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2014-2015 NHL preview: Los Angeles Kings

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Cups. That's all that needs to be said about the Los Angeles Kings. They just won their second Stanley Cup in three years. Their regular season wasn't great, although it was plenty good, and their playoff run was pretty wild. I mean, they had to overcome a 3-0 deficit in the first round against the San Jose Sharks. But they did, and then the Sharks made Joe Thornton not the captain, because they are very silly. Anyway, the Kings are the defending champs again, and this time there's no lockout to hinder them. Or help them. One or the other.

In short, the Kings have a top notch roster. Anze Kopitar is great. Jeff Carter is still around, and the team re-signed Marian Gaborik after his stellar playoff run. That's an impressive trio to begin with. However, then there are guys like Justin Williams and Mike Richards too. Yes, Richards is heading in the wrong direction, and his contract is problematic, but he still has value. Oh, and then there is Dustin Brown, the captain! A regular Joe Thornton he is. The team has some good grinders, and talented young forwards like Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson. Man, that's a talented group.

The defense is rock solid too. Willie Mitchell is gone, but Drew Doughty is there, and he's, like, five Willie Mitchell's in one. Slava Voynov is good, and guys like Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez are solid depth. The only place that is maybe, sort of a question, and not really, is in net. Jonathan Quick had his great playoff run when the Kings first won the Cup, but since then he hasn't exactly been setting the world on fire. Last year, he had a .915 save percentage during the regular season, and a .911 SV% during the playoffs. At this point, it seems like Quick is merely a good goalie, which is fine, but does not make the situation in goal a strength of this team. Martin Jones was very impressive as a backup last year, though.

The Kings are going back to the playoffs. That's basically a given. I don't see them finishing worst than second in their division, and they probably will win it. Will they repeat? I doubt it, because the odds are against it. However, they are definitely a Cup contender. Maybe they will be the first team to repeat since the Red Wings in 1998. They have the best chance since... well, the Blackhawks last season.

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