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Forums :: Blog World :: Bobby Kittleberger: LA still Matches Up Well Against Vegas Even After the Pacioretty Trade
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Bobby Kittleberger
Los Angeles Kings
Location: Staunton, VA
Joined: 07.06.2018

Sep 11 @ 2:43 PM ET
Bobby Kittleberger: LA still Matches Up Well Against Vegas Even After the Pacioretty Trade Even after the Las Vegas Golden Knights added Max Pacioretty to their roster, the LA Kings are still built to match up really well against them.
jmatchett383
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: Mantua, NJ
Joined: 03.09.2010

Sep 11 @ 2:53 PM ET
No knock to Kopitar, who is a great player, but he eclipsed his previous 5 seasons point total by 18 points at the age of 31 and their second leading scorer, Dustin Brown, had a 25-point improvement at the age of 33.

I'm not saying players can't perform well past the age of 30, but I wouldn't expect these two to produce the same numbers next year. So if you're gonna knock guys like Smith and Tuch, I think it would be fair to do the same to Kopitar (who should still put up 75-80 points) and Brown. Also, you could say the same about William Karlsson.
kingsfan626
Los Angeles Kings
Location: Upland, CA
Joined: 12.12.2013

Sep 11 @ 4:29 PM ET
No knock to Kopitar, who is a great player, but he eclipsed his previous 5 seasons point total by 18 points at the age of 31 and their second leading scorer, Dustin Brown, had a 25-point improvement at the age of 33.

I'm not saying players can't perform well past the age of 30, but I wouldn't expect these two to produce the same numbers next year. So if you're gonna knock guys like Smith and Tuch, I think it would be fair to do the same to Kopitar (who should still put up 75-80 points) and Brown. Also, you could say the same about William Karlsson.

- jmatchett383


You're right. If you go on the NHL website and compare 2004, 2003 and 2002 you see a major drop off in points production. I can't find a way to sort by age so Draft year is the closest I can get to the same age range.

2004 Top 5 In Points - 98, 91, 87, 72, 44
2003 Top 5 In Points - 76, 67, 66, 63, 61 (Brown)
2002 Top 5 In Points - 46, 34, 33, 33, 32
Lato649
Montreal Canadiens
Location: Oshawa, ON
Joined: 02.06.2012

Sep 11 @ 5:26 PM ET
The fact that you think Vegas won that trade calls your entire article into question...
tkecanuck341
Los Angeles Kings
Location: Irvine, CA
Joined: 06.25.2009

Sep 11 @ 7:16 PM ET
No knock to Kopitar, who is a great player, but he eclipsed his previous 5 seasons point total by 18 points at the age of 31 and their second leading scorer, Dustin Brown, had a 25-point improvement at the age of 33.

I'm not saying players can't perform well past the age of 30, but I wouldn't expect these two to produce the same numbers next year. So if you're gonna knock guys like Smith and Tuch, I think it would be fair to do the same to Kopitar (who should still put up 75-80 points) and Brown. Also, you could say the same about William Karlsson.

- jmatchett383


Kopitar isn't a great player because of how many points he scores. He'd still be better than Karlsson if he only put up 60 points each season. It's the fact that Kopitar is also the Kings' (and possibly the league's) best shutdown center, and he puts up the points that he does while playing against the opposition's top lines and preventing their best players from scoring points of their own.

Carter is also an exceptional two-way center, while Kempe and Thompson are very good defensive centers. Their defensive strength down the center is the primary reason why the Kings can lead the league in team defense every year while having a fairly shallow defensive corps and middling numbers from their starting goaltender.
jmatchett383
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: Mantua, NJ
Joined: 03.09.2010

Sep 11 @ 7:27 PM ET
Kopitar isn't a great player because of how many points he scores. He'd still be better than Karlsson if he only put up 60 points each season. It's the fact that Kopitar is also the Kings' (and possibly the league's) best shutdown center, and he puts up the points that he does while playing against the opposition's top lines and preventing their best players from scoring points of their own.

Carter is also an exceptional two-way center, while Kempe and Thompson are very good defensive centers. Their defensive strength down the center is the primary reason why the Kings can lead the league in team defense every year while having a fairly shallow defensive corps and middling numbers from their starting goaltender.

