L.A. Kings: 5 Current Players Who Can Give Them a Post-Trade Deadline Boost
The Pacific Division is waiting for the Los Angeles Kings to take control.
Since the San Jose Sharks have lost five of six, the Kings are just three points behind first place. They have the talent on their roster to make the push for the division, but so far this season they have not come through.
What is the reason for the team's struggles?
They are the worst team in the NHL at lighting the lamp.
With that being the case, many expect general manager Dean Lombardi to bring in outside help to jump-start the team. However, they have pieces already in place capable of giving the team a boost.
The acquisition of a scoring threat might bring a new dimension to L.A., while also helping these current Kings bring the team better results.
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Dustin Penner is one of the culprits responsible for the Kings' anemic offense. Since his rookie season, Penner has scored at least 17 goals a year.
This season he is on pace for less than 10.
His 6.6 shooting percentage is also his worst since his first year in the league.
If the Kings are going to become a stronger team after the deadline, Penner will need to be a part of it. He is a large, talented force who needs to start playing up to his potential in Los Angeles.
If and when he breaks out, he should help propel them down the stretch.
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It seems that in most Rick Nash trade scenarios involving the Kings, Jack Johnson’s name has been mentioned. As a young defenseman, he appears to have the tools to be a good NHL player, but he has yet to harness them.
Heading into this year, Johnson had not had a single season with a positive plus/minus rating. This season he has unfortunately continued that trend and is currently a minus-10.
If he is around after February 27, though, he could provide the Kings with renewed energy.
Playing without the possibility of being traded, Johnson is the kind of player who can break out at any time.
He has the offensive skills to help on the blue line and when he gets involved in the scoring, the Kings are much stronger.
In wins this year, Johnson has 15 points and is a plus-14. In losses, however, he only has nine points and is a minus-24.
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Jonathan Quick is the main reason the Kings are currently anywhere near the playoff race. Without Quick’s brilliance, the Kings would likely be looking at the prospect of being sellers at the trade deadline.
With a .933 save percentage and 1.91 GAA, Quick has done everything but score goals for this team.
Post-trade deadline he can provide a boost by simply continuing to perform at this high level.
If Dean Lombardi acquires a top-six forward, as many anticipate, the Kings could be the favorite to win the Pacific Division. However, that is only the case if Quick maintains his quality of play.
In sustaining his strong netminding, Quick will allow the Kings to focus their efforts on scoring more goals and improving offensively.
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The Kings have gotten almost zero production out of their left wings this season. Dustin Penner has been one of the problems, but Simon Gagne has not been able to help, either.
Out with a concussion since December 26th, Gagne has seven goals in 34 games. Without the injury, he likely would have doubled that output by this point in the season.
However, according to L.A. Kings Insider, Gagne recently began skating again.
In the event he is able to return to the ice with 15 to 20 games left in the season, it would bring the equivalent boost of a trade acquisition. He could step on the ice and immediately give the Kings another scoring threat.
Even if he only produced five goals in that span, it would provide a strong push for the Kings as they move towards the playoffs.
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When a team isn’t playing well, the first target of criticism is the captain. While not always deserved, in this case it is. In the Kings' past 15 games, Dustin Brown has a total of two goals and four assists.
For a team that is starved for offense, that is unacceptable.
At this time of the year, a captain needs to not only rally his team behind closed doors, but lead them out on the ice. With at 5-10 record during that 15-game span, it is clear that Brown is doing neither.
However, he is not incapable of turning his play and the Kings around.
He has spent his entire eight-year career with the organization and his game has grown as the team became more successful. In the past two seasons, he helped lead L.A. to the playoffs with over 20 goals and 20 assists during the regular season.
Once he finds that extra gear again, he has the ability to drive this team to more success.