50 Days, 50 Facts About The LA Kings

Let’s talk about facts. Or stats.

Facts and stats are exactly that – they are true. The truth, however, can be stretched, manipulated or morphed to fit a narrative you’re trying to push. Using facts a certain way does not make them untrue or not useful, but when I write articles, you write comments, others write tweets, we all regularly use facts to support or debunk certain narratives, as we want to. It doesn’t make them untrue, but those facts selectively focus on the parts of the narrative that we want them to.

Let’s prove that with a comparison.

Player A was one of the best facilitators not just on the LA Kings last season, but around the NHL. Player A posted 1.64 assists per/60 at 5-on-5 last season, a total that ranked second on the Kings amongst regulars, trailing only Kevin Fiala. Of the 593 players who skated in 500+ minutes in the NHL last season, only 17 had a higher assists per/60 rate than Player A. Player A was also a part of one of the NHL’s most productive lines last season. Among forward lines with 400+ minutes together, Player A’s line led the league with a goals-for percentage of 73.8%. Player A also ranks in the Top 10 in his draft class in games played and points and was tied for sixth on the Kings in playoff scoring.

Player B, on the other hand, was one of the team’s least productive offensive players. He ranked 14th on the Kings in points and tied for 17th on the Kings in goals. Player B has been assigned to the AHL in three consecutive seasons and has only played in 45 percent of the Kings games since he signed with the organization, missing time due to injury in each season with the organization. Player B had one of the NHL’s worst shooting percentages (1.7%) and despite being relied upon in the Top 6, he scored just one goal at 5-on-5 during the regular season.

Player A sounds like a player I’d want on my team. Player B doesn’t.

Both players are Quinton Byfield.

If I focus only on the statistics and facts that I want to, I can make Quinton Byfield sound like a world beater. I could also make him sound like a complete bust. The truth lies somewhere in the middle, but Byfield has become a polarizing player amongst Kings fans because of how selectively facts and statistics are used and pushed to support someone’s narrative or agenda. If you focus only on the facts that support what you want to say, it’s going to provide a slanted viewpoint, even if you aren’t saying anything that is not true. The facts are the facts, but regardless of who those facts come from, keep in mind that even things that are 100 percent factual can be used to support opinions.

I enjoyed trialing out this article concept last season and am excited to bring it back again! One of my favorite articles to read in advance of my fantasy football draft is Matthew Berry’s list of 100 facts. With that in mind, here are 50 facts to keep in mind heading into the 2023-24 LA Kings season.

1. Let’s start with Byfield, since I identified him above. As noted, he collected 3 goals, 19 assists and 22 points during the 2022-23 regular season. Byfield posted 1.64 assists per/60 at 5-on-5 and only Kevin Fiala had a higher assists per/60 rate among LA Kings players.

2. Byfield’s shooting percentage last season was 1.67%.

3. No forward in the NHL has posted a shooting percentage at 1.67% or lower over the most recent two-year span.

4. Byfield had a point on 46.8 percent of the goals he was on the ice for this past season at all strengths.

5. Of the 402 forwards who skated in 500+ minutes last season, only nine players ranked lower in that statistic.

6. The league-median IPP among that group was 61.2 percent.

7. The only three players around the NHL with more points and more penalty minutes over the last five seasons combined than Pierre-Luc Dubois are Brad Marchand, Matthew Tkachuk and Brady Tkachuk.

8. The last player to post 60 points and 60 penalty minutes in the same season with the LA Kings was Craig Conroy in the 2005-06 season. The last Kings player to collect 60 points and 60 penalty minutes in consecutive seasons was Luc Robitaille in 1999-00 and 2000-01.

9. Pierre-Luc Dubois has collected 60 points and 60 penalty minutes in each of the last two seasons.

10. Since Wayne Gretzky was traded to St. Louis in 1996, the LA Kings have had their top three centers combine for 160 or more points three times. The highest total (171) was 2010, between Anze Kopitar, Jarret Stoll and Michal Handzus.

11. Dubois, Kopitar and Phillip Danault combined for 191 points last season and 188 the season before.

12. Speaking of Kopitar, he just led the Kings in scoring for the 15th time in his 17 seasons with the organization.

13. His 28 goals and 74 points were his most in a single season since the 2017-18 season, when he finished second in Hart Trophy voting.

