LA Kings: 4 Players the Kings Can't Afford to Lose
The dust is somewhat settling around the July 1 Free Agent "Frenzy". At least for the Kings it is.
The team has made two important moves: Extending Jonathan Quick, and re-signing Dustin Penner.
Aside from adding a spare part here or there (Shane Doan anyone?) the Kings can now start looking forward to the next set of contracts, potential trades and roster management.
With the entire team returning for at least one more season, there are a few players with uncertain futures that the Kings cannot afford to lose if they want to stay strong for the next couple of seasons.
I said it when it happened, and I'll say it again. Rob Scuderi was one of the best signings Dean Lombardi ever made.
It's really easy to overlook what Scuderi brings to the team. He isn't a flashy player or a skilled guy. However, he is a cognitive player.
Scuderi has been a calming presence on a very young and inexperienced Los Angeles blue line for several seasons. He has mentored Drew Doughty and played fantastic stay-at-home D for the team.
His contract is up after next season, and the Kings should definitely look into re-upping him for at least another year, since there are no real stay-at-home defenseman in the system who are ready.
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Dwight King had a coming out party in the playoffs.
He was an effectively muscled his way into the Kings lineup as a viable left winger, in a system that is very weak in the left wing department.
That is the exact reason the Kings can't afford to lose him. The left wing pool with the Kings is by far their weakest of any position.
Losing King at this point, well, you might say to yourself it's not that big a deal. However, when all you have is five dollars in cash, and three of it blows out of your hand, that's a big loss.
King is up for contract after this coming season, but he's a restricted free agent which makes things easier. Still, the Kings should get this done sooner than later. His inclusion on the team adds depth and size that they need.
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I bet you are scratching your head right now.
Well, maybe a few weeks ago I would have said, "Yeah, trade him for something." But now I don't think it's a good idea.
The goalie market is depleted, and if the Kings trade him now they risk having little to no quality backup for Jonathan Quick.
Sure, Martin Jones looks to be a real good goaltender in the near future, but he isn't ready for it right now.
Unless the Kings can get a goaltender in a trade it would be a bad idea to let Bernier go, at least during this offseason. However, the trade deadline might be a different story, but we'll see how things look in February.
Slava Voynov or Alec Martinez
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When the time comes after the 2013-2014 season the Kings are going to need to lock up Alec Martinez and/or Slava Voynov.
At the trade deadline of this last season, Dean Lombardi was so confident in these young puck movers that he traded away the coveted Jack Johnson.
Both are young, and have tremendous potential. I say one or both because the Kings do have several young puck movers coming through the minors.
It might be that they compete the next two seasons to see who gets to stay in L.A. Regardless, the Kings cannot afford to lose both of them. Young talent on the blue line can be hard to come by.