Several players on the LA Kings will have a chance to hit some career milestones in the upcoming season.
The goal for the LA Kings in the upcoming 2021-22 season seems clear. After making some big additions to the team through free agency and trade, they’ll be looking to grab a playoff spot in what looks to be a weak Pacific Division and end the franchise’s three-year postseason drought.
As it became clear down the stretch last year that the Kings weren’t going to make the playoffs, though, much of the focused shifted to Anze Kopitar’s chase for 1,000 career points. He just got there, finishing the season with exactly 1,000 points.
The hope for Kings fans for next year is that there will be more than just that sort of race to watch. Still, there are individual milestones that some players on the Kings will no doubt have their eye on reaching this season.
Kopitar’s probably not going to get to 1,100 next year, but there are a couple more milestones that are realistically within reach for him. He has been incredibly durable and can reach 1,200 games played if he plays in at least 71 games next season. He can also get to 700 career assists if he records at least 46 of them and is two power-play goals away from 100.
Like Kopitar, Drew Doughty has been remarkably durable throughout his career. Perhaps even more so. He hasn’t missed a regular season game since the 2013-14 season and has missed a total of just 16 games over his 13-year career.
If not for seasons that were shortened due to a pandemic and a lockout, the 31-year-old would have reached the 1,000 regular season games played milestone already. Instead, he’ll reach it next season when he plays his 25th game. He’ll join his long-time teammates in Kopitar and Dustin Brown in not only reaching the milestone, but playing every single one of those 1,000 games with the Kings.
Brown is entering his 18th season with the Kings. He turns 37 in November and is entering the final year of his contract, so there’s also a chance it could be his final season in LA.
Even if it is, Brown still has a chance to hit a couple more milestones in a Kings sweater. He’s just 16 points away from 700 in his career and just three power-play points away from 200.
Brown is also 68 games played away from 1,300. He’d have to play the entire season with LA to have a chance at reaching that with the Kings, though. Brown seems like a potential midseason trade candidate if things aren’t going well for the team.
If Brown does get to 1,300 games, he’ll become just the sixth American-born player in NHL history to do so.
After being left unprotected in the expansion draft and there being reports of him potentially not being made a qualifying offer by the team, Andreas Athanasiou is returning to the Kings next season after all, and he’ll have a chance to hit a few different milestones for his career.
He’s six goals away from 100, 15 assists away from 100, 21 points away from 200, and 50 games played away from 400.
The Kings didn’t give Phillip Danault the hefty contract that they did because they’re expecting him to come to LA and light up the scoreboard, but the first point he scores next season will be more than just his first in a Kings uniform. It will also be the 200th of his career.
If Alex Edler can stay healthy, he’ll have a chance to become the second Kings defenseman to play his 1,000th game next season. He needs 75 more games played to hit the milestone.
Edler’s also one goal away from the 100th career tally that has been eluding him for quite a while. Edler last scored on a goal on February 25, 2020.
If Viktor Arvidsson can match his career high points — 61 in both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons — in his first season with the Kings, he’ll hit the 300-mark for his career. He’s also 15 games played away from 400.