TSN’s Travis Yost started a series breaking down every team’s strengths by position. He began with depth at the left wing, creating five tiers for team depth.
Somewhat of a surprise here, the Kings land in his Tier 5 (In Trouble) ranking. Los Angeles is joined by the Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, and San Jose Sharks.
Here’s his analysis for the depth chart and a brief snippet on the Kings:
With how much talent exists league-wide at the position, these depth charts are relatively very weak on offensive firepower, and there are a bunch of penalty magnets within the bottom-six that force their teams into penalty killing situations more than their head coach would like. The saving grace for a team like the Kings is they have plenty of strength around the rest of their lineup, which offsets an obvious positional weakness.
These rankings seem a bit misplaced if I’m being honest.
The trio of Kempe, Moore, and Iafallo combined to score 69 goals last, including 35 goals from the former. Moore and Iafallo both reached career-high or tied a previous career-high (17) in Iafallo’s case, but I certainly understand the concern about Carl Grundstrom over a full season.
He (Grundstrom) played really well in the seven-game series against Edmonton and was elevated to second-line minutes in place of the injured Viktor Arvidsson. He finished with three goals and four points in six games and appears to be poised for an expanded role in 2022-23.
Grundstrom projects to be a fourth-liner for the Kings this year, likely playing alongside Blake Lizotte and Brendan Lemieux, a line that generated a 50.0 xGF% in under 18 minutes of total TOI last year (Moneypuck). A small sample size, for sure, but certainly something to look forward to this year.
If you look at Yost’s Tier 4 Rankings, the Kings’ left-wingers had more goals (78) than all five of the Ducks (40), Coyotes (65), Sabres (61), Canadiens (58), and Penguins (63) left-wing depth.
Yost indicates the Kings’ left-wingers are still “emerging,” but given the four projected starters scored more than any other team in Tier 4, Los Angeles should probably be higher in these rankings.