Riiiiiiiight! The LA Kings were considered the best team on paper last year? Thats hilarious.
Im sure most of the analyists and experts never saw LA as the team to beat. Give me a break. 8 of 12 ESPN hockey analyists had them ousted in the 1st round by Vancouver. They werent even favored when they ramrodded everyone to get to the SCF's as nhl.com has the Devils in 6. So the answer to my question is not last year.
It's becoming an oft repeated falsehood here when anyone says "look at the Kings last year. Just get in and anything can happen" as if they came out of nowhere.
At the beginning of the season they were absolutely considered to be one of the best teams in the west. More than once I read about the chances for them to win the Pacific and make the conference Finals. Then they dogged it for two-thirds of the season because they couldn't score goals and close out games. So headed to the playoffs it's not surprising people picked Vancouver, the #1 seed in the West that also made it to the conference finals the previous season.
People also forget that unlike Holland, the Kings GM made bold moves during the season to improve the team, calling up rookies like King and Nolan to add even more size and energy. They traded for Carter and Richards. And because of the teams constant underachieving, they fired their coach.
The Kings didn't just get hot at the right time. They were a good team that underachieved, then made bold moves and finally started living up to their potential.
They aren't an example of "anything can happen" if you look at their lineup last year and compare it to Detroit's current roster.