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State of the Kings: Midseason Report Card

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With the season more than halfway through, let’s grade some guys.

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With a lackluster 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday, the Kings are 18-27-5, good for 41 points over 50 games. That’s a 67-point pace — second worst in the league — which would likely put them in prime contention for Alexis Lafrenière or Quinton Byfield when the NHL Entry Draft rolls around on June 26.

Let’s not get this wrong. This isn’t the 2018-19 team that floundered at everything hockey. This is a typically competitive team without much of a scoring punch. Most games will find them falling asleep—anywhere from 20 seconds to five minutes—and that stretch seems to be the primary reason the team fails.

The future is bright, but also it can’t come quick enough.

The Forwards

Michael Amadio
Age: 23
Key Stats: 15 Points (6G, 9A), 13:37 TOI, 17.5 S%, 56.4 CF%
Salary Cap Hit: $700,000
Odds to be traded: 25-1
Midseason Grade: B-

Amadio centers the Kings effective checking line and has shown some staying power as a career 4th liner. He plays well against tough opposing matchups, particularly at home. This year, we’ve seen some uptick in his offensive production and chances this season, and being only a -5 on this team is particularly promising.

Dustin Brown
Age: 35
Key Stats: 22 Points (10G, 12A), 18:28 TOI, 9.4 S%, 49.6 CF%
Salary Cap Hit: $5,875,000
Odds to be traded: 40-1
Midseason Grade: C+

One of the few players left on the team that is willing to give a hit, the former captain is starting to decline in front of us once again. Not enough five-on-five production from the No. 1 right wing (0.48 points per game this season, after two seasons of 0.71 and 0.75 ppg). Has to keep fighting for his top-line job as Tyler Toffoli gets showcased for a trade. Remains a fan favorite and when he’s on the ice, somehow we all feel better about possible outcomes.

Jeff Carter
Age: 35
Key Stats: 23 Points (14G, 9A), 17:02 TOI, 8.9 S%, 51.7 CF%
Salary Cap Hit: $5,272,727
Odds to be traded: 18-1
Midseason Grade: B-

Despite playing the last chunk of games on or near the 4th line, he’s on pace for 23 goals through his timeliness and his skating power returning. Continues to evolve in the grit game and remains a steady presence on the ice. Threats of retirement (real or otherwise) are driving down his trade value.

Kyle Clifford
Age: 29
Key Stats: 14 Points (6G, 8A), 11:34 TOI, 7.4 S%, 53.6 CF%
Salary Cap Hit: $1,600,000
Odds to be traded: 75-1
Midseason Grade: B

On par with the standard he set last year as a second line prolific goal scorer. All kidding aside, he does all the things you want from a bottom six forward, score occasionally, add massive grit, hit, fight, stand-up for teammates, and basically be the soul of championships past.

Alex Iafallo
Age: 26
Key Stats: 27 Points (10G, 17A), 18:22 TOI, 10.2 S%, 51.0 CF%
Salary Cap Hit: $2,425,000
Odds to be traded: 50-1
Midseason Grade: B

The Kings’ second leading scorer is headed towards a 44 point season, which would represent a 34 per cent improvement for the third season forward. Ideal fit at the second or third line when the King’s scoring punch improves. He also chipped in with some timely power play goals and even a couple of game winners. Forty-four points from the top line LW is a major concern, however, this both a reflection the Kings season and a career-long overall lack of scoring on Kopitar’s LW.

Adrian Kempe
Age: 23
Key Stats: 20 Points (10G, 10A), 15:47 TOI, 10.2 S%, 56.7 CF%
Salary Cap Hit: $2,000,000
Odds to be traded: 30-1
Midseason Grade: C+

The lack of power-play success this season falls on Kempe in many ways, and his recent showing with the man advantage was just further proof of his potential. The question is how to translate potential into something special—which all of us saw as reality after his 2019 IIHF World Championship performance. Overall, Kempe has been average even by the Kings’ post-Stanley Cup standards. Currently, he’s not nearly as bad as most say on Twitter and not nearly as good as he should be.

Anze Kopitar
Age: 32
Key Stats: 43 Points (17G, 26A), 20:26 TOI, 17.5 S%, 52.3 CF%
Salary Cap Hit: $10,000,000
Odds to be traded: 1,000-1
Midseason Grade: A-

The Kings most important player because of his all-situations excellence. Averaging over 20 minutes of ice time, seldom makes a situational mistake, personally lifted Tyler Toffoli’s trade stock, but snake bit as captain as far as team success goes. Baffling he isn’t in the Selke discussion at this point in the season.

