This season has presented a pretty rough stretch for the Los Angeles Kings, leaving the fans of the team justifiably upset and disappointed.
The Los Angeles Kings have won just three games since the calendar moved to 2020 ushering in a new decade. You could forgive Kings fans for feeling all is hopeless, in just a few short years the Kings have gone from two times Stanley Cup champions to the worst team in hockey.
The Kings are likely to miss the playoffs for the third time in four years as they continue to try a rebuild. Fan favorite and team “glue” guy Kyle Clifford was just traded last week to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The trade seemed to erode any goodwill fans have with the current front-office based on social media chatter.
It is likely that more trades can be made by the end of the trade deadline this coming Monday, February 24th. The likeliest candidates are forward Tyler Toffoli and defensemen Alex Martinez, both extremely popular and both important parts of their last Stanley Cup win. If one or both goes then expect more pitchforks and torches from Kings fans losing faith in the team.
There is a glimmer of hope though and that is in the future; Kings fans may not have the patience for it but not all is lost.
The Athletic declared that Kings to have the best prospect pool in the NHL. The Kings ranking is a testament to General Manager Rob Blake and the depth he has added to the Kings’ farm system.
In 2016 the Kings were ranked 29th, that Blake and his brain trust have secured the Kings’ future is nothing short of a miracle.
The three of the four top prospects in the article by The Athletic were drafted in the most recent 2019 NHL Draft and several of the prospects are already plying their trade for the Ontario Reign in the AHL one step away from joining the big club.
Blake has been able to find talent but also supply the pool with depth, while there are some growing pains as the Kings youth movement continues Blake has the option of bringing in more depth through trades and will have another lottery pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.
If Kings fans are still skeptical it should be noted when the Kings finally broke through and won their first Stanley Cup 11 of the 24 players who’s names were engraved on the cup were homegrown players and in 2014 for the second cup that number rose to 14 out of 23 players.
So have faith Kings fans, in a few years if the Los Angeles Kings will be cup contenders again and it will be because Blake, like his predecessor Dean Lombardi, built them that way.