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31 in 31

Los Angeles Kings fantasy preview for 2019-20

Kopitar among bounce-back candidates; Toffoli can benefit from new coach McLellan in contract year

by Jonathan Baron / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

As part of NHL.com's 31 in 31 series, the fantasy hockey staff identifies relevant players from the Los Angeles Kings. For more fantasy coverage, visit NHL.com/Fantasy and subscribe for free to the NHL Fantasy on Ice podcast.

 

[Kings 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Top prospects | Behind the numbers]

 

MORE FANTASY COVERAGE: Mock draft | Top 250 rankings | Team previews | Cheat sheet

 

Drew Doughty, D (NHL.com rank: 108) - He played 26:36 per game last season, finishing among the NHL's top two in average ice time for the third straight season. Los Angeles scored the second fewest goals (199) in the NHL ahead of only the Anaheim Ducks (196), but Doughty still had 45 points (T-18th among defensemen), a high floor within the scope of a scarce position. If the Kings stay healthy and improve under new coach Todd McLellan, Doughty could rebound to score 60 points, like he did in 2017-18. Doughty has played all 82 games in each of the past five seasons and still belongs among the top 25 fantasy defensemen.

 

Anze Kopitar, C (124) -- After setting NHL career highs in goals (35), assists (57) and points (92) in 2017-18, Kopitar regressed drastically in all three categories (22 goals, 38 assists, 60 points) last season as the Kings missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Kopitar remains a valuable fantasy center target outside the top 100 overall, especially if he sees more time with wings Tyler Toffoli and/or Ilya Kovalchuk (played mostly with Dustin Brown, Alex Iafallo last season). But it's worth noting Kopitar, who will turn 32 on Aug. 24, has had 60 points or fewer in two of the past three seasons.

Video: 31 in 31: Los Angeles Kings 2019-20 season preview

 

Dustin Brown, RW (185) -- After four straight full seasons with fewer than 40 points (2013-14 to 2016-17), Brown returned to fantasy relevance with 61 points (28 goals, 33 assists) in 2017-18 and then had 51 (second on Kings) in 72 games last season. Brown brings exposure to Kopitar on the top line and should be targeted in late rounds with strong coverage of hits (3.0 per game in NHL career) and shots on goal (2.6).

 

Jonathan Quick, G (191) -- He went 16-23-7 in 46 games last season with NHL career worsts in save percentage (.888) and goals-against average (3.38). Quick should be available much later than usual in fantasy drafts because the Kings have a core of veteran players but could also integrate multiple prospects. Quick could have a heavy start volume if healthy and return value in late rounds based on his NHL career resume (309 wins, 2.36 GAA, .914 SV%, 51 shutouts). That said, backup Jack Campbell, 27, had a .928 SV% in 31 games last season and is a deep fantasy sleeper who's much younger than Quick, 33.

Video: Top 10 saves of 2018-19: Quick

 

Tyler Toffoli, RW (N/A) -- The right wing has declined since his 58-point season (31 goals, 27 assists) in 2015-16 but is entering a contract year (potential 2020 unrestricted free agent) with a chance for better lineup placement under McLellan. Toffoli had by far the lowest shooting percentage (5.8 last season) of his NHL career but also a high shot volume (226), making him another bounce-back candidate from the Kings to consider in deep fantasy leagues.

 

Other players to consider in late rounds or off waiver wire: Ilya Kovalchuk, LW/RW; Jeff Carter, C; Jack Campbell, G; Carl Grundstrom, LW/RW; Adrian Kempe, C

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