2018-19. Jarringly so, to many of us.
If you look at the Kings’ place in the standings alone, you’d probably assume that 2019-20 represents the team settling into the new normal. To some extent, that’s true. In the grand scheme of things, every time the Kings make an overture toward rebuilding, they’re likely being smart.
But unlike a lot of other cellar dwellers, the Kings actually held their own by many measures. The Kings ranked somewhere between respectable to downright impressive in analytics terms. Take, for instance, how solid Los Angeles looks in Charting Hockey’s Shot Shares chart, which uses data from Evolving Hockey:
Not bad for a team that sits second-worst in the Western Conference, right?
Through their Stanley Cup-contending years, the Kings hogged the puck but sometimes struggled to finish. Such a formula worked well during their postseason runs.
This version of the Kings is a weakened form of that, but if you squint, you could see glimpses of those former glories. Not enough to win a meaningful number of games. And, no, certainly not to the point that you’d want to sabotage their rebuild.
Yet it’s amusing that the bounces finally started to go the Kings’ way as 2019-20 came to a halt.
Highlight of the Season
How could it be anything other than rattling off a baffling seven-game winning streak to “end” their season?
Indeed, as 2019-20 ended, the Kings’ winning streak was far and away the longest active streak in the NHL.
The Kings authored a decent larger stretch, too, going 10-2-1 in 13 games from Feb. 12 – March 11.
That home-heavy stretch cemented that, if nothing else, they were pesky at home. The Kings ended up 19-13-2 in Los Angeles this season, versus 10-22-4 on the road.
Upsetting the Avalanche in their 2020 Stadium Series game ranks as a highlight for the 2019-20 Kings, too.
MORE ON THE KINGS:
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.