- tkecanuck341


I'm not disagreeing, why is why I said, it wasn't a knock on him and that he's a great player. I simply am saying that, if you're gonna use the fact that some VGK are due for points regression, you can't ignore the fact that a few of the Kings' top players are likely in for the same. Disagree?
Ven0m
Calgary Flames
Location: Calgary, AB
Joined: 06.15.2017

Sep 11 @ 7:34 PM ET
The fact that you think Vegas won that trade calls your entire article into question...
- Lato649


I agree 100% lol
Osprey
Joined: 11.10.2015

Sep 11 @ 8:05 PM ET
People thought that LA would match up well with Vegas last season and Vegas won the division handily while LA was a wildcard team. They also thought that they'd match up well in the 1st round and Vegas swept them and ended up winning 13 more playoff games than they did. I don't think that it's wise to say that they match up well this time.

LA's better center depth and better defense didn't help them much when the two teams matched up in the 1st round. Those were the last 4 games that LA played and they haven't really done anything since then but add a player who might be good (but might also get canceled out by guys like Kopitar and Brown slipping back to their regular production). That's not to say that things can't be different, but it's just guesswork at this point and I wouldn't bet on LA and bet against Vegas after last year just yet. Vegas earned the benefit of the doubt, IMO.
tkecanuck341
Los Angeles Kings
Location: Irvine, CA
Joined: 06.25.2009

Sep 11 @ 8:20 PM ET
I'm not disagreeing, why is why I said, it wasn't a knock on him and that he's a great player. I simply am saying that, if you're gonna use the fact that some VGK are due for points regression, you can't ignore the fact that a few of the Kings' top players are likely in for the same. Disagree?
- jmatchett383


No, I agree completely. In fact, if you look at Bobby's prior blogs, he actually has most of the Kings players due for regression (Kopitar & Brown specifically). Kovalchuk picks up some of the slack, but overall, he had 1st line production down pretty significantly from last season.

However, since the Kings generally win games largely due to their defense, while Vegas has won games largely due to their offense, a point regression from their star players would likely affect the Knights more than it would the Kings.
Hardbalz
Joined: 06.08.2011

Sep 11 @ 10:16 PM ET
It's clear they won the trade?? Mtl gets a guy who is 27, avg 24 goals per last four seasons, plus an OHL 2x 100 point man 1st round pick, as well as a 2019 second rounder for a guy that was gone at seasons end for zip. I don't think it's clear at all. This may be Montreal's best deal in years
Bobby Kittleberger
Los Angeles Kings
Location: Staunton, VA
Joined: 07.06.2018

Sep 11 @ 10:18 PM ET
The fact that you think Vegas won that trade calls your entire article into question...
- Lato649


Short term, Vegas won.

Pacioretty > Tatar

Vegas got better up front but hurt their depth. They're still better off after the trade than Montreal.

Most teams are better off than Montreal.
Bobby Kittleberger
Los Angeles Kings
Location: Staunton, VA
Joined: 07.06.2018

Sep 11 @ 10:22 PM ET
It's clear they won the trade?? Mtl gets a guy who is 27, avg 24 goals per last four seasons, plus an OHL 2x 100 point man 1st round pick, as well as a 2019 second rounder for a guy that was gone at seasons end for zip. I don't think it's clear at all. This may be Montreal's best deal in years
- Hardbalz


I'll reiterate, Pacioretty is the best player (so far) involved in that trade. Yes, Montreal was going to lose him for nothing, so their "haul" was good.

However, in the short term - the here and now - Vegas's roster improved.

There's no way to dress up the fact that Montreal has dumped Subban, Galchenyuk and Pacioretty. You've got to do some serious over-analyzing to say that talent leaving without recouping equal or better talent "wins" you a trade, at least not in the short term.

"Hey, c'mon. Worse is better." - Montreal Fans
SimpleJack
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Chicago , IL
Joined: 05.23.2013

Sep 12 @ 1:02 AM ET
Wasn't there just an article about how weak the Kings 3rd line was? Who's on their 4th line? Kyle Clifford? Some other scrubs i can't even think of...

Yet the Knights, who were able to roll 4 solid lines last season and brought back almost all of those players, are the team that is "top heavy" ???



And don't even get me started on the drastic gap in speed/skating ability between the 2 teams. The Knights will skate circles around the Kings.
SolGoode
Calgary Flames
Location: Calgary, AB
Joined: 09.04.2013

Sep 12 @ 3:40 AM ET
LA was too slow for Vegas in the playoffs. LA couldn't slow them down, what makes you think they can this year?
Bobby Kittleberger
Los Angeles Kings
Location: Staunton, VA
Joined: 07.06.2018

Sep 12 @ 7:36 AM ET
Wasn't there just an article about how weak the Kings 3rd line was? Who's on their 4th line? Kyle Clifford? Some other scrubs i can't even think of...

