The LA Kings have added the right pieces for a playoff push, and for the youngsters, the postseason is essential for their development.
So far, the front office has done its job to meet the challenge in terms of additions to the roster. Perennial Selke candidate from Montreal, Phillip Danault, is the star attraction of offseason additions for the Kings, including former Nashville Predators scoring winger Viktor Arvidsson and veteran defenseman from Vancouver, Alexander Edler.
With the Kings in the Pacific Division, which looks like it will be the weakest division in the NHL this year, the playoffs may well be within reach. This potential opportunity to make some noise in the league will represent a necessary test for the younger players.
In a recent interview, Luc Robitaille described the importance of playoff experience for the development of young players:
“The only way you really learn to play in the Stanley Cup playoffs is you got to play in the playoffs, so that’s our goal…your young players will learn really what it takes to sacrifice to go further in the future.”
This analysis by the Kings’ President is simple and yet significant. The team’s prospects obviously have the talent; now they just need the experience. The Kings have missed the playoffs the last three years, but they have built the best prospect pool in the league during that time. Now, they have to meet the next challenge in their development and understand what it takes to win when it matters.
Playing in the NHL and facing the best players in the world day-in and day-out is obviously an important step in a player’s growth, but when playoff time rolls around, the intensity and pressure reach a whole new level. The challenge now is for the Kings to play each game with an ultimate eye on the playoffs, and for the first time in a long time, they actually have a legitimate shot at securing a spot.
Along with the offseason acquisitions, young talent like Quinton Byfield, Alex Turcotte, and Arthur Kaliyev could be the last pieces of the puzzle that the Kings need to finally spark them back to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
This season can show the Kings’ potential for future dominance in the league, but it all starts with eyes on a playoff berth fulfilling the mandate of their franchise.