When the NHL started playing regular-season games overseas, a segment of league pundits, players, etc., viewed the trip as something of a “season-killer,’’ a travel and jet-lag burden that would require weeks of recovery. That notion has pretty much been tossed out over the past three seasons, given that the Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins have won the last three Stanley Cups after starting their respective seasons in Europe.

Did the “season-killer’’ tag ever hold water, though? Teams have been playing overseas exhibition games (in September and October) since 1980, when the Washington Capitals and Minnesota North Stars played a round-robin tournament in Sweden. The first regular-season games took place in 1997, when the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and Vancouver Canucks played in Japan.

From 1997-2010, 19 teams played regular-season games overseas (the Ducks, Sharks and Penguins went twice). So among those 22 teams, only 9 times did a team improve its point total from the previous season. Thirteen times, a team had a worse record, when starting its season overseas, than the previous season. For instance, in 2009-10, the Blackhawks improved their point total from 104 to 112 and won the Cup. The same season, the Panthers started overseas and went from 93 points to 77.

Of course, there might be exactly zero science behind this, but it’s been a topic of discussion for years and I’d never seen the actual numbers. One last thought… Could it be that West Coast teams suffer more? The Kings, Ducks, Sharks, Canucks and Coyotes have combined to start seven seasons overseas. Only the Kings, in 2007-08, posted a point improvement after starting the season overseas, and it was a modest improvement, from 68 points to 71. The other six teams all dipped in points. A coincidence? Too many other factors? Or a product of tougher West Coast travel?

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Alec martinez

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 210 lb | Age: 29

Born: July 26, 1987
Birthplace: Rochester Hills, MI, USA
Position: D
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Martinez was drafted by the LA Kings in the 2007 Draft, while playing for Miami University. He has since become a two-time Stanley Cup champion and the 17th man in Stanley Cup playoff history to score the Cup-winning goal in overtime.

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Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

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Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

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Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.
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Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

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Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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