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Fantasy Preview: Los Angeles Kings

Scott Cullen
9/17/2013 1:23:30 PM
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One of the league's top teams, the Los Angeles Kings have a lot of familiar names that won't come as bargains because of their recent success, but there's nothing wrong with tried and true performers.

Top Picks: Since 2007-2008, C Anze Kopitar has scored 415 points, ranking 16th in the league, and he's plus-51 over the last three seasons, ranking 17th, so he's a safe mid-range option as a No. 1 centre. One concern: last season, Kopitar generated a career-low 2.09 shots on goal per game, down from 3.11 just two seasons before, so that trend needs to reverse course if he's going to be pushing a point per game on a regular basis, but he remains a high-end option until proven otherwise.

Riding alongside Kopitar, LW Dustin Brown has been a productive player in his own right, with 149 goals since 2007-2008 ranking 26th. What sets Brown apart, however is his propensity for hitting and his place near the top of the league in that category, year after year, makes him a low-end No. 1 or high-end No. 2 fantasy left winger.

On the other wide, RW Justin Williams has moved beyond the injury problems that plagued him earlier in his career, playing every game in the last two seasons. Both Williams and Brown are among 17 players to have scored at least 140 points while posting a plus-35 rating over the last three seasons. That consistency makes Williams a fine No. 2 option on right wing.

Also since 2007-2008, RW Jeff Carter has scored 191 goals, ranking sixth. His assist totals are relatively low (lowest of the Top 31 goal-scorers in that time), which limits his upside somewhat, but as a No. 2 option, Carter has the upside to challenge for a 40-goal season.

Defencemen Drew Doughty and Slava Voynov are both high-quality options. Doughty has never been as productive as he was in his second season, when he scored 59 points and was plus-20, and yet he still ranks eighth among defencemen with 157 points over the last four seasons.

Voynov has 45 points in 102 NHL games through his first two seasons, but came to the forefront with 13 points in 18 playoff games last season. He's still more potential than proven, but his offensive game makes him a legit No. 2 option on defence.

Coming off back surgery, G Jonathan Quick had the worst regular season of his career, posting a lowly .902 save percentage (after a .929 mark the year before), but he was once against stellar in the playoffs (.934 save percentage in 18 games), giving some hope that, when healthy, he'll return to being an elite goaltender. Firmly entrenched as the starting goaltender for a Cup contender, Quick is an easy pick as a top five, maybe top three, goaltender.

Value Plays: C Mike Richards hasn't scored in Los Angeles like he did in Philadelphia, and the 16:21 per game he played last season was his lowest since his rookie year, but he's a safe, reliable option as a No. 3 fantasy centre.

Sleepers/Breakthrough: A lot of the prominent spots in the Kings' lineup are locked up by veterans, so any breakthroughs may have to come with opportunities created by injuries. However, RW Matt Frattin, acquired from Toronto in the Jonathan Bernier deal, has 15 goals and 28 points in 82 NHL games, along with 23 goals and 35 points in 44 AHL games, so he has some offensive upside, maybe enough to be a 20-goal scorer, if he gets a chance in a top-six role at some point.

D Jake Muzzin gets third pair minutes for the Kings, but was very effective last season, as one of eight defencemen to have at least 15 points and a plus-15 rating.

Rookies: After a procuctive junior career, LW Tyler Toffoli made a smooth transition to the pros last season, scoring 28 goals and 51 points in the AHL, adding 11 points in 22 (regular season and playoff) games, giving the Kings a taste of what he might be able to do. If he gets regular playing time in a top-six role, Toffoli could score 20 goals and warrant a look in deeper, or most definitely keeper, leagues.

 

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.




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