The Los Angeles Kings’ subpar 2018-19 season created an opportunity for a handful of skaters to breakout of their recent funk. NBC Sports’ Adam Gretz was the latest expert to predict improvements from a pair of Kings veterans. In a list that included 10 players poised to bounce back this coming season, Gretz listed both Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick.
Doughty, a five-time All-Star, was listed at No. 3 on the list. Gretz explained that Doughty’s less-than-ideal performance last season could have been directly tied to his surroundings.
There is really no way to sugarcoat Doughty’s 2018-19 season — it was bad. Maybe it was the result of playing on a terrible Kings team that had nothing going for it. Maybe it was the fact he is inching closer to his 30th birthday and reaching a point where he will inevitably start to slow down. Maybe it was just a down year. It was probably a combination of all three. Whatever the case, he had a miserable year as the Kings were absolutely steamrolled when he was on the ice. He is too good and has too much of a track record for that to happen two years in a row.
The numbers don’t lie. Doughty’s Corsi for percentage plummeted from 53.2 percent in 2017-18 to 47.5 percent in 2018-19.
Gretz placed Quick at No. 6 on the list. The analysis that accompanied the veteran goalie’s placement revolved around re-adjusting expectations.
Quick has always been a polarizing player because he’s never been as good as his loudest supporters think he is or as bad as his loudest critics think he is. He’s a perfectly fine starting goalie that’s had two amazing playoff runs. That’s it. He’s not an all-time great and he’s not bad. He’s just … good. For some reason that is difficult for people to accept. No matter what side of the Quick argument you fall on you should probably be willing to acknowledge he is not going to repeat the .888 save percentage he finished last season with. He is WAY better than that.
You can read the full list from Gretz at Pro Hockey Talk via NBC Sports.
Love for Luongo
The Panthers are set to retire goaltender Roberto Luongo’s number this coming season. Luongo, who played 11 years with the organization over two stretches, will become the first Panthers player to have his number retired.
Panthers Owner and Governor Vincent J. Viola expressed his admiration for Luongo upon the announcement.
“Roberto is a cornerstone of Panthers history and an icon of the game,” said Panthers Owner & Governor Vincent J. Viola. “He has represented himself and the Panthers with tremendous dignity, determination and a standard of excellence throughout his career. Roberto exemplifies what it means to be a Florida Panther. His level of commitment to this franchise, his teammates, his family and the South Florida community is second to none. There is no player more deserving to be the first Florida Panther to have his jersey number retired.”
You can read the full press release from the Panthers by clicking here.
Injury Woes for the Flames
Flames defensemen Juuso Valimaki sustained a torn ACL in his right knee during an offseason training session. According to the report from TSN, the No. 16 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft will undergo surgery in the aftermath of Monday’s injury.
Flames general manager Brad Treliving discussed the unfortunate news shortly after it was announced.
“It’s terrible news,” Flames general manager Brad Treliving said. “It’s terrible news for Juuso, and certainly, unfortunate news for our club.
”He’s a really good young player who we expected to take a big step and move forward this year. It’s tough. I feel horrible for him. He’s had a terrific summer in terms of preparing. He was really taking some big steps forward and was excited about making an impact on our team this year.”
Valimaki was featured in 24 regular season games last year. He recorded one goal and two assists over that stretch.