Los Angeles Kings

What’s in store for the Kings this season as they were on the top of the NHL not too long ago? The Los Angeles Kings are a professional ice hockey team based in Los Angeles. They are members of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The team was founded on June 5, 1967, after Jack Kent Cooke was awarded an NHL expansion franchise for Los Angeles on February 9, 1966, becoming one of the six teams that began play as part of the 1967 NHL expansion. The Kings played their home games at The Forum in Inglewood, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, for thirty-two years, until they moved to the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles at the start of the 1999–2000 season.

Los Angeles which is Spanish for "The Angels" is officially the City of Los Angeles, known colloquially by its initials L.A., is the second-most populous city in the United States, after New York City. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the largest and most populous city in the state of California and the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. Los Angeles is located in a large basin bounded by the Pacific Ocean on one side and by mountains as high as 10,000 feet (3,000 m) on the others. The city proper, which covers about 469 square miles (1,210 km2), is the seat of Los Angeles County, the most populated county in the country. Los Angeles is the principal city of the Los Angeles metropolitan area; with a population of 13.1 million residents it is the second largest in the United States after that of New York City. It is part of the Los Angeles-Long Beach combined statistical area, also the second most populous in the nation with a 2015 estimated population of 18.7 million

During the 1970s and early 1980s, the Kings had many years marked by impressive play in the regular season only to be washed out by early playoff exits. Their highlights in those years included the strong goaltending of Rogie Vachon, and the "Triple Crown Line" of Charlie Simmer, Dave Taylor and Hall of Fame player Marcel Dionne, who had a famous upset of the uprising Edmonton Oilers in a 1982 playoff game known as the Miracle on Manchester. In 1988, the Kings traded with the Oilers to get their captain Wayne Gretzky, leading to a successful phase of the franchise that raised hockey's popularity in Los Angeles, and helped raise the sport's profile in the "Sun Belt" region. Gretzky, fellow Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille and defenseman Rob Blake led the Kings to the franchise's sole division title in 1990–91, and the Kings' first Stanley Cup Final appearance in 1993.

During the 2009–10 season, the team had built a consistent roster with goalie Jonathan Quick, defenseman Drew Doughty, and forwards Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams. Finishing sixth overall in the West with 101 points, just the third 100-plus point season in franchise history, and establishing a franchise record with a nine-game unbeaten streak, the Kings returned to the playoffs, where they lost to a highly skilled Vancouver Canucks team in six games. The Kings entered the 2011 playoffs as the seventh seed in the West and played San Jose in the first round. Despite Anze Kopitar's absence with injury, the Kings pushed the series to six games until an overtime goal by Joe Thornton qualified the Sharks.

Having won two Stanley Cup championships in the last three years, the Kings entered the 2014–15 season as the early favorites to retain their title. However, the Kings struggled often, with scoring slumps, defensemen losing games to injury and suspensions and frequent road losses. A defeat to the Calgary Flames in the penultimate game of the season eliminated the Kings from playoff contention, while qualifying Calgary, which coincidentally missed the postseason during the Kings' five-season playoff streak. Despite finishing with a record of 40–27–15, the Kings became the first defending Stanley Cup champion to miss the postseason since the 2006–07 Carolina Hurricanes and only the fourth overall since the 1967 NHL expansion season.

At the start of the 2015–16 season. The Kings were expected to make the playoffs. They entered the playoffs as the fifth seeded in their conference and second seeded in their division. They faced the San Jose Sharks, but lost to them in five games. On June 16, 2016 the Kings named Anze Kopitar the 14th captain in team history, replacing Dustin Brown, who had led the team for the past eight seasons.

Do the Kings have what it takes to get into the postseason in 2019? After winning two Stanley Cups in three years from 2012 to 2014, and making the Conference Finals in 2013, it looked like the Los Angeles Kings would be a force for the next decade. Since then, the Kings have been in-and-out of the playoffs for the past four seasons, losing in the first round in both appearances.They’ve gone from “young team just about to peak” to “old team with a window nearly shut.” They still possess top players at their respective positions, but only Drew Doughty is on the right side of 30. With limited cap space, Los Angeles doesn’t have much financial flexibility heading into this season. This is a roster built to “win now,” stuck with bad contracts that would make a potential blow up nearly impossible. But this is Tinsel Town we’re talking about. Where dreams come true and happy endings can be scripted and condensed to an hour and a half. Anze Kopitar won the Selke trophy as the top defensive forward and finished third in Hart trophy voting last season. He posted 92 points for Los Angeles, a whopping 31 points better than his next closest teammate. Only Taylor Hall outshined his teammates on the scoresheet more.

Offensively, Los Angeles should have plenty of firepower on their top two lines in 2019-20, with a mix of veteran, prime-aged and fresh-faced talent with which to work. If all goes according to plan, the Kings should have a more-than-capable top six and two solid pairings on the blueline, but the depth issues caused by a thin prospect pool threaten to derail Los Angeles’ chances of becoming a true Stanley Cup contender in three years’ time. Until they fill out their roster with young talent that’s ready to contribute, playoff heartbreak might be where the Kings peak.

The mascot of the Kings since 2007 is Bailey, a 6-foot lion (6-foot 4 inches with mane included) who wears No. 72 because it is the average temperature in Los Angeles. He was named in honor of Garnet "Ace" Bailey, who served Director of Pro Scouting for seven years before dying in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Bailey is the second mascot, after Kingston the snow leopard in the early 1990s.