The Los Angeles Kings have been getting stronger over the past three seasons at the most crucial forward position: center.

LA first drafted Anze Kopitar; then Blake Lizotte came aboard. Philip Danault was signed away from the Montreal Canadiens, and now Pierre-Luc Dubois came to Los Angeles in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets.


Are the Kings the best team when it comes to center depth?

Arguably, yes.


Photo: Zach Dooley/LA Kings Insider

All four bring offense and defense. All four contribute in more ways than one, and all four have the ability to take over a game. In Kopitar, you have leadership, offense, defense, and loyalty. In Dubois, you have your offense and a bit of a physical game with some defense. In Danault, you have a defense first, yet still able to produce offensively and a stud on the penalty kill. You have a bit of everything in Lizotte as he can contribute some offensively, plays a solid defensive game, has a bit of an edge, and can control the penalty kill. No other team in the NHL can say every one of their centers can contribute this much on any given night.

Quinton Byfield, originally a center, has played wing on Kopitar’s line but is comfortable taking a draw or two again. He played left wing for most of the second half of the 2022/2023 season but can play center again if needed.

Kopitar, Danault, Dubois, and Lizotte combined for a +28 rating last season, with Kopitar tops at +20. Every one of these centers also has size, speed, and grit to add to their defensive responsibilities. Yes, there is Connor McDavid, Patrice Bergeron, Steven Stamkos, and other elite centers out there.

However, how many of those teams currently have four centers in the lineup that the Kings do?

Center depth can carry an NHL team far into the playoffs, which may be the case this year. Kopitar no longer has all of the defensive responsibilities he had with Danault and Lizotte. Kopitar does not have to worry about being the primary force on offense, and he now has Dubois.


This center position on the Los Angeles Kings got stronger and more dangerous this off-season and a rotation that the NHL should be taking notice of.

Photo: Zach Dooley/LA Kings Insider

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