It was a renaissance of a season for the Los Angeles Kings in 2021-22. While some of the team’s newer stars did contribute, it was the aging core doing the heavy lifting. The Kings crushed their 85½-point expectations entering the season, having finished with 99. As an encore, the NHL betting odds expect the Kings to return to the playoffs with around 95½ points.
The question on many fans’ minds is whether the performances of the “old guys” was just a fluke. Stalwart goaltender Jonathan Quick is turning 37, star defenseman Drew Doughty will be 33 in December and team captain Anze Kopitar just turned 35.
If Los Angeles’ “not old guys” offer improvement, they would provide the team with more depth on the roster. LA also acquired 30-goal scorer Kevin Fiala to bolster its 20th-ranked offense. Cal Petersen also needs to bounce back in net for the Kings to, at least, maintain their spot.
Los Angeles Kings Odds
- To win Stanley Cup: +3300
- To win Western Conference: +1400
- To win Pacific Division: +400
- To make playoffs: Yes -200/ No +160
Player to Watch
We could go many ways here, Quinton Byfield could have a big sophomore campaign, Fiala could be the scoring superstar the Kings need and Petersen could rebound in a big way that he’ll flirt with being a Vezina Trophy finalist. Instead, we’re going with old, steady Kopitar.
When we talk about ageless wonders, Washington’s Alex Ovechkin is the first to come to mind. However, Kopitar is playing at a level better than players in their 20s. The two-time Frank J. Selke Trophy winner had 67 points (81 games) last season. Now, with Fiala and Adrian Kempe as linemates, expect Kopitar to have his best season offensively since 2017-18 (92 points).
- Player to Watch: C Anze Kopitar
While centerman Byfield is expected to make strides this season, the team’s real sophomore to watch is Arthur Kalivev. The winger exhibited some flashes last season, 14 goals (27 points) despite playing on the third line with just 12:39 of ice time. At some point, expect Kaliyev to move to the top-six, where his production and ice time will increase.
“The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.”
Kaliyev should hit 20+ goals with no issue. He may even hit the 30-goal mark, and finish with 60+ points should he continue to progress. It’s that Increased production which impacts the Kings on the online gambling lines, as he’s one of the team’s x-factors.
- Breakout Watch: RW Arthur Kaliyev
The Kings’ playoff odds won’t only depend on the continued resurgence of its grizzled vets, but also on the improvements of youth. Byfield, Kaliyev and defenseman Sean Durzi need to round out their games, as they’re expected to play big minutes at some point.
Petersen is on the first season of his new pact, and he better recapture the form he showed in his first two seasons. If not, Quick may need to replicate his 2021-22, as the former Conn Smythe winner had his best season since 2017-18. LA will need one of them to star in net.
An extra bit of offense will also go a long way. Los Angeles did play some of the best 5-on-5 hockey, ranking in the top five in percentages in corsi and shots for. But the team finished 25th in 5v5 goals.