Doughty, Kopitar say they aren’t interested in a retool after Kings lose to Oilers again

Drew Doughty Anze Kopitar
Photo credit:Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
19 hours ago
The Los Angeles Kings have lost to the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs the last three years in a row, but their key players don’t sound interested in the team making significant changes.
Kings captain Anze Kopitar and defenceman Drew Doughty both won the Stanley Cup in L.A. in 2012 and 2014, but it’s now been a full decade since they won a single playoff series.
Even so, Doughty was adamant in his response when asked whether the Kings need to retool to get over the hump in the ultra-competitive Pacific Division during locker room cleanout day on Friday.
“I have no interest in that. I don’t think that’s even necessary to think about, to be honest with you,” Doughty said. “I do not want to go down that road.”
Kopitar, who, at 36, is more than two years Doughty’s senior, put a finer point on it.
“I don’t think I have time for retooling now,” Kopitar said. “Like I said, it’s another two years. If we go into a full rebuild, it’s not something that I want — and I think there are some pieces that are obviously very useful here and we’ve got to build on that.”

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The Kings missed the playoffs in three consecutive seasons (2018–19 to 2020–21) before returning to the playoffs in 2022 and losing to the Oilers in seven games. They fell to the Oilers in six games in 2023 and only made it five games this year.
“Not making playoffs is worse, but [both outcomes] suck,” Doughty said. “Our whole objective was to win the first round and see what we could do going forward. It’s unfortunate we were unable to do that.”
The Kings made a big splash last summer in acquiring centre Pierre-Luc Dubois from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for Gabe Vilardi, Alex Iafallo, Rasmus Kupari, and a second-round pick. That move backfired in a big way, with Dubois managing just 40 points in 82 games after being signed by the Kings to an eight-year, $8.5 million AAV contract extension.
Although Iafallo took a step back in his first year with the Jets, Vilardi blossomed in Winnipeg (when healthy) and looked better than Dubois for much of the season. The 24-year-old forward racked up 22 goals and 36 points in 47 games with the Jets and added four assists in five playoff contests.
To hear Doughty say it, the Kings have the top-tier talent necessary to make waves in the Pacific Division — it’s just the depth that needs work.
“I think it’s more of a depth thing than an impact guy,” Doughty said. “The guys gelled in well with the team. There are great guys in the room, great guys off the ice. We just need the whole team to perform better. We’re not putting any blame on anyone here, it’s the whole team altogether.
“I think we do have the right pieces to do something,” Doughty added. “It’s just unfortunate we weren’t able to this year.”

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