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.
KINGS' FANTASY-RELEVANT PLAYERS
Below is a list of the fantasy-relevant players in the Los Angeles Kings organization. These players have been arranged by NHL.com's fantasy staff based on projected value and by position. These players range from top-tier assets to deep sleepers and should be on your radar in standard Yahoo leagues.
* Red indicates newcomer to team
Doughty and Jonathan Quick are among the top 10 at their positions in fantasy, but Doughty led the League in shot attempts (SAT) last season and was named a Norris Trophy finalist. He had a rough year on the power play (one PPG on 59 PP SOG in 82 games), but was still one of three defensemen (Shea Weber, Dustin Byfuglien) with 40-plus points, a positive rating, 50-plus penalty minutes and 200-plus SOG in 2014-15. If you're in a league that counts hits and blocks, Doughty does it all. If you choose to take three forwards and a goalie with your first four picks, make sure to put Doughty in your queue for Round 5 to anchor your blue line.
Undervalued: Milan Lucic
Lucic had three five-game pointless streaks last season and saw his offensive numbers drop with David Krejci missing nearly half the season. But Lucic was traded to Los Angeles in June and could end up on the Kings' top line with Kopitar and Marian Gaborik, a potentially scary blend of size, physicality and goal-scoring. Lucic is a perennial PIMs asset (75-plus in each of past five seasons), but he's a rare breed in fantasy when his point production gets going. Even with a 15-point dip, Lucic was one of two players (Chris Kreider) with 40-plus points, a plus-10 rating and 80-plus PIMs. His scoring should improve with this change of scenery, so he's worth an investment once the eighth round rolls along.
Overvalued: Jeff Carter
Carter made waves with a breakthrough 2014 postseason and a hot start in 2014-15 alongside Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson, but cooled off from there and needed a couple of late multipoint games to crack 60 on the season. He's 30 years old and finally got his assist game back up to the level of his career year with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2008-09, but he probably won't sniff 40 goals again. Carter deserves a place among the top 75 overall players, but he's one I would not consider inside the top 60. He scored 10 PPG last season (T-15th in NHL), but finished with 17 even-strength goals (T-48th), fewer than Jason Zucker and Michael Raffl. When picking in Carter's projected range, I would rather invest in a more consistent 5-on-5 player because power-play production grows on trees among top-50 forwards.
Deep sleeper: Jordan Weal
The Kings missed the playoffs after winning the Stanley Cup, have seen notable subtractions down the middle (Jarret Stoll, Mike Richards) and much success at the American Hockey League level (the Manchester Monarchs won the Calder Cup). Weal, a 23-year-old center, has combined for 139 points in 149 AHL games the past two regular seasons, and was a focal point for the Monarchs in the Calder Cup Playoffs with 22 points, a plus-12 rating and 54 SOG in 19 games. All signs point to Weal getting a chance to earn a spot with the Kings out of camp, feasibly a third-line role. If you're in a deep league, Weal is worth taking as the final pick in your draft. If he goes undrafted, add him if/when he cracks the roster.
Goalie outlook: Jonathan Quick and Jhonas Enroth
Quick is a world-class goalie who has backstopped two Stanley Cup championship teams during the NHL's salary-cap era. Only Henrik Lundqvist (2.26 in 620 games) has a better career goals-against average among active players than Quick (2.27 in 407 games), who has been consistent through the years even without much regular-season goal support. He didn't live up to the billing as a top-three fantasy goalie last season, but he did come close in 72 games (second), finishing tied for sixth or better in wins, GAA and shutouts. This may be the year that Quick falls to the third or fourth round in most drafts, so pounce on the opportunity to draft someone that traditionally goes in the first two rounds.
Enroth has subpar career numbers after spending years backing up Ryan Miller with the Buffalo Sabres, but he had a solid GAA (2.38) in a small sample size (13 games) after being traded to the Dallas Stars last season. He goes to a team where No. 2 goalies (i.e. Jonathan Bernier, Martin Jones, Ben Scrivens) have been fantasy-relevant in recent years as beneficiaries of a strong defense and possession prowess. Enroth is not worth drafting, but don't be surprised if he becomes a short-term commodity if Quick misses any time with injury. If it's a deep enough league, Quick owners should handcuff Enroth.