The Los Angeles Kings had high hopes for this season as the team acquired Pierre-Luc Dubois from the Winnipeg Jets and, at the time, was thought of as a trade that would put Los Angeles over the top. Things were going well for the Kings until the Christmas holiday when things seemingly started to fall apart. Los Angeles have struggled since then and now find themselves in a tough situation in the Pacific Division and in the Western Conference.
Kings recent slump puts them in wild card spot
Since December 27, 2023 against the San Jose Sharks, the Kings have a record of 3-7-5. They have been outscored 41-34 and their lone all-star representative, goaltender Cam Talbot, is 0-3-2 in his last five. Speaking of the last five games, Anze Kopitar, Adrian Kempe, and Dubois have accounted for one goal and three assists for four points between them.
The record for Los Angeles on December 27, 2023 was 20-7-4 and are now 22-12-9 and tied for fourth in the Pacific Division with the Edmonton Oilers but are leading the wild card chase. Since the collapse, the Kings are 1-6 during that horrid stretch of the past month.
With the recent losses and somewhat uninspired play, fans across social media have called for Dubois to be traded and Head Coach Todd McLellan to be fired. A Dubois trade is unlikely because he recently signed a new long-term deal and no team in the league will take on that salary based on how he has played. A move to fire McLellan and replace him is much easier because his contract is up after next season based on the one-year deal he had signed earlier this season. Would General Manager Rob Blake make a coaching change mid-season or wait until the off-season to make a change, if he makes a change behind the bench at all.
Hockey teams from all leagues go through good, and bad, streaks throughout the season and hopefully this is just a small skid that can be replaced with a long winning streak. Los Angeles is talented enough to fight through this and get back 0n track. The all-star break is upon us so maybe this will get the Kings refocused, relaxed, and more determined to make a serious push in the second half. The Kings are 15 points out of first place and changes are likely to happen with teams making trades and, unfortunately, injuries happening. A lot can changes over the next few weeks but this second half is going to be critical in how the Kings fare in the playoff chase. If things continue to go south and Los Angeles misses the playoffs, Blake is sure to make some changes this off-season.
(photo: lakingsinsider.com; Zach Dooley) (photo: lakingsinsider.com; Zach Dooley)