14. Kopitar’s 2022-23 season is one of just two in the last 10 years to have 70+ points, more than 20 minutes in total time on ice and four or fewer penalty minutes (Kyle Connor – 2021-22).

15. He also led the NHL in defensive zone puck battles won, per NHL Network.

16. Per Natural Stat Trick, the LA Kings were one of just four teams in the NHL (CAR, FLA, NJD) to rank inside the league’s Top 10 in percentage controlled for Shot Attempts, Unblocked Shot Attempts, Shots On Goal, Scoring Chances and High-Danger Chances.

17. The Kings were tied for tenth in the NHL with 274 goals scored, in all situations.

18. 274 goals was the highest total by a Kings team since the 1993-94 season.

19. The Kings also allowed 3.10 goals-per-game last season, the second highest rate by a Kings team over the last 15 years.

20. From opening night through the trade deadline, the LA Kings ranked 31st in the NHL in save percentage and 30th in high-danger save percentage at all strengths.

21. The Kings conceded 210 goals at all strengths in that timespan.

22. That was the tenth-highest total in the NHL.

23. Per Natural Stat Trick, only the Vancouver Canucks had a wider disparity between actual goals allowed and expected goals allowed during that span than the Kings (-28.25).

24. With a league-average save percentage in that time, the Kings would have conceded 41 fewer goals.

25. The Kings had the ninth-most points in the NHL at the trade deadline, while allowing the tenth-most goals, with the 31st ranked save percentage.

26. The LA Kings signed Cam Talbot to a one-year contract in July.

27. From 2019-22, Talbot Talbot posted save percentages of .919, .915 and .911 over those three seasons. He posted goals-against average totals of 2.63, 2.63 and 2.76.

28. Of the 142 goaltenders to play NHL games over those three seasons, just 12 posted a goals-saved above average figure (per Natural Stat Trick) of greater than 20. Talbot was one of those 12 goaltenders during his time with Calgary and Minnesota.

29. In 2022-23, Talbot ranked just below league average in save percentage and just above league average in goals-against average last season.

29A. See Fact Number 20.

30. After the trade deadline, the LA Kings allowed the fewest goals in the NHL (44) and posted the seventh best differential between actual goals allowed and expected goals allowed (+6.86).

31. Defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov was one of the players the Kings acquired at the trade deadline.

32. Gavrikov’s most common defensive partner with the Kings was Matt Roy (217 minutes at 5-on-5, 124 minutes more than his next most common partner).

33. The Gavrikov/Roy duo placed inside the Top 5 in the NHL in percentage of high-danger chances and scoring chances controlled when on the ice.

34. They also controlled 80 percent of the goals scored when on the ice together in the regular season.

35. With Gavrikov in the lineup alongside Roy, Drew Doughty and Mikey Anderson for a full game, the Kings posted a record of 11-1-2 during the regular season, outscoring their opposition by a 36-16 margin at 5-on-5.

36. Oh, and Gavrikov also led the NHL in neutral-zone stickchecks during the 2022-23 season.

37. The LA Kings ranked 24th in the NHL on the penalty kill last season and 16th during the playoffs.

38. The Kings signed Gavrikov to a two-year contract extension this offseason.

39. The Kings were below 80% in terms of Net PK, which includes shorthanded goals) for just the second time in the last 15 years.

40. The Kings are tied for fifth in the NHL with 18 shorthanded goals over the last two seasons.

41. The last time the Kings were below 80% in Net PK in two consecutive seasons were the 1985-86 and 1986-87 seasons.

42. The Calgary Flames, on the other hand, ranked fifth in the NHL on the penalty kill a season ago.

43. Forward Trevor Lewis set a career-high in penalty kill time on ice a season ago, as he ranked third among Flames forwards in that area.

44. The Kings signed Lewis to a one-year contract in July.

45. The LA Kings are scheduled to play two preseason games in Melbourne, Australia in September as a part of the NHL Global Series.

46. The last two trips overseas for the Kings were in 2017 and 2011.

47. In 2017, the Kings went from a non-playoff team to a playoff team after playing in China.

48. In 2011, the Kings went from a first-round exit to Stanley Cup Champions after playing in Germany and Sweden.

49. The 2022-23 Kings were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

50. The puck drops on October 11 and we’ll find out if any of these facts are relevant or not!

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