This season, SB Nation launched the NHL FanPulse survey to give fans like you the opportunity to weigh in on big questions about the league.
While previous weeks’ questions were geared towards the league as a whole, it’s time to start looking at team-specific questions, so we started with a simple one:
Are you confident in the direction of the team?
And — surprise! 100% of responses from Kings fans said yes.
I’ll be honest, I am legitimately surprised by this. For every comment/Tweet/internet response I get that is content with the “be patient, stay the course” route that Rob Blake is taking right now, sometimes it seems like there are five more that question Blake’s vision and plan.
The plan, as we all know it, is to endure some pain now in hopes of better days ahead. And to his credit, Blake has been great about not giving up future assets — prospects or draft picks — just to move out bad contracts or make temporary fixes. The Kings’ prospect pool is currently rated one of the top in the league, with intriguing figures like Samuel Fagemo, Arthur Kaliyev, Akil Thomas, and Alex Turcotte set to turn pro in the coming year. The team has drafted well and, for the first time, even has a surplus of prospects in net. And while the hiring of Todd McLellan was met with skepticism, including from yours truly, he does seem to have the right combination of tough love and positive reinforcement to get his team looking like, well, a team again.
The team’s record, of course, isn’t any better this year than it was last year, with the Kings looking like they’re headed for another top-five draft pick. So patience is definitely still the name of the game.
But then there was the Ilya Kovalchuk situation. And, as some readers pointed out in an unrelated Twitter thread today, the team’s failure to be able to sign Dominik Kubalik, who currently leads the league in goals by a rookie and is getting top-line minutes on the Blackhawks. (His 21 goals are more than anyone on the Kings has.) Or, going even further back, the seemingly rushed decision to trade the destined-for-LTIR Marian Gaborik (and Nick Shore) for Dion Phaneuf and Nate Thompson, neither of whom are in the organization anymore. In hindsight, none of those moves reflect kindly on Blake, to put it nicely.
So, what do you think? Do you agree with the results? Are you satisfied with the team’s direction? Or do you think there’s something amiss?
Let us know in the comments, and then make sure to sign up to receive future FanPulse surveys by filling out this form. The next round of questions goes out soon, and we’ll revisit this very question in the future, so sign up to make your opinion heard.