Which is the greatest dynasty team in the history of the NHL? Is it the Edmonton Oilers of the late 80's? The Canadiens of, well, pick a decade other than the one we're in, or was it the Islanders of the early 80's? Another team perhaps?
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I guess my point is that in the history of the NHL, there have been teams which have succeed for prolonged periods of time. And I'm not just talking about over a season or two, but teams which have competed and been considered favorites to win the cup for several years in a row. When the playoffs from hell (shot blocking, low scoring, relatively dull. C'mon!) ends, and next season begins, the Los Angeles Kings are the next dynasty team in the NHL. Of course this will be misconstrued, but I hope it is not, because what I mean to say is this: the LA Kings have all the parts, the experience, the leadership, the goaltending, and the cap space to excel in the National Hockey League for a very long time.
Let's start with the King's best weapon (and ironically it is more like a shield than a weapon): Jonathan Quick. The 26 year old American is just coming into his prime as a goalie, and what a prime it looks to be. Through the course of the year he provided the team with Hart trophy level tending, and given his personality and mentality, that doesn't look to be something that will change. He is signed through next season, after which he will be due for a pay jump, which he is deserving of. He is a good guy in the room, and even if he does falter, the other John (Bernier) is waiting in the wings.
If these playoffs have proven anything other than that the shortest length of time known to man is not a planck but a Tortorello press conference, it is that Dustin Brown is one of the best leaders in the NHL in terms of giving everything for his team and showing that at the best of times. Step back. Trade deadline day. Pundits are calling for his head in exchange for the missing scoring. Mike Richards they say is ready to assume the captaincy he was brought in to fulfill. Back to the present. Other than Quick and possibly Smith, Brown is the best player in the playoffs. Period. He sacrifices himself for his team, he wears his heart on his sleeve, and let’s not forget the power of the incumbent. He is the captain of this team. Richards and Carter are the experience and support, Doughty too has won on the sports biggest stage, and all together they provide a leadership group which is firm for years to come.
Next year, the Kings have every major player (Doughty, Richards, Brown, Quick, Kopitar) signed, many of them to (extra) long term deals. In fact, the total cap hit of the team will go down as Dustin Penner’s contract will come off the books. I bring this up because, in this league, the cap is the only reason dynasties don’t happen. Except for the Kings. Dean Lombardi has done an excellent job of preparing his team, and it’s cap, for the future, which will leave the core intact, allowing the Kings to dominate this league for years to come.
Now I don’t believe you can ever compare Gretzky to Brown, Richard to Carter, or Dryden to Quick, but those players career’s haven’t reached their peak yet let alone their end, but when they do end, they will have some commonalities, namely all of them will have played on teams which utterly outclassed the world, at least for a little while.
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