Los Angeles Kings v Boston Bruins Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Trevor Lewis
Age: 33
Key Stats: 7 Points (2G, 5A), 11:54 TOI, 3.3 S%, 52.3 CF%
Salary Cap Hit: $2,000,000
Odds to be traded: 5-1
Midseason Grade: D

Often-injured (only played in 37 of 50 games), it’s become clear why the Kings are quietly trying to move him. Regularly late on pucks and people. He lost his scoring touch after the 2017-18 where his career-high 10.4 per cent shooting percentage has plummeted to 3.4 and 3.3 respectively in the last two seasons. Although beloved as the Kings’ Unsung Hero, he simply does not fit on any of the four lines any longer.

Blake Lizotte
Age: 22
Key Stats: 15 Points (4G, 11A), 13:44 TOI, 6.3 S%, 57.6 CF%
Salary Cap Hit: $925,000
Odds to be traded: 35-1
Midseason Grade: C

Coaches have little hesitation deploying the undersized forward against bigger forwards because of his tenacity, stick and hockey IQ. He’s picked up 15 points in 45 appearances this season, mostly in a middle-six role. Has not looked out of place on the in the middle, but offensive production is lacking.

Nikolai Prokhorkin
Age: 26
Key Stats: 13 Points (4G, 9A), 12:34 TOI, 8.2 S%, 56.9 CF%
Salary Cap Hit: $925,000
Odds to be traded: 45-1
Midseason Grade: C+

Moved up regularly in the lineup since his call-up from Ontario. Improving lately with his legs, pace, and flashes of slickness. He’s done well in 30 games and solidifying his spot for next season.

Tyler Toffoli
Age: 27
Key Stats: 27 Points (12G, 15A), 16:22 TOI, 9.5 S%, 56.6 CF%
Salary Cap Hit: $4,600,000
Odds to be traded: 1-1
Midseason Grade: C+

Everyone believed Toffoli was the sniper the Kings had long searched for after a 31 goal 2015-16 campaign, but in the last 131 games he’s only produced 25 goals and rumors have long persisted that he doesn’t fit the Kings long term plans. Expect him to be in a different uniform come the trading deadline.

Austin Wagner
Age: 22
Key Stats: 7 Points (3G, 4A), 20:26 TOI, 17.5 S%, 52.3 CF%
Salary Cap Hit: $759,167
Odds to be traded: 35-1
Midseason Grade: D-

Despite ample playing time, the Cheetah has less points than long departed Ilya Kovalchuk in triple the games played. He is as fast as Connor McDavid, but couldn’t finish a breakaway if his life depended on it. Easily the most frustrating King to watch night in and night out.

The Defense

Drew Doughty
Age: 30
Key Stats: 27 Points (6G, 21A), 26:03 TOI (second in the league), 5.3 S%, 50.2 CF%
Salary Cap Hit: $11,000,000
Odds to be traded: 900-1
Midseason Grade: C

I took a lot of heat at the 30 game mark with my “What’s Wrong with Drew Doughty…” column where I accurately pointed out his bizarre play. His power play quarterbacking is a microcosm of his season: “Ever since the Kings switched to the en vogue 4F/1D power play structure with Doughty as the primary quarterback, he’s been a hot mess with the man advantage. Turnovers, giveaways, unable to keep the puck in the zone, a massive amount of blocked shots...you name it, it’s happening to him.” Want more? Read it here.

Los Angeles Kings v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Derek Forbort
Age: 27
Key Stats: 1 Point (0G, 1A), 15:01 TOI, 0.0 S%, 57.7 CF%
Salary Cap Hit: $2,525,000
Odds to be traded: 27-1
Midseason Grade: Incomplete

Because he was injured for all but six games, we were subjected to Joakim Ryan. It’s been a long road back and we are all looking forward to seeing his evolution.

