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Features

Depth at center question Kings need to answer

Thursday, 08.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Kings' first early postseason in six years understandably brought a lot of questions. After two Stanley Cup championships and three trips to the Western Conference Final in four seasons, cracks are visible in their mini-dynasty.

The good news is the Kings are used to adjusting and dealing with adversity, having proven to be one the NHL's most resilient teams the past few seasons. And if they get back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they remain a dangerous and imposing team.

Here are three questions the Kings must answer:

Doughty, Lucic give Kings reasons for optimism

Thursday, 08.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- The 2014-15 NHL season was one to forget for the Los Angeles Kings, who were shorthanded at the start, beset by injuries, and didn't have the depth or energy to stay afloat in the Western Conference. They were the first defending Stanley Cup champion to miss the playoffs since 2007.

But the Kings remain one of the more feared teams in the West because of their mettle, style of play, and goalie Jonathan Quick. They have lost some of the pieces from their two championship teams, but remain a team no opponent wants to face in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Here are four reasons for optimism this season:

Zykov, Shore among Kings' top five prospects

Thursday, 08.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- The stability of the Los Angeles Kings roster over the past three seasons hasn't allowed for much promotion, but that is likely to change because their Calder Cup champion American Hockey League affiliate is moving to Ontario, Calif.

The hour drive from Staples Center means the Kings can easily make a recall, either for an injury replacement or to give a prospect a quick look.

The Kings lack defensemen and centers in their system, and did not have a first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Here is a look at the Kings' top five prospects, according to NHL.com:

Playoff-free season has Kings rested, motivated

Thursday, 08.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2015-16 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

LOS ANGELES -- For the past few seasons, the Los Angeles Kings were the self-described cockroaches of the NHL, seemingly impossible to eliminate no matter how dire the circumstances. It was a remarkable trait in the NHL salary-cap era, and it made their demise all the more profound.

Facing must-win games, the Kings lost 4-2 to the Edmonton Oilers on April 7 and were eliminated from contention for the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 3-1 loss to the Calgary Flames two days later. It was the first time a defending Cup champion failed to make the postseason since the Carolina Hurricanes in 2007.

Injuries and off-ice issues on defense combined with overuse of goalie Jonathan Quick and defenseman Drew Doughty ultimately cost the Kings.

"This season we were all struggling to find that certain 'it' or whatever you want to call it all year," Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said. "And when it was over, after Edmonton and Calgary, I think the reality is we got what we deserved, and we have nobody to feel sorry for … every time we thought we were going to get out of it because we knew how to win or we had been in big games before, well, that didn't happen. But now we can learn from this."

Los Angeles Kings fantasy hockey outlook

Thursday, 08.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

As part of NHL.com's offseason 30 in 30 package, fantasy hockey insiders Matt Cubeta and Pete Jensen will break down each team's fantasy landscape. They will look at the players at the top of the ranks, an undervalued player, an overvalued player, a deep sleeper (players likely ranked outside the top 200 overall players) and the goalie outlook for each NHL team.

Leading the way: Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty

Kopitar was a fantasy disappointment last season, but was still among leaders in assists (48, T-9th) and power-play points (24, T-23rd). His shots on goal per game (1.7) dropped off compared to his 2013-14 (2.4) and career averages (2.6). The Los Angeles Kings were hurt by injuries and off-ice issues last season, but Kopitar has produced close to a point per game before and could bounce back with Milan Lucic on his left side. Expect a return to 70-plus points for Kopitar and a return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for Los Angeles. Target Kopitar in the third or fourth round as the second center on your fantasy roster.

Brodeur surprised to see Lamoriello go to Maple Leafs

Wednesday, 08.12.2015 / 4:54 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

TERREBONNE, Quebec -- It's been a strange few months for the New Jersey Devils, with the two most iconic figures in their history each taking jobs with other organizations.

First, longtime goaltender Martin Brodeur became the assistant general manager of the St. Louis Blues on May 20. Then Lou Lamoriello, who had stepped down as general manager May 4 after 28 years on the job and was replaced by Ray Shero, resigned as team president July 23 and accepted an offer to become GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

If it felt strange for Devils fans to see Lamoriello working for another team, it felt that much more bizarre for Brodeur.

"I was really surprised," Brodeur said Tuesday at a charity golf tournament hosted by Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien. "I had some conversations with [Lou] and I knew what was going on a bit, but it was still surprising to see all the changes going on there. I hope it's for the good of the organization."

Red Wings' DeKeyser welcomes playing with Green

Wednesday, 08.12.2015 / 4:45 PM / NHL Insider

Paul Harris - NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- Mike Green has been one of the NHL's premier offensive defensemen during his 10-season career, all with the Washington Capitals.

The Detroit Red Wings, who signed Green to a three-year contract July 1, believe they can make him a quality two-way defenseman.

Detroit general manager Ken Holland and coach Jeff Blashill have said Green will be paired this season with Danny DeKeyser, who former Red Wings coach Mike Babcock called "The Human Eraser" because of his strong defensive play.

DeKeyser, 25, talked about potentially playing alongside Green on Wednesday, when he served as an on-ice instructor at Red Wings Youth Hockey Camp at Joe Louis Arena.

"I think he's a great player," said DeKeyser, who said he has not talked to Holland or Blashill since Green signed with Detroit. "He's got a great shot from the point, he moves the puck up the [defensive] zone fast and he can skate really well.

"I don't know what the pairings are going to be. If we end up being paired together, I think it would be a good combo."

Crocker, Jacobs to receive 2015 Lester Patrick Trophy

Ceremony set for Thursday, Dec. 17, in Boston

Wednesday, 08.12.2015 / 12:00 PM / Lester Patrick Trophy

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK -- Longtime scout Bob Crocker and Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs have been named recipients of the 2015 Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the United States.

The award, one of the most prestigious in hockey, was presented to the National Hockey League by the New York Rangers in 1966. It honors the memory of Lester Patrick, who spent 50 years in hockey as a player, coach and general manager and was a pioneer in the sport's development.

"By honoring Jeremy Jacobs and Bob Crocker, the Lester Patrick Award selection committee has recognized the dedication and drive of two important contributors to hockey in the United States," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "Jeremy Jacobs -- as owner for 41 years of the NHL's first U.S.-based team and long-serving Chairman of our Board of Governors -- has provided unparalleled vision, innovation and inspiration to the advancement of hockey and the NHL. As a coach, a scout and a hockey executive, Bob Crocker has devoted decades to the development of young American players. Congratulations to both on this long overdue recognition."

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