NHL Pacific Division Reset: Los Angeles Kings

Kings add Fiala to boost experienced core, spark power play

Forward had NHL career highs in goals, assists, points with Wild last season

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

2021-22 season: 44-27-11, third in Pacific Division; lost first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs

Key arrival

Kevin Fiala, F: The 26-year-old signed a seven-year contract June 30, one day after he was acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Wild for defenseman prospect Brock Faber and the No. 19 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. Fiala committed to the Kings in lieu of becoming a restricted free agent. He had NHL career highs in goals (33), assists (52) and points (85) in 82 games last season and three assists in six Stanley Cup Playoff games. Fiala (17 power-play points; five goals, 12 assists last season) should boost a Los Angeles power play that was 27th in the NHL (16.1 percent) and 20th (2.87 goals per game) last season.

Key departures

Dustin Brown, F: The 37-year-old retired from the NHL after 18 seasons, all with the Kings. Brown had 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists) in 64 games last season and helped Los Angeles win two Stanley Cup championships (2012, 2014). He had 712 points (325 goals, 387 assists) and played 1,296 regular-season games, first in Kings history. … Andreas Athanasiou, F: Agreed to a one-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks on July 13. He had 17 points (11 goals, six assists) in 28 games last season and one goal in six playoff games. … Olli Maatta, D: Signed a one-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings on July 14. He had eight points (one goal, seven assists) in 66 regular-season games last season and none in seven playoff games.

On the cusp

Alex Turcotte, F: The 21-year-old did not participate in on-ice activities at development camp after two concussions last season, the second sustained in Game 1 of the second round in the Calder Cup Playoffs. The No. 5 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft made his NHL debut Dec. 28, 2021. He had no points in eight games after scoring 18 (six goals, 12 assists) in 27 games of his second professional season for Ontario in the American Hockey League. … Brandt Clarke, D: The No. 8 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft doesn’t turn 20 until Feb. 9 and is not yet eligible for the AHL, so he’ll either start this season with the Kings or return to Barrie of the Ontario Hockey League. Clarke was one of three OHL defensemen to average more than one point per game (59 points; 11 goals, 48 assists in 55 games).… Akil Thomas, F: The 22-year-old has 39 points (19 goals, 20 assists) in 80 AHL games. Thomas had 13 points (eight goals, five assists) in 40 games last season after not playing until December because of offseason surgery to both of his shoulders and scoring three points in his first 28 games. … Jordan Spence, F: The 21-year-old had 42 points (four goals, 38 assists) in 46 AHL games before he was called up by the Kings on March 9 and made his NHL debut the next night. Spence had eight points (two goals, six assists) in 24 NHL games and played three postseason games.

What they still need

To figure out how to move forward from a first-round exit despite holding a 3-2 series lead and playing Game 6 on home ice. The toughness and size at defenseman that Drew Doughty said they needed after the playoffs.

They said it

“It’s just a great opportunity and a great organization. I see the team kind of coming up, you know? Made the playoffs last year, great group of guys I’ve heard, and on the ice, they’re just getting better and better. The future’s bright, I felt like, so I’m very happy with this.” — forward Kevin Fiala

Fantasy focus

Fiala ranked eighth in the NHL in 5-on-5 points per 60 minutes (3.10; minimum 60 games) last season. He goes from playing on the Wild’s second line with center Frederick Gaudreau and rookie wing Matt Boldy to a likely spot on the Kings’ top line with center Anze Kopitar (led them with 67 points last season) and wing Adrian Kempe (led them with 35 goals). Fiala should be considered a top 75 overall fantasy player with an even higher ceiling in an elevated role. — Anna Dua

Projected lineup

Adrian Kempe — Anze Kopitar — Kevin Fiala

Trevor Moore — Phillip Danault — Viktor Arvidsson

Alex Iafallo — Blake Lizotte — Arthur Kaliyev

Gabriel Vilardi — Quinton Byfield — Rasmus Kupari

Mikey Anderson — Drew Doughty

Tobias Bjornfot — Matt Roy

Alexander Edler — Sean Durzi

Jonathan Quick

Cal Petersen

Source: nhl.com

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