Yet the Knights, who were able to roll 4 solid lines last season and brought back almost all of those players, are the team that is "top heavy" ???



And don't even get me started on the drastic gap in speed/skating ability between the 2 teams. The Knights will skate circles around the Kings.

- SimpleJack


LA's third line is a potential weak spot, an area where they could be exploited (mainly on the wing).

But Vegas didn't roll solid lines, nor did they bring back all those players. They are a top heavy team because they don't have as much skill to disperse. I'm not saying their run was a fluke, but it's going to be hard to sustain that without a better defense and group of centers.

I'm not saying the Kings will own them, but as I've been saying, LA has better roster construction. I would be comfortable betting on them to finish ahead of Vegas this year.
jmatchett383
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: Mantua, NJ
Joined: 03.09.2010

Sep 12 @ 8:43 AM ET
No, I agree completely. In fact, if you look at Bobby's prior blogs, he actually has most of the Kings players due for regression (Kopitar & Brown specifically). Kovalchuk picks up some of the slack, but overall, he had 1st line production down pretty significantly from last season.

However, since the Kings generally win games largely due to their defense, while Vegas has won games largely due to their offense, a point regression from their star players would likely affect the Knights more than it would the Kings.

- tkecanuck341


That's a totally legit point. Also, Carter was out most of last season, so a healthy Carter would also help.

I just thought it was a bit biased (I mean, it is a Kings blog) to point out several Vegas players due for regression without saying the same about LA.
Bobby Kittleberger
Los Angeles Kings
Location: Staunton, VA
Joined: 07.06.2018

Sep 12 @ 9:23 AM ET
That's a totally legit point. Also, Carter was out most of last season, so a healthy Carter would also help.

I just thought it was a bit biased (I mean, it is a Kings blog) to point out several Vegas players due for regression without saying the same about LA.

- jmatchett383


I've pointed out Kings point regressions in past articles.

Also, I'm not a Kings fan.
WJDiedrich
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Chicago, IL
Joined: 04.03.2013

Sep 12 @ 1:56 PM ET
"Still?" Like how le Qings matched up well when they got swept?
KINGS67
Season Ticket Holder
Los Angeles Kings
Location: Rolling Hills Estates, CA
Joined: 01.29.2010

Sep 12 @ 1:58 PM ET
People thought that LA would match up well with Vegas last season and Vegas won the division handily while LA was a wildcard team. They also thought that they'd match up well in the 1st round and Vegas swept them and ended up winning 13 more playoff games than they did. I don't think that it's wise to say that they match up well this time.

LA's better center depth and better defense didn't help them much when the two teams matched up in the 1st round. Those were the last 4 games that LA played and they haven't really done anything since then but add a player who might be good (but might also get canceled out by guys like Kopitar and Brown slipping back to their regular production). That's not to say that things can't be different, but it's just guesswork at this point and I wouldn't bet on LA and bet against Vegas after last year just yet. Vegas earned the benefit of the doubt, IMO.

- Osprey

Carter was out most of the year. Also the Kings defense was decimated in the playoffs.
If the kings iced a healthy team I’d think they beat VGK in the playoffs. It was the closest series in regards to goals scored. In fact it was the lowest goal total in NHL history I believe.
I think they also match up better to start this year, and I doubt fluery has the year he did last year as well.
apex123
Montreal Canadiens
Joined: 06.23.2016

Sep 12 @ 3:55 PM ET
I'll reiterate, Pacioretty is the best player (so far) involved in that trade. Yes, Montreal was going to lose him for nothing, so their "haul" was good.

However, in the short term - the here and now - Vegas's roster improved.

There's no way to dress up the fact that Montreal has dumped Subban, Galchenyuk and Pacioretty. You've got to do some serious over-analyzing to say that talent leaving without recouping equal or better talent "wins" you a trade, at least not in the short term.

"Hey, c'mon. Worse is better." - Montreal Fans

- BobbyKittleberger

What relevance do those trades have to the Pacioretty trade? The point being made is that Montreal won the trade overall ie the long term. This "over-analyzing" philosophy is stupid because I could say trading 4 1rsts to recoup a 3rd liner is a win because you've gained more immediate talent. No one is arguing Pacioretty will have more impact than Tatar this year.

Please show me where you got this "quote" from montreal fans. Bad post.
Osprey
Joined: 11.10.2015

Sep 12 @ 9:05 PM ET
Carter was out most of the year. Also the Kings defense was decimated in the playoffs.
If the kings iced a healthy team I’d think they beat VGK in the playoffs. It was the closest series in regards to goals scored. In fact it was the lowest goal total in NHL history I believe.
I think they also match up better to start this year, and I doubt fluery has the year he did last year as well.

