Recapping 2023 – The Year of Kopi, As Kings Rank Among NHL’s Best

Zach Dooley For LAKingsInsider.com


Anze Kopitar is 36 years old. He’s played in more than 1,300 games and has amassed more than 1,100 points. In the 2023 calendar year, Kopitar just posted the second-highest scoring calendar year of his NHL career. Once again, the man is 36 years old.

Kopitar buried 32 goals and amassed 79 points from 75 games played. From a team perspective, no team in the NHL played fewer games than the Kings. In fact, they played 15 more games in 2022 than they did in 2023. With this level of play, and a differently constructed schedule, perhaps it’s a career high. Still though, Kopitar trailed only his 2010, when he totaled 83 points, for the highest scoring year of his career. Kopitar’s 32 goals were one shy of a career high, after the Slovenian scored 33 times in both 2009 and 2010.

Throughout the course of 2023, Kopitar had several individual milestones, accolades and franchise records. In June, Kopitar was named as the winner of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded to a player who exemplifies “sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” In October, Kopitar surpassed Dustin Brown for the most games played in Kings franchise history, skating in his 1300th career NHL game a few nights later. Among his 32 goals was the 400th of his NHL career in November. Among his 47 assists was the 757th of his NHL career in December, passing Marcel Dionne for the most in Kings history.

Kopitar exits 2023 second in franchise history in total points, behind only Dionne. He also exits with a new, two-year contract extension, which kicks in for the 2024-25 season and runs through 2026. More games to play, more points to collect, more milestones to achieve and, most importantly, there is more to be won.

2023 By The Numbers – Team
Games Played: 75 (32nd)
Wins: 46 (10th)
Points: 101 (10th)
Winning Percentage: .673 (5th)
Goals Scored: 261 (15th)
Goals Scored, Per Game: 3.48 (4th)
Goals Against: 194 (2nd)
Goals Against, Per Game: 2.59 (2nd)
Power Play: 23.7% (6th)
Penalty Kill: 83.2% (6th)
Faceoff Percentage: 52.7% (4th)
Corsi For Percentage: 56.7% (2nd)

This is an odd collection of team statistics.

The Kings played 90 games in 2022. They played just 75 in 2023. Last season was extremely front-loaded. This season has been quite backloaded. As such, no team around the league played in fewer games than the LA Kings did during the 2023 calendar year. Though the Kings rank 32nd in that one category, there’s a lot of Top-5 and Top-10 rankings that follow. The Kings were second in both goals scored and goals allowed, on a per-game basis. The Kings ranked sixth in both special teams categories and fourth in faceoff percentage.

From 2022 to 2023, the Kings naturally fell in wins and points, playing 15 fewer games, but rose from .622 to .673 in terms of winning percentage. All in all, a really strong 12 months, in a variety of different ways.

2023 By The Numbers – Individual
Goals
1. Adrian Kempe – 39
2. Anze Kopitar – 32
3. Kevin Fiala – 21

Assists
1. Anze Kopitar – 47
2. Kevin Fiala – 45
3. Adrian Kempe – 37

Points
1. Anze Kopitar – 79
2. Adrian Kempe – 76
3. Kevin Fiala – 66

Power-Play Points
1. Kevin Fiala – 25
T2. Anze Kopitar – 23
T2. Adrian Kempe – 23

Points By Defensemen
1. Drew Doughty – 50
2. Matt Roy – 23
3. Mikey Anderson – 22

Plus/Minus
1. Adrian Kempe – +38
2. Anze Kopitar – +36
3. Quinton Byfield – +30

Unsurprising to see Adrian Kempe atop the stat sheet in goals. Kempe is coming off his first 40-goal season in the NHL and even though his totals haven’t been quite as high this year, he’s heating up in a big way.

What is interesting to me is the balance in power-play scoring. 25, 23 and 23 at the top of the list. The Kings PP was quite strong in the second half of last year, but it had a number of different contributors. A return to that productive balance is where the Kings are striving to reach as 2023 turns into 2024.

Leaguewide Honors
Mikey Anderson
T-9th in +/- by a defenseman (+23)

Quinton Byfield
T-8th in the NHL in +/- (+30)

Drew Doughty
1st in the NHL in TOI per/game (26:01)
T-12th in goals by a defenseman (14)
T-12th in power-play points by a defenseman (21)
T-20th in points by a defenseman (50)

Adrian Kempe
4th in the NHL in +/- (+38)
T-7th in the NHL in shorthanded goals (4)
T-13th in the NHL in goals scored (39)
T-16th in the NHL in even-strength goals (26)

Anze Kopitar
3rd In Faceoffs Won (832)
5th in the NHL in +/- (+36)
T-16th in the NHL in Faceoff Percentage (55.7%)
2022-23 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy Winner

Lots of familiar categories here for the Kings. Anze Kopitar is one of the NHL’s best in the faceoff circle, and one of the most regularly used. Drew Doughty leading the NHL in average time on ice, never a metric that is surprising. The line of Kopitar, Kempe and Byfield all ranking inside the NHL’s Top-10 in +/- shows how effective the three of them have been together. +/- isn’t all that useful of a stat, but in this context, it shows a staggering distribution of goals for that line when playing together.

Today is the final day of 2023 and the Kings opted for an off-ice workout today as opposed to an on-ice practice. The Kings will return to the ice tomorrow morning at 11 AM at Toyota Sports Performance Center for the first practice of 2024, in advance of Tuesday’s showdown against the Toronto Maple Leafs, a big challenge to begin the new year.

Practice coverage to follow tomorrow, as we get back to it!


Zach Dooley For LAKingsInsider.com lakingsinsider.com Behind the Scenes

SOURCE
2023-12-31 20:51:20 , LA Kings Insider

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