Five burning questions – Orange County Register

LOS ANGELES — The Kings input this season, set to start out Tuesday, with burgeoning promise but in addition with greater than their percentage of uncertainties.

Here are 5 burning questions that the boys in black and silver will solution over the process 82 video games.

Will the ability play in the end produce?

Even at their top, the Kings’ persistent play was once no longer precisely menacing. In truth, since their 2nd Stanley Cup season of 2013-14, the Kings have the sixth-worst cumulative power-play conversion charge within the NHL.

But hope springs everlasting originally of every marketing campaign, and there could also be justification for optimism. Phillip Danault noticed extra time with the additional guy past due remaining season, top-unit fixture Drew Doughty has recovered from wrist surgical treatment, rookie Brandt Clarke is already a few of the Kings’ maximum ingenious playmakers, and Kevin Fiala figures so as to add oomph to the offense in each state of affairs whether or not or not it’s the ability play, even-strength motion or three-on-three additional time motion.

The braintrust of the Kings was once additionally fairly reconfigured. Marco Sturm, who ran the ability play remaining season, will information the Kings’ height minor-league associate this yr. Jim Hiller labored below Stanley Cup winner Mike Babcock in two other towns and below every other Cup champion, Barry Trotz, in New York maximum just lately. Hiller has been tasked with in the end making the Kings extra opportunistic with the additional guy.

“Jimmy brought a fresh set of eyes to our video from last year. It wasn’t tainted with opinion or frustration or joy,” trainer Todd McLellan stated. “He shared a lot of thoughts and ideas with us, so we adopted some of those things. He’s been around some good players and good power plays.”

Who are those guys, actually?

Danault loved a breakout 2021-22 marketing campaign and so too did his linemate Trevor Moore. While it wasn’t as a King, Fiala did the similar with the Minnesota Wild, exploding for 85 issues to obliterate his earlier season top by means of 31. He did so with low-key linemates and rather restricted power-play time.

While a number of Kings obviously have room to give a boost to their manufacturing — as an example, sniper Arthur Kaliyev shot simply 7.2 p.c remaining season — the ones 3 may just both proceed to advance or be vulnerable to regression. Moore’s 48 issues greater than doubled his profession general, which have been 41 in 123 video games. Danault scored 27 objectives, greater than two times as many as he had in any NHL marketing campaign and greater than he even notched at even the minor-league or junior ranges.

“There’s always a place for progression, no place for regression,” Danault stated. “I don’t want to think that way, being scared of regression. I just want to get better as a team and as a player, and I’ll do whatever I can to win a Cup here.”

How a lot will Brandt Clarke play?

Regardless of what number of potentialities pan out or gamers step ahead, the Kings all the time gave the look to be connected to including a defenseman of past due, one with ability, toughness or each. They can have made inner additions, even though, no longer most effective with veterans Drew Doughty and Sean Walker recuperating from accidents however with the emergence of 2021 8th total select Brandt Clarke.

Clarke performed broadly within the preseason. He may just play as much as 9 video games with out burning a yr off his entry-level contract, however would then have to go back to his junior crew, the Barrie Colts, quite than refine his recreation within the minors. Where the Ducks already assigned height defensive potentialities Owen Zellwegger and Pavel Mintyukov to their junior golf equipment, Clarke has controlled to hang out and may just make a identical push to increase his keep past the process a provisional regular-season keep.

“He doesn’t lack confidence and he doesn’t portray arrogance. That’s a pretty good quality to have,” McLellan stated.

Blue chips or crimson flags?

Such trial runs are not unusual within the NHL. Quinton Byfield had a six-game cup of espresso two seasons in the past earlier than Alex Turcotte got here up for 8 suits remaining yr. Both have been top-five selections, however neither has absolutely justified their draft status simply but.

Turcotte sustained two serious concussions remaining season and has no longer participated absolutely in crew actions since. Byfield, who went via a setback remaining season with a damaged ankle, has been wholesome around the summer season and fall, save for a temporary sickness. Yet he has too regularly combined into the background and infrequently produced statistically.

“I know I can make plays, so I just need to be more confident in myself and in my game. The rest will follow,” Byfield stated.

Can the Kings make the playoffs?

A 99-point marketing campaign and playoff look remaining season, one who got here regardless of a couple of vital accidents and numerous shifting portions, was once greater than any cheap observer may just look ahead to. But the result of remaining season are erased all however utterly, apart from for the reality they have got raised the bar for this yr’s Kings.

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