Three Things About The Opposition
This season we figured we’d reach out to our friends in the Pacific Division and ask them to tell you and us three things about their team for the upcoming season. It could be any three things, but we wanted them to inform you about the Flames biggest rivals in the NHL.
For this installment we reached out the SBN LA Kings site Jewels From The Crown and Sarah Avampato was kind enough to enlighten us on the Kings for 2019-20.
1. We’re probably not going to get another coach fired this year.
It’s been a couple of years of turmoil for the Kings, ever since they fired Darryl Sutter in 2017. John Stevens lasted a season and a handful of games, just long enough for it to be clear that his coaching style of “quietly disappointed dad” wasn’t going to work for this group. Willie Desjardins was obviously a placeholder, so it was no surprise that his tenure ended as soon as the Kings’ season did. They’ve invested big in Todd McLellan, though, handing him a five-year contract in April. McLellan will certainly get a much longer leash than Stevens did in trying to right this ship. It remains to be seen what exactly he can get out of the team’s aging core, but at least everyone is coming into training camp and the pre-season with the right attitude.
2. No, we don’t know if the team is going to bounce back, either.
It would be hard for the Kings to be much worse than they were during the 2018-19 season. When the only team worse than you is the Senators, you know something’s gone terribly awry. And so theoretically -- with a better coach and more buy-in from the players and a slight infusion of youth thanks to some of the younger players who may make the opening night roster -- the Kings should improve on their 31-win season. But the core’s another year older, Jonathan Quick is possibly held together with wire and duct tape, and the most exciting prospects aren’t quite ready to hit the NHL yet. With other teams in the division allegedly improving, the Kings have a lot of ground to make up.
3. The Ontario Reign might be more exciting to watch.
Until the Kings start opening up roster spots via trade, many of the organization’s brightest young prospects will be spending their time with the Ontario Reign. Given that they play the Stockton Heat 12 times this season, you’ll have a chance to get familiar with them early. Keep an eye on Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Rasmus Kupari, Sean Durzi, and Mikey Anderson, all promising young players who could see some NHL time this season, but most likely will be beginning their pro careers in the minors.