A daunting December schedule will make or break these LA Kings
The LA Kings December schedule will feature just three games (two teams) with a winning percentage under .500.
Officially at the quarter-way mark of the 2021-22 season, the LA Kings carry a “just ok” record of 9-8-3 and sit in sixth place in the Pacific Division. The general theme thus far has been – and has been the last few seasons – the lack of production offensively. Los Angeles has already played in the most one-goal games and scored two or fewer goals in 11 of their 20 games.
Todd McLellan’s group has been hit hard with the injury bug early on, losing two defensemen in a matter of three days in Drew Doughty and Sean Walker. The former has been skating with the team mostly as an extra D man, but he was elevated to his normal top pairing position with Mikey Anderson on Sunday. That’s good news for the Kings as Doughty, and the recently-called-up Sean Durzi are the only blueliners with goals this year.
It would appear that Quinton Byfield is not far behind Doughty, as he was spotted in a red non-contact jersey at Kings’ practice over the weekend. The former second overall pick is probably a safe bet to begin his season with the Ontario Reign. However, when ready, Byfield has a chance to establish his position down the middle at the NHL level.
I spy with my little eye something 55 pic.twitter.com/KRPypgvpqw
— ALL THE KINGS MEN (@KingsMenPodcast) November 28, 2021
Byfield or not, the Kings will need to figure out some things offensively as their December schedule looks downright terrifying. They will play in only three games (two teams) against teams with a sub-.500 winning percentage entering the month.
- December 2 – Calgary
- December 5 – @ Edmonton
- December 6 – @ Vancouver
- December 9 – Dallas
- December 11 – Minnesota
- December 14 – @ Tampa Bay
- December 16 – @ Florida
- December 18 – @ Carolina
- December 19 – @ Washington
- December 22 – Edmonton
- December 23 – @ Vegas
- December 27 – @ Arizona
- December 28 – Vegas
- December 30 – Vancouver
Vancouver and Arizona could be the only games that LA is favored in ahead of the matchup. That said, facing Vancouver on the second leg of a back-to-back with Edmonton will be no small task. Mid-month, the Kings will visit the east coast with trips to Florida against the reigning Stanley Cup Champions in the Tampa Bay Lightning and also Cup contenders in the Florida Panthers. The latter has just one loss on their home ice this season.
They will also get a rematch with both Carolina and Washington.
With a March 21 trade deadline in the not-so-distant future after the turn of the calendar, a poor month of December could ultimately force Los Angeles into selling off a couple of expiring contracts and play for another lottery pick. But even just hanging around .500 can be a good confidence booster for these young Kings.