Using the VUKOTA projection system of Hockey Prospectus, Insider is taking the temperature of key players on every NHL team, starting with the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. For a detailed explanation of Prospectus' proprietary GVT value metric, read more here.
Summer Skate -- Los Angeles Kings
With the fourth-best possession statistics in the league going into the playoffs, the Kings hardly came out of nowhere. Dominating their opponents all season, their only struggle was the bad luck that kept their shooting percentage to a ridiculous, league-worst 7.5 percent.
They became virtually unstoppable once things clicked.
The Stanley Cup champions made some excellent midseason changes, replacing coach Terry Murray with Darryl Sutter and acquiring Jeff Carter, while finally getting rid of Jack Johnson in the process.
Since then, GM Dean Lombardi has wisely refrained from making any more major moves, confident that his enviable collection of talent, including Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick, will be sufficient to challenge the San Jose Sharks for the Pacific Division title.
Trending up: C Jeff Carter
Last season: 4.8 GVT | VUKOTA projection: 8.1 GVT
Columbus hoped Carter would be the man to ignite Rick Nash after acquiring him for Jakub Voracek and some picks from the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2011 offseason. But Carter struggled with foot and knee injuries with the Jackets, dropping from 36 goals and 66 points to just a 50-point pace.