Top players' offensive struggles addressed - LA Kings Insider

“They’ve struggled offensively, for sure,” Darryl Sutter said of linemates Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar.

“That’s not me jumping out, making a statement. That is a fact. That’s a statistical fact.”

It certainly is. Concerns about whether undisclosed injuries have hampered the team’s top performers aside, Brown and Kopitar haven’t matched their levels of production from the regular season or from last spring’s ascent towards the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.

Defensively, there is no concern. For what these statistics are worth, they’re both plus-players, with Brown registering a plus-5 rating through 15 narrowly decided games against elite competition. They remain effective penalty killers that have improved the team’s shorthanded unit’s efficiency from 83.2% in the regular season to 85.7% in the playoffs – while facing teams with impressive penalty killing credentials in St. Louis and San Jose.

Offensively, something just isn’t clicking.

Kopitar averages less than a half a point-per-game in the playoffs, down from his .96 postseason points-per-game mark entering this spring and the .91 points-per-game he has averaged throughout his NHL regular season career.

“I think it’s pretty evident. When Kopi has the puck, he’s a top player in the league. When he doesn’t have the puck, he’s a good checker,” Sutter said. “That means he could have the puck more. Quite honestly, he can support the puck better. Certainly who he plays with can feel privileged that they’re playing with a top player. They should be doing everything they can to play with him.”

Though Brown leads all players with 67 hits this postseason, he has produced three goals and four points. He has as many points as Tyler Toffoli, who has appeared in six fewer games.

“I think it’s pretty fair to say as a line we’re collectively in a slump,” Brown said. “We looked over some video today. We know what we need to do better. It’s getting into their offensive zone, our spacing is pretty significant. It’s hard to play, especially against a team like Chicago. They kind of have that man on man with an extra man in there. When you don’t have the spacing right, one guy eliminates the other guy, quick on the puck. Probably more importantly against Chicago, we need to have closer support in all three zones.”

Kopitar also has the constitution that should allow him to rebound from a middling offensive phase.

“We’ve spent a lot of time together talking about stuff and working on stuff and trying to find other areas that he can do differently or do better, but I don’t lose any sleep over Kopi,” Sutter said. “He’s not a guy that takes shortcuts to not do well. He does everything he can to do well. I think he handles that really well. Other than last year, he hasn’t been a guy that’s played much playoffs or had success at playoffs. So you know what? It’s still a great experience for him.”

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

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


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.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

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


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.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

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


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.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

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


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.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

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


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.