The sour taste of the Kings’ 31-win performance in the 2018-19 season could be washed away if a trio of key contributors regain their footing. New leadership and a reverse of fortunes could bolster Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, and Tyler Toffoli’s chances to recapture their former glory.
The Athletic’s Ian Tulloch suggested just that in his recent rankings of bounce-back candidates for the 2019-20 season. Tulloch ranked Toffoli at No. 3 on his list. According to the rankings, the Kings’ 27-year-old winger was subject to a run of bad luck.
I know everything went wrong in Los Angeles last year for the Kings, but it was still surprising to see just how little Tyler Toffoli produced offensively considering how many chances he was generating. He scored only 13 goals and 34 points despite playing all 82 games, which just doesn’t sound right if you’ve ever watched Toffoli play.
Last season, Toffoli recorded just 13 goals on 226 shots. Regardless of the overall quality of those attempts, that conversion rate borders on an aberration.
Tulloch went on to spotlight Kopitar, Doughty, and Jonathan Quick. After highlighting how an uptick in Toffoli’s production would lift Kopitar’s numbers, Tulloch explained that an outside-his-prime Quick can still produce at a serviceable level.
After a down year for Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick, there’s a strong case to be made that all three will have much better seasons in 2019-20. Kopitar should benefit greatly from Toffoli’s shooting percentage regressing upward. Doughty’s too talented to perform like he did last year (much like Subban). Quick probably isn’t going to be a .888 save percentage goaltender forever. I’m not sure if the Kings will make the playoffs next year, but they should be much closer to the bubble than they were last season.
You can read Tulloch’s complete bounce-back candidate rankings at The Athletic (subscription required).
New Team Physician Onboard
On Monday, the Kings announced that Frank Petrigliano will takeover head team physician duties for the upcoming season. Petrigliano was also named chief of the USC Epstein Family Center for Sports Medicine at Keck Medicine of USC.
Upon his introduction, Petrigliano voiced his enthusiasm for his new position.
“I am excited to join Keck Medicine and provide care to the LA Kings and Los Angeles athletes of all levels,” Petrigliano said. “My mission is to work with our outstanding orthopaedic team and researchers to develop the preeminent sports medicine center in the region, and I am confident that Keck Medicine has the passion, skill and innovation to make this possible.”
According to the press release, Petrigliano has a special interest in ligament reconstruction.
On the Other Coast
- Former Rangers defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk found a new home with the Lightning after he was bought out last week. The 30-year-old veteran was featured in 119 games with the Rangers before he was jettisoned for cap-related reasons.
- In a conversation with NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty, Bruins President Cam Neely revealed that the team is prepared to start training camp without restricted free agents Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo.
“We do have to plan and prepare for these players to not be at camp opening day,” Neely told NBC Sports Boston Thursday. “But we have five, six weeks hopefully to get something done. We feel like we should be able to get something done with both of those guys at numbers that make sense for us, and hopefully makes sense for them. I think we’ve done a really good job of kind of managing the cap and making sure that we’re OK to get these guys done.”
The two young defensemen combined for 1,080 minutes of ice time during the Bruins postseason run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2019.
You can check out Haggerty’s full interview with Neely at NBC Sports Boston.