- KINGS67

Carter was back well in time for the playoffs and to shake off any rust--he returned Feb 24th, played the final 21 games and put up 19 points, which is better production than they usually get from him--and made no difference in the 1st round. Besides, Vegas lost good players to injury in the regular season, as well.

Having a healthier blue line in the playoffs wouldn't have made any difference. The only difference maker back there is Doughty and he was perfectly healthy. He missed a game because of his stupidity, not because of health. Besides, the replacements that came in really stepped up and did a fantastic job. Losing that series had nothing to do with injury and everything to do with Vegas just being a faster, more opportunistic team.
tkecanuck341
Los Angeles Kings
Location: Irvine, CA
Joined: 06.25.2009

Sep 13 @ 10:39 PM ET
LA was too slow for Vegas in the playoffs. LA couldn't slow them down, what makes you think they can this year?
- SolGoode


The Kings didn't lose to Vegas because of speed. They lost the physicality battle in the series, and they didn't have an answer for the physical play of players like McNabb, Tuch, Miller, Schmidt, etc. The Kings won the series against Anaheim in 2014 the exact same way Vegas beat the Kings...by being bigger, stronger, and more phsyical.

The problem is now that the Kings have started to trade in their physicality for speed. They're dumping their identity in order to compete into the "new NHL", but unless they go all in on getting faster, they're not going to be especially competitive with the core they have. Kopitar, Brown, and Toffoli aren't exactly fast players, so trying to outskate the opposition will end badly for them. At the same time, they're not able to outsize/outmuscle/outcheck their opponents anymore. Going half-ass on an identity isn't going to work.
Osprey
Joined: 11.10.2015

Sep 14 @ 10:25 AM ET
The Kings didn't lose to Vegas because of speed. They lost the physicality battle in the series, and they didn't have an answer for the physical play of players like McNabb, Tuch, Miller, Schmidt, etc. The Kings won the series against Anaheim in 2014 the exact same way Vegas beat the Kings...by being bigger, stronger, and more phsyical.
- tkecanuck341

It might still be argued that they lost the physicality battle because they were just a little too slow to avoid being hit and that being hit zapped them of the energy to play at their top speed. I would agree that Vegas wasn't faster player to player, but, as a team, they had a bit more energy so that, when LA made a mistake, they could jump on it faster. It's like in a sports game where two players have the same top speed rating (so neither is faster from rest), but one has slightly better recovery, so he can play at a slightly higher overall pace. It was really the opportunism and having enough of an edge in energy to capitalize on a few more mistakes than the other way around that was the difference in that series, IMO. We can argue about whether Vegas won because of speed or physicality, but there could be truth in both because they might be linked in this case.
tkecanuck341
Los Angeles Kings
Location: Irvine, CA
Joined: 06.25.2009

Sep 14 @ 2:48 PM ET
It might still be argued that they lost the physicality battle because they were just a little too slow to avoid being hit and that being hit zapped them of the energy to play at their top speed. I would agree that Vegas wasn't faster player to player, but, as a team, they had a bit more energy so that, when LA made a mistake, they could jump on it faster. It's like in a sports game where two players have the same top speed rating (so neither is faster from rest), but one has slightly better recovery, so he can play at a slightly higher overall pace. It was really the opportunism and having enough of an edge in energy to capitalize on a few more mistakes than the other way around that was the difference in that series, IMO. We can argue about whether Vegas won because of speed or physicality, but there could be truth in both because they might be linked in this case.
- Osprey


I would tend to agree that if the Kings were faster, they could have gotten around the fact that Vegas was more physical, as is the case with most small & speedy teams. I am simply taking issue with the implication that the Kings were outskated by Vegas, because that's just not true.

The Kings used to be the team that did the hitting, and it helped wear down their opponents (hence my Anaheim analogy) later in games & series. Since they started downsizing and going for speed, the tables have turned on them, and it has not been for the better.
Osprey
Joined: 11.10.2015

Sep 15 @ 12:03 AM ET
The Kings used to be the team that did the hitting, and it helped wear down their opponents (hence my Anaheim analogy) later in games & series. Since they started downsizing and going for speed, the tables have turned on them, and it has not been for the better.
- tkecanuck341

It's hard to argue with that. They used to force Game 7s and win them. Now, they lose in 4 or 5 games.
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