The Los Angeles Kings had a remarkably stable roster the season after winning the Stanley Cup in 2012, and that is a trend that hasn't changed much heading into the 2013-14 campaign.
Los Angeles said goodbye to a couple of supporting cast members from the 2012 title team this offseason, but all of the key cogs from that edition remain. In fact, the Kings could dress 16 players on opening night in October who were among the 20 in the lineup for Game 6 against the New Jersey Devils -- only Simon Gagne, Rob Scuderi, Dustin Penner and Jonathan Bernier are gone.
Scuderi and Penner left via free agency in the offseason, and Bernier was traded to Toronto for Matt Frattin, Bernier's replacement (Ben Scrivens) and a second-round pick. The Kings likely will look to their younger defensemen to absorb Scuderi's minutes (and tough assignments), and they could get a boost from a healthy Willie Mitchell. Jeff Schultz was a depth signing as a free agent after he was bought out by the Washington Capitals.
Frattin and another trade acquisition, Daniel Carcillo, join what could be a crowded roster up front. The Kings could miss Scuderi, especially if Mitchell's comeback doesn't work out, but they still look like one of the favorites in the Western Conference along with the Chicago Blackhawks and the team they've defeated each of the past two playoffs, the St. Louis Blues.
NOTES: Carcillo might be a surprise on the second line and will face plenty of competition for that spot. Toffoli played there at times during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and prospects Tanner Pearson and Linden Vey could push for a place on the second line.
Inserting Carcillo and Frattin in the top nine (along with keeping Toffoli) leaves quite a scrum for the fourth line. Lewis is probably the safest bet to play every night, but any of those five would be a regular on most clubs.
A healthy Mitchell not only would give the Kings one of the top defense corps in the West, it would give them nine NHL defensemen on a one-way contract. Schultz and Keaton Ellerby could be subject to waivers and being sent to the American Hockey League if everyone is healthy. The Kings would have decide if they want to carry 14 forwards or eight defensemen; Toffoli is the only player projected to be on the roster who wouldn't need to clear waivers to be sent down.
Quick was great again in the playoffs and will try to earn the No. 1 job for the United States at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. Scrivens could prove to be a nice, cheap addition with a better defensive team in front of him. Martin Jones, a restricted free agent, is one of the better young No. 3s in the League.