Just like last season, the Los Angeles Kings are out after the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, having fallen victim to the Edmonton Oilers once again.
The Kings appeared to be in a good position in Game 4 when they led the game 3-0 and the series 2-1. As fans know by now, the Oilers erased that lead, won the game, and won the series.
LA and Edmonton played a thrilling series, and the first-round exit is not necessarily indicative of the way that the Kings played. Nevertheless, they’ve yet to figure out the Oilers and will watch the remainder of the postseason from home as a result.
How should the 2022-2023 Kings season be graded?
Los Angeles was in a comfortable spot for the vast majority of the regular season. The team resided in the top three of the Pacific Division all year and stayed in contention for the division crown until the final weeks of the regular season.
The Kings got contributions from a lot of different players during the 82-game campaign as six skaters recorded at least 50 points. Moving forward, LA should get similar contributions because it has very few pending free agents.
Two of the more notable players in need of new contracts are the ones acquired in the stunning trade that sent two-time champion Jonathan Quick to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Kings were probably a better team after the deal, but maybe this first-round exit is some karma for the unceremonious dismissal of one of the greatest players in franchise history.
In the playoffs, the Kings really did play well, especially offensively. Unfortunately, the Oilers came to play, and their star power was simply too much for Los Angeles.
This team will be back next year for another run at the Stanley Cup. However, they’ll have some important decisions to make this summer regarding how to get past the team that has now eliminated them in consecutive postseasons.
The Kings can be as good as they want, but if they’re not better than the Oilers, we’ll be having this conversation again in 2024 and beyond.
Overall, LA was 47-25-10 (104 points) and lost in the first round of the playoffs, four games to two.
The Kings’ only real misstep this season was the Quick trade as they posted their first 100-point season since 2016. The early exit stings, but Los Angeles has a lot to be excited about after a strong season.