Ben Hutton
Age: 26
Key Stats: 7 Points (2G, 5A), 17:56 TOI, 2.5 S%, 54.5 CF%
Salary Cap Hit: $1,500,000
Odds to be traded: 35-1
Midseason Grade: C

Recent play has dragged Hutton upward, and when he’s not getting beat on breakaways against the boards, he’s found the puck-moving ability that Kings coaches tried to sell us on when he was signed for veteran leadership. At the end of the day, he’s just a spotholder until the massive young D Corp is ready to be promoted from Ontario

Kurtis MacDermid
Age: 25
Key Stats: 4 Points (2G, 2A), 13:15 TOI, 6.1 S%, 52.9 CF%
Salary Cap Hit: $675,000
Odds to be traded: 30-1
Midseason Grade: C+

Has done an adequate job as a depth defenseman and enforcer. Does not appear to have much offense to his game, but does deliver an occasional Toyota Tough Hit of the Game, which is fun. Heavy feet will prevent any true future for him.

Alec Martinez
Age: 32
Key Stats: 6 Points (1G, 5A), 20:26 TOI, 17.5 S%, 52.3 CF%
Salary Cap Hit: $4,000,000
Odds to be traded: 2-1
Midseason Grade: C-

Leads the league in being scouted. He’s been long rumored to be traded for the past three years, but frequent injuries have scared away suitors. Count on Blake to move him for a second rounder by the trade deadline.

Matt Roy
Age: 24
Key Stats: 14 Points (4G, 10A), 17:31 TOI, 4.8 S%, 55.9 CF%
Salary Cap Hit: $745,000
Odds to be traded: 20-1
Midseason Grade: C+

His last 25 games have been better than his first and he has been fine as a third-pairing defenseman after rehabbing from that mistake riddled start to the season. Has to keep fighting for his minutes with all of the kids eyeing his spot from Ontario.

Joakim Ryan
Age: 26
Key Stats: 3 Points (1G, 2A), 18:48 TOI, 3.1 S%, 54.0 CF%
Salary Cap Hit: $725,000
Odds to be traded: 100-1
Midseason Grade: D

Former Shark who wasn’t tendered a qualified offer after last season and his play shows why. Shouldn’t see too much time from here on out now that he’s on IR.

Sean Walker
Age: 25
Key Stats: 19 Points (4G, 15A), 19:08 TOI, 4.1 S%, 56.3 CF%
Salary Cap Hit: $745,000
Odds to be traded: 40-1
Midseason Grade: B+

An exceptionally good skater with a hard, accurate shot that many think has been the Kings’ best defenseman this year. Don’t think it, know it.

The Goalies

Jack Campbell
Age: 28
Key Stats: 7-10-2, 2.89 GAA, .899 Sv%
Salary Cap Hit: $675,000
Odds to be traded: 5-1
Midseason Grade: B

All eyes are on Anton Khudobin (Dallas) and Tristan Jarry (Pittsburgh) for the best backup goalie in the league. One shouldn’t discount Jack Campbell in the top three. He does his best work when the load is heaviest (see the recent showings in Vegas and Carolina). For most teams, Campbell’s performance would be pushing him into the starter role, but he’s still the backup because, well, Jonathan Quick. Campbell was the prized piece in the showcase showdown on the last trip and at a $700,000 price tag with term you can bet Rob Blake will field some calls.

Winnipeg Jets v Los Angeles Kings Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Jonathan Quick
Age: 34
Key Stats: 11-17-3, 3.01 GAA, .896 Sv%
Salary Cap Hit: $5,800,000
Odds to be traded: 15-1
Midseason Grade: B

Aside from a horrendous first month, Quick has been a rock for the Kings. He was been traded 158 times in the media, blamed for every deflected goal and then called every euphemism for being old you can possibly imagine. On, many nights, he’s the reason the game isn’t 6-1 after two periods. If he played for Boston, Washington, or even (gulp) Columbus, he would be in the Vezina conversation.

The Coach

Hats off to Todd McLellan who is actively changing the sad sack losing culture of the Kings and doing his part to drive a winning culture. The Kings have been surprising competitive and even if some of his team seem disinterested, he’s all in. Following the Florida loss in the game before the break, he called out his team with a “disappointed” and “unacceptable” rant. He’s got the Kings back to respectable, even if the record doesn’t show it, and once the Kings get some scoring punch into the lineup, count on a Kings revival.

Midseason Grade: B

The GM

Okay Rob, the Kovalchuk renaissance in Montreal must mock you when you drift off to sleep at night now. There’s hope though. Now it’s time to show you’re a real GM and not someone who is solely reliant on the draft. Make some smart deal with some of the decent assets you have at your disposal.

Midseason Grade: Incomplete