Will the LA Kings win the Stanley Cup this year? There are many similarities between Darryl Sutter's 2012 LA Kings team, and his 2004 Calgary Flames team that went to the Stanley Cup finals. LA has an outstanding young goaltender in Johnathon Quick, while Calgary had newly aquired Miikka Kiprosoff. LA has an offensively talented young scoring star in Anze Kopitar, while Calgary had Jarome Iginla, just 26 at that time. LA has Dustin Brown significantly stepping up his game to previously unseen levels, and the Flames had Martin Gelinas providing a very similar effort in 2004.
The Kings have a young offensively-talented defenseman in Drew Doughty; the Flames had a young offensively-talented defenseman in Jordan Leopold. LA has some other talented young defenseman, like Jack Johnson, Matt Greene and Dwight King; the Flames had Andrew Ference, Tony Lydman and Robyn Regehr, all under 27.
The Flames had a mix of older and younger players who provided plenty of toughness and balanced scoring, like Craig Conroy, Shean Donovan, Steve Reinprecht, Chuck Kobasew, Dave Lowry and Dean McAmmond. The LA Kings have a similar mix with Justin Williams, Jarret Stoll, Kyle Clifford, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, and Dustin Penner.
The Flames beat the top seed (Detroit) and the third seed (San Jose) on their way to the finals. The LA Kings have beat the top seed (Vancouver) and the third seed (St. Louis) so far along the way. The Flames eventually lost to the number two seed (Tampa Bay), and it's possible the Kings could face the number 2 seed (NY Rangers) in the finals, although that team is in a dogfight right now with the Washington Capitals. The Flames were a little better defensively than the LA Kings are, but the Kings are a bit better offensively, and the game has changed, becoming more open since 2004. I think that the Kings match up pretty well against any possible opponents going forward, and none of the remaining teams seem to me to be nearly as good as that 2004 Tampa Bay team was. The Kings may have a better chance at winning it all this season than the Calgary Flames did in 2004.