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The Kings' offseason game plan: The Drew Doughty conundrum takes the main stage

The Kings have an expensive decision to make on franchise defenseman Drew Doughty in the near future. Adam Pantozzi/NHLI via Getty Images

As each NHL team is eliminated from playoff contention -- either mathematically or by losing in the postseason -- we'll take a look at why its quest for the Stanley Cup fell short in 2017-18, along with three keys to its offseason and a way-too-early prediction for what 2018-19 will hold.


What went wrong

A number of things went right for the Los Angeles Kings, actually.

The departure of Darryl Sutter and promotion of John Stevens to head coach allowed some key Kings to locate their long-lost smiles. Anze Kopitar's point total increased by 40. Dustin Brown's increased by 25. Drew Doughty's increased by 28. Jake Muzzin's jumped 14 points in eight fewer games. Jonathan Quick won the Jennings Trophy in leading the Kings to a 2.46 team goals-against average, and he anchored a league-best penalty kill (85.0 percent). All of this was quite good!

Not as good: Losing Jeff Carter for all but 27 games after surgery in October to repair an ankle tendon. That impacted the team's secondary scoring behind the Kopitar line, as the Kings were 16th in goals per game, at 2.89.

The Kings were inconsistent, even in making a return trip to the playoffs as the first wild card after missing out last season. Alas, the Vegas Golden Knights rolled through them in historic playoff victory.