Anze Kopitar, LA Kings

Photo credit: Los Angeles Daily News

TSN’s Travis Yost is back with his latest installment of depth rankings. Today, he’s looking at every team’s center depth, where he has the LA Kings in Tier 3 (Solid).

While he doesn’t specifically elaborate on the Kings’ center depth, here’s his analysis of the teams placed in this tier.

As usual, the mid-tier is generally comprised of lineups that are more top-heavy than their elite counterparts, or deeper lineups that don’t have the star power at the top.

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Credit: TSN/Yost

Since the Kings began their rebuild, they really focused on building a solid foundation down the middle, almost to a fault. While Anze Kopitar has been a staple atop the lineup, Los Angeles has loaded up behind him via the draft, trades, undrafted free agent signings, and free agent signings.

Guys like Quinton Byfield, Phillip Danault, and Blake Lizotte immediately come to mind on the NHL roster. However, others soon to be — or already are — in the mix include Gabe Vilardi, Alex Turcotte, Rasmus Kupari, Samuel Helenius, Francesco Pinelli, Jack Hughes, and Tyler Madden.

Of course, not all of these players will be centers in the NHL, whether it be with the Kings or any other team. Some will be forced to transition to the wing, which Vilardi began doing last year, as well as Rasmus Kupari at the NHL level.

With Kopitar under contract and turning 35 at the end of the month, the Kings will need some of the younger guys down the middle to make more of an impact.

This year or next, I’d expect Danault to take over No. 1 center duties and Byfield to be more productive. Behind them, Lizotte is that gritty fourth-line center, who established his spot on the roster next year but look for some of the other names mentioned to make a strong push in 2022-23.

Looking around the Pacific Division, the Kings are joined by other teams stacked down the middle, with Anaheim, Calgary, Vancouver, and Vegas landing in Tier 3 as well. Yost has San Jose in Tier 2 (Outperform) and Edmonton in Tier 1 (Elite).

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