As part of NHL.com's 31 in 31 series, our fantasy hockey staff is breaking down each team's fantasy landscape. Fantasy-relevant players are listed in order of rank in NHL.com's top 250. Today, we look at the LA Kings.
Jeff Carter , C -- He went from an average draft position of 130.7 to finishing 25th in Yahoo last season. Carter's ability to have 66 points (32 goals, 34 assists), 22 power-play points and 250 shots on goal in a down year for the LA Kings offense (2.43 goals per game, T-24th) proves he's a safe, self-sustainable fantasy pick. Center is the deepest fantasy position, so don't be surprised if Carter -- a perennial bargain -- slips in drafts again.
Anze Kopitar , C -- The Kings captain had weak linemates last season, and his production suffered; he had the lowest shooting percentage (8.0) and worst points-per-game average (0.68) of his NHL career. He had solid totals in assists (40; T-32nd in NHL) and PPP (19), but was one of the biggest fantasy disappointments based on ADP (29.4; finished 158th). A six-time 70-point scorer, Kopitar could be rejuvenated in a fresh offensive system under new coach John Stevens, and is a value pick anytime outside the top 50.
Video: VAN@LAK: Kopitar fires a power-play goal past Miller
Tyler Toffoli , C/RW -- He was limited to 63 games because of a knee injury, and his production declined significantly after returning (0.63 points per game in 32 games before; 0.45 in final 31 games). Toffoli had a minor surgical procedure in April but should be ready for training camp. A full offseason to recover and better shot fortune (9.7 percent last season) could help Toffoli bounce back for 25-30 goals and 50-55 points with Carter or Kopitar at even strength and on the first power-play unit.
Tanner Pearson , LW -- He improved his goal (24), point (44) and SOG (187) totals considerably in 80 games last season compared to 2015-16 (15 goals, 36 points, 137 SOG in 79 games). Pearson spent most of the season playing with Carter at even strength and on the power play, but only scored eight PPP in 2:24 per game. If the Kings stick with four forwards on their first PP unit and have Toffoli healthy and more productive, Pearson could finally reach 50 points and become a late-round steal. But one potential concern is that veteran left wing Michael Cammalleri, if healthy, could cut into Pearson's power-play time.
Drew Doughty -- He led the League in total ice time (2225:50) and managed to finish 90th in Yahoo (13th among defensemen) despite the Kings' issues throughout the lineup. He's one of six defensemen with at least 44 points in each of the past three seasons (Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, Dustin Byfuglien, Roman Josi, Kevin Shattenkirk) and has averaged 20 PPP per season in that span. You should be able to draft Doughty, an elite defenseman who hasn't missed a game since 2013-14, in the 8-10 range at the position, but it's definitely worth waiting to see if he falls any further.
Jake Muzzin -- The 28-year-old took a big step back in a number of key fantasy categories last season. His assist total dropped from 32 in 2015-16 to 19, his PIMs from 64 to 46, PPP from 13 to 10, SOG from 203 to 184, and he also had the worst plus/minus of his NHL career (minus-21). That said, you still can't sleep on him in late rounds with an appealing goal-scoring (27 goals over past three seasons) and power-play track record (37 PPP in same span).
Alec Martinez -- Like Muzzin (ADP: 104.6; finished 308th in Yahoo), Martinez was overvalued in fantasy last season (124.7; finished 286th). But outside of Martinez's minus-17, he set NHL career highs in points (39), PPP (15) and SOG (144). Martinez is an ideal fourth defenseman on a standard-league fantasy roster, and should be taken much earlier if your league counts hits (137; 1.7 per game) and/or blocked shots (167; 2.0 per game).
Video: ARI@LAK: Martinez scores PPG on wacky deflection
Jonathan Quick -- His season was derailed when he injured his groin in the Kings' opener on Oct. 12. Quick was limited to 17 starts, but went 8-5-2 with two shutouts, a 2.26 goals-against average and .917 save percentage, in line with his career averages (2.26; .916). The success of backup goaltender Peter Budaj (ADP: 148.4; finished 43rd) should remind fantasy owners how valuable Quick can be in the Kings' defensive system, even if he doesn't have a ton of goal support. Quick has five seasons of at least 35 wins for Los Angeles, which has been inconsistent on offense through the years, and could be a huge steal if available in the fourth or fifth round of a 12-team draft.
Others to consider: Michael Cammalleri (LW/RW), Adrian Kempe (LW), Marian Gaborik (LW/RW), Dustin Brown (LW/RW)