LA is an elite team. If you look at their lineup, it's actually quite scary. And I'm not just saying this after they won a cup, I posted a topic before the playoffs began about how I thought the kings were going to be an absolute nightmare to defeat. Just think about this, they almost took us to game 7 a year before last (the year we went to the finals and were the favorites to win it all) without Kopitar, Carter, and Richards. Doughty is one of the best D-man in the league, they have one of the most dominant centers in the league in Kopitar, and their goalie just won the vezina and Conn Smythe; and then take into consideration these three guys at 23, 24, and 26 respectively are still getting better. Add onto that a supporting cast of olympians such as Brown, Richards, Carter; and also remember, they are going to get significant pieces back when they trade Bernier. Honestly, given their cap makeup, depth, youth, elite level skill, and prospect pool, LA is going to become a dynasty if they play their cards right. When's the last time a team ran through the playoffs in 20 games (average of 5 games per series)?
If we want to compete, our second line is going to require players better than the likes of Mason Raymond or Chris Higgins.
The only trading pieces of value we have right now are Luongo, Raymond (somewhat), and our first rounder. Guys like Jensen, Connauton, and Lack are worth far more than their current market value. So it's Gillis' job to acquire a legitimate top 6 guy before the deadline. He failed to do this last year at the deadline, and we paid for it in the first round. He has the assets needed to make a big move, he promised this when he took the job of GM, there won't be any excuses this time around.
LA is a strong puck possession team (the best in the league last yr, I believe), I def would not describe them as elite. I think their team, particularity their d-core and goalie, benefit from playing a defense first game (just like STL). They also benefit from playing a system that I don't think any coach has figured out how to break yet (at least according to Bowman).
Doughtys underlying numbers were very similar to Bieksa this yr (Bieksas slightly better), Doughty benefited from double the PP TOI as Juice. I wouldn't describe him as one of the best d-men in the league. IMO the best d-men in the league are guys who play the toughest mins (above 1.0 and o-zones below 50%), and have a strong corsi and GA/60. Doughty doesn't fit that category.
Kopitars good cause he plays tough mins effectively, though his defense abilities are questionable. He's certainly not Kesler in that dept. Their top 6 guys play the toughest mins, and leave the weak ones for their bottom 6. Pretty much the opposite of Canucks which is why I reflected on in my earlier post w/ regards to Sedins.
I think they'll be battling for a playoff spot again this yr. LA is good, but had a lot of luck this yr in their playoff run IMO. Officiating was their biggest piece of luck. The difference between Nucks and LAs cap $$ availability is goalies $$. Their cap will look a lot different once Quick $5.8M cap hit kicks in next yr, they'll have cap issues unless they let key guys walk. It's likely why they've left lots of cap room this yr - they have to.
I agree, I think Nucks could use an upgrade in the top 6. Preferably one that comes free..... Doan... anyone?