What exactly does a team that just wrapped up its second Stanley Cup in three seasons do during the offseason? Well, the answer appears to be not much. In essence, the Kings’ philosophy this off season seems to be akin to the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association, which is to say that messing with a good thing is certainly not wise. Perhaps the best aspect of this current off season for the Los Angeles Kings is the reality that they appear to have kept their championship team mostly intact, and have made a few minor moves that could potentially strengthen their chances at a repeat. This spells a bit of doom for the other teams in the ultra competitive Pacific Division.
One move that longtime Kings fans will likely be sad to hear about is Willie Mitchell being shipped off to Florida. From a team and salary perspective, however, this move was expected and is deemed to be wise. Playing in the prolific goal scoring division that is the Pacific, the Kings defense needs to have some younger legs to keep up. As Mitchell is a bit older, Kings management felt it was time to let him to go in exchange for looking at a few younger defensive players that could come in and provide a lift.
The great teams are always thinking ahead, even the midst of enormous success. The Los Angeles Kings certainly appear to be living up to that mantra in terms of their 2015 draft selection. They used their selection to draft Swedish power forward Adrian Kempe. Kempe will not likely see the ice at Staples Center for quite some time, but when the Kings need him, he will be around. Kempe has been compared to Max Pacioretty, so the future does indeed appear to be bright on the offensive line for the Kings.
Graphic via hockeyscap
Any fan of the Kings will know that they are well regarded in terms of their physicality. They frequently wear down their opponents, and then move in for the kill by the third period. To shore up that aspect of the offensive line, the Kings have seen Dwight King sign his name a new three year deal. For a team that is already enormously successful, this only serves to position them for another series of runs at the Stanley Cup, and give further cause for teams in the Pacific to be worried.
Continuing with the theme of bringing back the core of their team, the Kings used this offseason to also re-sign Matt Greene. This is great news for the defense. His impact at the back corner of the ice is certainly felt, and the physical nature of his play fits in well. He will be a King for four more years. Keeping with that theme, the Kings also splashed some cash around to make sure that they kept Marian Gaborik from testing the free agent ice. As another testament to keeping the core of their team together, a team that values winning over all else, Gaborik accepted a contract for less his market value to stay with the team and make another run at the Stanley Cup. The Kings appear well situated to do just that.
Graphic via charged