- The Los Angeles Kings finished with the fewest points in the Western Conference last season (71)
- The Anaheim Ducks placed 10 points out of a playoff spot last season, finishing with just 80 points
- Both the Ducks and Kings have an uphill climb to make the playoffs
The Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings have opened with the worst odds to make the playoffs in 2019. However, with parity at an all-time high, maybe there’s value betting one of these teams to qualify for the postseason? Let’s take a closer at their NHL playoff odds:
2019-20 Los Angeles Kings NHL Playoff Odds
|Result||Odds at BetOnline|
*All odds taken 08/27/19.
Kings Were Worst Team in the West Last Season
The Kings have a longer way to go to make the playoffs as they finished dead-last in the West last season with just 71 points. The No. 8 seeded Colorado Avalanche registered 90 points, so the Kings have to somehow make up about 19 points, roughly speaking.
What’s interesting to note is that the Kings were actually supposed to be Stanley Cup contenders last season before things went sour. They had signed Ilya Kovalchuk and were excited about the idea of pairing him with Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown and Tyler Toffoli. However, the plan failed and the team bottomed out.
The Kings finished 30th in goals scored, 22nd in goals against, 27th in power play and 29th in penalty kill. There weren’t a lot of positives to take from last season outside of a resurgent season from Dustin Brown. The question is how will they turn things around?
Will the Kings Be Better?
The Kings didn’t do much this offseason other than shedding Dion Phaneuf, so it really begs the question as to how will this team improve. It feels like they have the talent to contend for a playoff spot but this is also a team that’s way over the hill.
Kovalchuk is 36, Brown is 34, Jonathan Quick is 33, Carter is 32, Kopitar is 32 and Drew Doughty is 29. It’s not too bad but when you consider that Quick is coming off his worst season, Doughty as well and there isn’t a really good young core to support these guys, it feels like it’s too much to ask.
Youngsters like Blake Lizotte, Austin Wagner, Nikolai Prokhorkin and Carl Grundstrom need to step up big time. It doesn’t seem like any of them are ready for the prime time. And with Quick struggling at the other end of the ice – he posted the worst save percentage of his career (.888) – I don’t see how this team improves a lot.
2019-20 Anaheim Ducks NHL Playoff Odds
|Result||Odds at BetOnline|
Ducks Struggled in 2018
The Ducks are coming off a season where they finished with 80 points, so they were closer to the playoffs than the Kings were. They also ended fairly well as they finished the year 11-5-1 in their last 17 games, so there were signs of a turnaround starting to happen.
The team had a number of challenges, including Corey Perry missing the first five months of the season. Ryan Getzlaf had just 48 points – the lowest since his rookie season – and the only player to surpass 20 goals was Jakob Silfverberg.
In the offseason, the Ducks didn’t do much other than buyout Perry along with some minor tinkering. However, they have a young cast that they are hoping will step up.
Will Ducks Next Wave Step Up?
For the Ducks to have success in 2019-20, the next wave of youngsters will have to deliver. Maxime Comtois, Sam Steel and Max Jones not only have to make the roster but need to contribute offensively. There’s no question that the Ducks have a solid top line with Getzlaf, Rickard Rackell and Ondrej Kase but they need help beyond that.
The Ducks have a solid goaltender in John Gibson – one of the best in the NHL – but the blue line is in flux. Hampus Lindholm, Cam Fowler and Josh Manson are solid but who knows beyond that.
My concern is that this team is doing a rebuild the proper way, which means they’ve cleared out bad contracts and will likely continue to move veterans. They need to clear playing time for the young players; not contend in 2020.
What’s the Best Bet?
While I see the Ducks as having a better shot to make the playoffs, I’m not banking on either of these teams making the cut. The Ducks are rebuilding and the Kings are clinging to days’ past. “No” looks like the better option for both props.
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