This article will be another in my series of player profiles, where I review the season of every player on the Los Angeles Kings. This piece will focus on Anze Kopitar.
I already did an article on Kopitar maybe a month ago which looked at what we can expect from him going forward, so I’ll try my best to keep this one different. Kopitar was once again the star for the Kings, scoring 21 goals and 62 points in 70 games, a pace of 25 goals and 73 points per 82 games.
He also did this while playing tough minutes, facing a higher quality of competition than anyone on the team, other than Alex Iafallo (according to Hockey Abstract). He also had a lower offensive zone start percentage than any forwards on the team, except for Mike Amadio and Dustin Brown. He played a huge role for the Kings once again, finishing seventh in the league in total ice time amongst forwards and also led Los Angeles in time on ice at even strength, on the power play and on the penalty kill. He was also excellent at the faceoff dot once again, winning over 55 per cent of draws and finishing fourth in the league for most faceoffs won this season.
As I’ve mentioned before, he is averaging less shots these days while sporting a higher shooting percentage, which isn’t a good combination for sustainable production. Factoring in his age along with those stats, Kopitar may start to see his production dip slightly next season.
That said, Kopitar will remain the team’s top forward heading into next season, centering the top line. He’ll play a big role with the team even as prospects start to jump to the NHL over the next few years and will help to shelter them from tougher minutes. Kopitar will be one of the few veterans to make it through the rebuild and help the Kings to regain their status as a contender.
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Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):
Do you think Anze Kopitar will play the rest of his career with the Los Angeles Kings?