NHL: Crowning the Los Angeles Kings
The Los Angeles Kings are Stanley Cup Champions for the first time in club history after defeating the New Jersey Devils Monday night 6-1 at Staples Center, winning their best out of seven series 4 games to 2.
Kings Captain Dustin Brown led the way with a goal and 2 assists, while Jeff Carter and Trevor Lewis added 2 goals apiece. Goaltender Jonathan Quick took home the Conn Smythe award for playoff MVP. It was a total team effort by the Kings and with most of their core locked up long term, this club should find success for a long time. The only member of the young core not signed long term is Quick, but he will likely sign an extension sometime this summer.
While the likes of Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, Brown, Carter and Quick really stood out as they should, a young Kings defenseman who has flown under the radar is Alec Martinez. Martinez is such a fluid skater who rarely makes mistakes from the back-end. The young blue liner also can contribute offensively and is excellent at moving the puck up ice to the forwards on the breakout. During this years playoffs Martinez took control especially in the Finals. The Kings defensive corps truly has amazing depth with Doughty, Rob Scuderi, Willie Mitchell, Slava Voynov, Martinez and Matt Greene.
The Kings have the core and foundation to be right back in Stanley Cup contention next season and for many years to come. This is a young team, with a nice pipeline of prospects at all positions and they have some salary cap flexibility as well (although with the new CBA looming this can change). As mentioned above, Quick only has one year remaining on his current contract, but he can sign an extension anytime after July 1st and I fully expect that to happen. The emergence of Quick into one of the top netminders in the NHL has also made backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier expendable in potential trade scenarios. While goaltenders don’t usually hold the greatest trade value, Bernier is young and has outstanding upside. Look for the Tampa Bay Lightning to lead the charge in pursuit of Bernier.
Last but not least we cannot forget to mention and congratulate Kings Hall of Fame Play By Play Man Bob Miller. Miller has been with the team for 39 years and it’s fantastic to finally see him raise the Cup! I personally have been a hardcore Kings fan my whole life and this is such an amazing time not just for the organization, but the entire fan base as well!