NHL Fanhouse corroborates what I said earlier about the Kings' playoff chances being tied to goal differential (post here). I said the Kings needed to add 38 goals while cutting 4 goals against. They say (see below) the Kings need a 47 goal improvement; I said 42 would do it. I based my numbers on eyeballing the numbers. He actually crunched the numbers. So his 20 goal differential is probably more accurate than my 15.
If we go back to the 1999-2000 season, there have been 144 playoff teams in the NHL, and of those teams, 134 finished the regular season with a positive goal differential. Ninety-one finished with a differential greater than plus-20, and only two playoff teams finished with a differential worse than minus-10 only 10 teams had any kind of negative differential.What does that mean for last years non-playoff teams? Lets take a look.Since the 99-00 season, only two teams have finished the regular season with a differential greater than plus-20 and missed the playoffs the 2001-02 Oilers and the 2006-07 Avalanche. That said, lets go ahead and say that if you finish the season plus-20 you are, at the very least, in serious contention for a playoff spot. After all, since the start of the decade 91 of the 93 teams that finished with such a mark made the playoffs.
Los Angeles Kings
2008-09 goal-differential: -27
Needed Improvement: 47 goal improvement -- (Example: score 24 more goals and allow 23 fewer goals). Excellent young team. Talented forwards, young defense, they spent the offseason adding experience and grit (Ryan Smyth, Rob Scuderi) and if they can get even competent goaltending, the playoff drought could end in Los Angeles.
[UPDATE: I also did a little estimate of how the Kings could score 250 goals here]