The Los Angeles Kings knew after last seasons playoff exit to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights that the following season would include changes, both in roster and mentality. This off season all but proves this theory true. Every team in the Western Conference except for San Jose, who re-signed free agents, has made their team better by signing or trading for key pieces. Some of them are top six forward or top four defensemen, and some are depth moves. The following list consists of each team (except San Jose) and their big free agency acquisitions :
Anaheim (Luke Schenn), Arizona (Michael Grabner), Calgary (Noah Hanifan and James Neal), Chicago (Cam Ward and Chris Kunitz), Colorado (Philipp Grubauer), Dallas (Anton Khudobin), Edmonton (Tobias Reider), Minnesota (Matt Read), Nashville (Dan Hamhuis), St. Louis (Ryan O’Reilly), Vncouver (Antoine Roussel), Vegas (Paul Stastny), Winnipeg (Laurent Brossoit). The Kings signed Ilya Kovalchuk and re-signed Drew Doughty this off season.
With Nashville winning the Presidents Trophy and Vegas winning the Pacific Division they put themselves at the top of the conference. The Kings finished seventh last year, and will most likely need at least 100 points to even compete for the division title. The Kings had a very solid year and, in another division may have won a division title. Last year goes to prove that more than half the teams in either conference has a playoff chance. The Kings are right there with Vegas and Nashville in terms of competing for a division title, or even better, the Presidents Trophy. Signing Kovalchuk may prove to be the difference. Can Vegas repeat as Pacific Division winners? Can Nashville win the Presidents Trophy again? Will the Kings go deep in the playoffs? It is almost time for the 2018-19 season to begin and the expectations for the Kings are high.