Hockey gambling handicappers were impressed with the rapid climb and improvement of the Kings last year as they made the NHL gambling post season.
Sports-Gambling opened with the Kings as a +1500 choice on the futures board to win the Stanley Cup and as a +950 choice to win the Western Conference.
There are plenty of justifiable reasons for the Kings being among the favorites with handicappers as they are coming off a 2009-10 record of 46-27-9 good for 101 points and 3rd place in the Pacific Division and the 6th spot in the Western Conference Playoffs.
Los Angeles made the playoffs for the first time in 8 seasons as the long list of early draft picks that they have stockpiled over the past few years finally made a significant impact. The Kings have been built in large part through the draft and therefore are built to last.
Los Angeles has many assets to take with the NHL odds including forward Anze Kopitar, defenseman Drew Doughty, and goaltender Jonathan Quick.
General Manager Dean Lombardi, who was previously instrumental in building the San Jose Sharks, deserves much of the credit for the turnaround in LA as the Kings have gone from a misguided joke to a respected contender that handicappers will long consider.
Kopitar is coming off a career year in which he helped the Kings consistently beat the hockey lines with 34 goals, 47 assists, 14 power play goals, and a +6. It was the first time Kopitar finished with a plus in his career.
After Kopitar the Kings showed a solid amount of depth and balance as while nobody else came close to Kopitar’s numbers there were numerous contributors including Dustin Brown and Ryan Smith, who should both be around 25 goals for this season.
Wayne Simmonds is another key asset on the forward lines as he combines physical play with scoring ability as he had career highs last year for scoring.
Quick impressed hockey gambling handicappers with his 39 wins and 2.54 goals against average last year but will face competition from Jonathan Bernier, who was the top goaltender in the American Hockey League last year.
As a young team under the excellent guidance of defensive oriented coach Terry Murray this is a team that should contend for years to come.