The Los Angeles Kings are getting set for training camp, which begins in a couple of weeks. There is also new life around this team right now, as they go into a new season with more certainty than they did a year before.
There were a lot of question marks revolving around the team last fall. What was the new coach going to do? Could the Kings find their scoring touch? Could they get back into the playoffs?
The Kings answered every one of these questions. John Stevens‘ new offensive scheme upped the scoring enough to get the team back to the playoffs after missing out the previous year.
Heading into this season, the team’s core remains intact and seemingly healthy. Now the only question is this: can this veteran laden team integrate some new faces to start making deep runs in the playoffs again?
The biggest signing of the summer for the Kings was meant to increase scoring. After the Kings crashed out of the playoffs scoring only three goals, the front office knew they needed help.
Enter Ilya Kovalchuk, who had been on a sabbatical in the Russian League for the previous five seasons. Despite being 35-years-old, LA is hoping that they can get the same Kovalchuk that had scored 400 NHL goals prior to his departure.
If Kovalchuk returns to his previous form, then the Kings will finally have some depth at the wing. At his age though, the Kings really need the Russian to stay healthy or his three year contract will be an albatross around their neck.
Healthy and Happy
Going into training camp, the Kings seem to be healthier than they were a year ago. At this time last year, there were health concerns about key players including Jonathan Quick, who had missed significant time due to a severe groin injury.
The only player there could be a question about is Jeff Carter. Without Carter for 55 games this past season, the Kings’ offense looked dower at times.
Carter’s scoring punch was missed. While he came back for the playoff push, his lack of productivity brought up lingering questions of his health. Carter, as reported by Curtis Zupke, is expected to be back to 100% ahead of training camp.
Per Rob Blake, Jeff Carter (re-habbed ankle), Jake Muzzin (shoulder), Dustin Brown (shoulder) and Trevor Lewis (hand) are all expected to be ready for camp.
— Curtis Zupke (@curtiszupke) August 23, 2018
With added goal threats and a healthy roster, the Kings go into training camp with more confidence. It remains to be seen, however, if they can put that all together for a successful season.