This series will cover all thirty teams and go over the most important player, and player who’s performance most needs to improve to help the team succeed.
The Kings have been slowly climbing the ladder towards the top of the NHL for a couple seasons. Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown are three pretty good building blocks. Add in players like Rob Scuderi who have won the Cup elsewhere and you get a strong matrix to add pieces to. This summer two potentially huge pieces were added, Simone Gagne and Mike Richards.
Anze Kopitar needs to take advantage of added weapons and facing thinner defenses this season. Opposing teams will now have to honor the threat of Mike Richards as well. With two legitimate #1 centers the team has the opportunity to score some serious goals, and Kopitar has all the skill he needs to embarrass the opposition. With Gagne, Penner, Brown and the rest on board it is time for Kopitar to aim for the 100 point mark.
Can Mike Richards shed the if not apathy then certainly lowered interest of the past season or two? If he can turn back into the hungry, aggressive SOB that made opposing fan bases hate and respect him the team he could well be able to raise the Cup with his new team. The other part of the equation is how well will he adjust to a new team, the western conference travel, a new coach and a roster that includes only one person he’s played with in the NHL? He also won’t be the captain here and that could be either good or bad for his focus.