The newly-minted fantasy rankings have just been released on NHL.com, and 13 different Los Angeles Kings have made the cut. Leading the way for the silver-and-black are Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Quick, who come in at 17 and 18, respectively.
The list was determined from the rankings of three of NHL.com's fantasy hockey insiders - Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen and Matt Sitkoff - and the finished product saw a baker's dozen of the Kings making the cut. Here is where each of the Kings stand in the current rankings:
17) Anze Kopitar
18) Jonathan Quick
49) Drew Doughty
53) Marian Gaborik
85) Jeff Carter
168) Justin Williams
182) Tyler Toffoli
185) Slava Voynov
196) Jake Muzzin
207) Dustin Brown
249) Martin Jones
254) Tanner Pearson
258) Mike Richards
Naturally, with every list like this comes plenty of debate. From the standpoint of a Los Angeles Kings fan, I cannot entirely fathom why Drew Doughty is the fifth-best defenseman on said list. While Chicago's Duncan Keith and Nashville's Shea Weber certainly deserve their place among the top of the league's top blueliners, I really don't believe that Montreal's PK Subban or Pittsburgh's Kris Letang are better defensively than Los Angeles's No. 8.
The former may have received a lot of money this summer but that isn't so much a testament to Subban but a detriment to the Canadiens's lack of judgment. In no way am I taking anything away from Subban - after all, he is a great player - but given his attitude that has resulted in him being benched at times to his lack of defensive prowess, it's hard to imagine him ranked higher than Doughty. Of course, if this were a popularity contest, I'm sure Subban is in his rightful place. With that said, maybe it's about time for most fans and pundits to realize that perhaps they're lining up behind the wrong defenseman. Again, this isn't an attack on PK Subban so much as compliment to what Drew Doughty brings to the table. He may not have a Norris Trophy like Subban does but Doughty does have two Stanley Cups and two Olympic gold medals. How many players can say that about themselves at the age of 40 much less 24?
But not all of what appeared on the fantasy list was unfair. Jonathan Quick was ranked second among goaltenders behind only Boston's Tuukka Rask. Perhaps his injury last season coupled with his less-than-stellar numbers proved to be an obstacle between Quick and the No. 1 status. Then again, he was ranked ahead of usual favourite Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers and Montreal's Carey Price, so it's not all that bad.
As for an east-coast bias, I don't believe there is much of an issue there since Anaheim's duo of Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf were ranked 3rd and 5th respectively. But let's not bellyache about that. After all, the Ducks tandem can go as far as rewriting the record books during the regular season but it's what happens in the playoffs that matter, and I'll just leave it at that.
As far as sleeper picks go, the Los Angeles Kings received a bit of love there as well.
The aforementioned Pete Jensen has defenseman Jake Muzzin as his No. 4 sleeper pick with this explanation:
"How could a defenseman paired with arguably the League's best blueliner, Drew Doughty, on the best puck-possession team and reigning Stanley Cup champions be considered a sleeper? The answer is Muzzin is the third most valuable defenseman on his own roster based on last season's production. So fantasy owners looking for a blueliner in the 15th round or later need to keep an eye on Muzzin, who exceeded his 2013-14 goal total (five goals in 76 games) in the postseason (six goals in 26 games). If Muzzin continues to see two-and-a-half minutes per game with the man advantage, it's only a matter of time before Doughty lifts his teammate's game to greater heights. Muzzin also carries added value in leagues which reward hits after finishing No. 21 among defenseman in that category last season (169, 2.2 per game). Expect the 25-year-old to improve on his ridiculously low shooting percentage from last season (2.9) and hit double digits in goals for the first time.
Projection: 13 G, 27 A, plus-15, 65 PIMs, 14 PPP, 190 SOG"
Matt Sitkoff had Tanner Pearson ranked in his sleeper picks at No. 7 with this:
"The 21-year-old has played in as many playoff games as regular-season games (25), but this season he will finally be counted on as a regular contributor. A member of the "That 70s Line" with Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli, he finished with 12 points en route to a Stanley Cup victory. The 30th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft is ready to graduate from the AHL's Manchester Monarchs where he had 79 points in 105 games over the past two seasons. His chemistry with Toffoli has transitioned from the minors to the NHL, and we don't see Kings coach Darryl Sutter splitting up one of his most successful lines of the postseason. Pearson is another good player to target in your last two rounds and if you end up drafting either Carter or Toffoli in earlier rounds, then that is an added bonus for your fantasy squad.
Projection: 14 G, 20 A, plus-8, 14 PIM, 8 PPP, 123 SOG"
You can check out all the rankings for yourself here and whether you believe the Kings didn't get enough of love, received the right amount or whatever, the fantasy list certainly poses as a great debating tool for when the regular season begins in just over a month's time.