NHL.com is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, three key statistics for the LA Kings.
1. Possession is king
The LA Kings' most remarkable attribute is their shot-based metrics. For the sixth consecutive season, the Kings led the NHL with an SAT of plus-720 at 5-on-5, based on a League-leading 3,969 shot attempts and 3,249 shot attempts allowed, which was second fewest to the Boston Bruins (3,239).
This advantage extended to other manpower situations as well. According to the data compiled at Natural Stat Trick, the Kings had an average of 108.78 shot attempts per 60 seconds on the power play, which was second to the Philadelphia Flyers (109.88). When shorthanded, Los Angeles allowed 89.07 shot attempts per 60 minutes, fourth-lowest in the League.
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2. A physical game
In the past six seasons, the Kings have proven that a team doesn't have to choose between hard-hitting grit and possession-based hockey. Since 2010-11, Los Angeles has led the League in SAT (plus-4,700) and hits (15,904).
The Kings led the NHL in hits last season for the third time in four seasons with 2,323. In some cases, a team's hit total is inflated by the generous way some scorekeepers record them, but that's not the case in Los Angeles. In the past three seasons, the Kings have 3,817 hits at home and 3,631 on the road at 5-on-5, an increase of 5.1 percent that is almost the same as the NHL average home-ice advantage of 4.3 percent.
Hitting may decline under John Stevens, who was named coach on April 23. When coached by Stevens from Oct. 22, 2006 until Dec. 4, 2009, the Flyers were 21st with 4,771 hits in 263 games, which is 18.1 hits per game. Since then, the Flyers rank fifth with 15,580 hits in 597 games, 26.1 hits per game.
3. Key King
There arguably isn't a player who is relied upon by their team more than Kings defenseman Drew Doughty.
In the past three seasons, Doughty leads the NHL with 6,900:58 of ice time. Broken down by manpower situation, Doughty ranks second with 5,429:00 at even strength, seventh with 669:02 shorthanded, and 16th with 802:56 on the power play.
It's not just the volume of minutes Doughty plays, but the difficulty of those minutes. He takes on top opponents while guiding a secondary player as his defense partner, like Brayden McNabb in 2015-16 and rookie Derek Forbort last season. Despite this tough assignment, the Kings are at their best with Doughty on the ice, with a League-leading SAT of plus-1,269 at 5-on-5 the past three seasons.
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