The recipe of success for the Los Angeles Kings has hardly changed over the years, but some of the names and faces of those who have helped them capture that success are different.
Of course, the backbone of the Kings’ success is Anze Kopitar, who has been with the team for both Stanley Cup wins, and just inked a new 8-year, $80 million extension. Still, he’s had a lot of help.
During LA’s Cup run in 2011-12, pitching in offensely was Justin Williams, who was in his third full season in Los Angeles. He finished the regular season with 59 points (22-37—59) in 82 games, his highest point total since finishing with 76 for Carolina in 2005-06.
Also chipping in was Dustin Brown, who at the time was seen as a player on the rise. He hadn’t tallied anything lower than 50 points since 2006-07, his second full season in the NHL, and he appeared in all 82 games for the Kings in 2011-12, posting 54 points (22-32—54).
Mike Richards was a key contributor to the Kings then as well. While he wasn’t coming close to his almost point-per-game pace that he was on with Philadelphia a few years earlier, he was still producing for a Kings team that wasn’t getting much offense, notching 44 points (18-26—44) in 74 games.
During the Kings’ second Cup run two seasons later, things had shifted slightly. Of course, Kopitar was once again leading his team in the scoring department with support from Williams, but this time around they were getting extra help in the form of Jeff Carter.
Carter, who was acquired by the Kings from Columbus in February of 2012, finished the 2013-14 regular season with 50 points (27-23—50). It would be his biggest offensive output since he finished with 66 three seasons earlier with the Flyers.
Fast forward to 2015-16, and the complexion of the offensive support has taken on an even bigger change.
Tyler Toffoli has been one of the Kings’ top point scorers this year. He was taken in the second round (47th overall) by LA in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and has seen his game take off this year as he’s posted 38 points (23-15—38) through 51 games this season.
Through Friday’s action he’s already matched his goal total of 23 from last season and he’s on pace for 61 points this season, which would eclipse his season high of 49 (23-26–49) that he set last year.
Another new forward chipping in this year is Milan Lucic. He was acquired through a trade by the Kings from Boston in June of last year with the hopes he could provide the heavy presence that has been LA’s hallmark, and so far he has not disappointed.
Through 50 games he has tallied 30 points (12-18—30) and he’s on pace for approximately 49 points, which would be a slight increase from the 44 he finished last season with.
And while he has only been with the Kings for a few games so far this season, much is being made of Vincent Lecavalier’s return to form.
As far those who are no longer key contributors to the offense, most have taken on new roles, like Dustin Brown. The captain is still a centerpiece of LA’s lineup, but over the past couple of seasons he’s experienced a decline in offense. After notching 54 points (22-32—54) in all 82 regular season games in 2011-12, his point total has dipped as he’s taken on more of a physical role, and through 51 games this season he only has 19 points (7-12—19). But the New York native is on pace for roughly 30 points this year, which would actually be his best offensive output in four years.
One face who continues to supply secondary offense is Jeff Carter. He followed his 2013-14 season up with 62 points (28-34—62) in 82 games last year and he’s continuing to produce this year, with 35 points (13-22—35) in 46 games and is on pace to finish with a very respectable 58 points.
And as long as the Kings are able to insert different names and faces into the lineup and get the same results year after year, they’ll always be thought of as contenders.