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NHL West Division Preview: The Los Angeles Kings

The third installment of a series of posts taking a deep dive into each of the Colorado Avalanche’s divisional opponents this season.

NHL: MAR 09 Avalanche at Kings Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the 2021 NHL season fast approaching, it’s time to take a deep look at the newly aligned West division to see how the Colorado Avalanche are set to fare against their seven regular season opponents this year.

In my last piece, I looked over the Arizona Coyotes to see how they’re season success against the Avs could translate into this season, as their young core continues to grow in front of a rising star between the pipes, Darcy Kuemper.

Next up, we have the Los Angeles Kings.

NHL: MAR 09 Avalanche at Kings Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Los Angeles Kings (29-35-6) 7th in Pacific

Team Stats (2019-2020)

  • GF: 178 (30th in NHL), GA 212 (14th in NHL), PP%: 17.1% (26th in NHL), PK%: 77.4% (24th in NHL)

Team Stats vs Avalanche (2019-2020)

  • COL: 2-0-1 (.833P%, 7 GF, 4 GA, 2.33 GF/G, 1.33 GA/G)

Players to Watch

  • Anze Kopitar - 70gp 21g 41a 62p

Stats vs West Division (2019-2020): 21gp 6g 15a 21p

Stats vs Avalanche (2019-2020): 3gp 0g 2a 2p

  • Alex Iafallo - 70gp 17g 26a 43p

Stats vs West Division (2019-2020): 21gp 7g 12a 19p

Stats vs Avalanche (2019-2020): 3gp 1g 2a 3p

  • Dustin Brown - 66gp 17g 18a 35p

Stats vs West Division (2019-2020): 20gp 5g 3a 8p

Stats vs Avalanche (2019-2020): 3gp 0g 0a 0p

NHL Goalie Depth

  • Jonathan Quick - 42gp, 16-22-4, 2.79gaa, .904sv%, 1so

Stats vs West Division (2019-2020): 14gp, 5-7-2, 2.78gaa, .902sv%, 0so

Stats vs Avalanche (2019-2020): 3gp, 2-0-1, 0.97gaa, .965sv%, 0so

  • Calvin Petersen - 8gp 5-3-0 2.64gaa .922sv% 0so

Stats vs West Division (2019-2020): 2gp 2-0-0 2.00gaa .943sv% 0so

Stats vs Avalanche (2019-2020): DID NOT PLAY

Notable Offseason Acquisitions

  • Andreas Athanasiou - 55gp 11g 15a 26p

Like many teams this past offseason, the Los Angeles Kings made some interesting decisions that put themselves in a unique spot where they can potentially be competitive now, and for years to come.

With already one of the deepest prospect pools in the league that includes recently named World Junior Hockey Champions Arthur Kaliyev and Alex Turcotte, the Kings added Quinton Byfield to their system after selecting him second overall in the draft this past summer.

As for some additions that will immediately impact the team, the Kings traded for Lias Andersson, a 23-year-old center from the New York Rangers as well, as well as signed Andreas Athanasiou of the Edmonton Oilers to a one-year deal.

While the major part of their core has aged out of their prime and goaltender Jonathan Quick has yet to return to the same Stanley Cup-championship form, the future is bright in Los Angeles. The younger players will have another season of growth and a great chance to develop their game, and will have a good chance to play spoiler this season against a number of teams in the division.

Prediction: 7th in Division, Miss Playoffs

NHL: MAR 09 Avalanche at Kings Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Colorado Avalanche - 42-20-8 (2019-20) 2nd in Central

Team Stats (2019-20)

  • GF: 237 (4th in NHL), GA: 191 (5th in NHL), PP%: 19.1% (19th in NHL) PK%: 81.4% (13th in NHL)

Team Stats vs Kings (2019-20)

  • 1-2-0 (.333P%, 4 GF, 7 GA, 1.33 GF/G, 2.33 GA/G)

Players to Watch

  • Nathan MacKinnon - 69gp 35g 58a 93p

Stats vs West Division (2019-20): 20gp 8g 16a 24p

Stats vs Kings (2019-20): 3gp 0g 0a 0p

  • Mikko Rantanen - 42gp 19g 22a 41p

Stats vs West Division (2019-20): 11gp 4g 6a 10p

Stats vs Kings (2019-20): 1gp 0g 1a 1p

  • Cale Makar - 57gp 12g 38a 50p

Stats vs West Division (2019-20): 15gp 6g 8a 14p

Stats vs Kings (2019-20): 2gp 0g 0a 0p

NHL Goaltender Depth

  • Pavel Francouz - 34gp, 21-7-4, 2.21gaa, .923sv%, 1so

Stats vs West Division (2019-20): 12gp, 6-5-1, 2.58gaa, .907sv% 1so

Stats vs Kings (2019-20): 3gp, 1-2-0, 2.14gaa, .921sv% 0so

  • Phillip Grubauer - 36gp 18-12-4 2.63gaa .916sv% 2so

Stats vs West Division (2019-20): 9gp 5-3-0 2.22gaa .916sv% 1so

Stats vs Kings (2019-20): 1gp, 0-0-0, 1.41gaa, .933sv% 0so

Just before the regular season pause of the 2019-20 NHL season, the Los Angeles Kings were on a six game winning streak in which they were able to play up to the level of their opponents who they hadn’t been playing well against all year. The Avalanche were one of the victims of this hot streak from the Kings as they lost 3-1, making it the second regulation loss they had against them on the season.

Arguably one of the most glaring stats in the matchup between these two teams is Nathan Mackinnon having zero points through three games. While there are a number of reasons as to why good players don’t show up on the scoresheet every night, the Avalanche cannot afford to lose games to these bottom-tier teams this year, and will need their big guns to step up when the time comes.

UP NEXT: The Minnesota Wild