Los Angeles Kings' 5 Biggest Needs Ahead of the Trade Deadline
Yes, somehow the Kings managed to put up six goals in a single game. That's just two shy of their total offensive output in their previous eight games combined.
One game—good or bad—won’t change Dean Lombardi’s mindset, even with the March 5 trade deadline approaching. There was talk of a potential deal involving a top-six forward—specifically Sam Gagner of the Oilers—according to CBC's Elliotte Friedman, via the Edmonton Journal. However, those talks have since fallen apart, according to Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times.
Even for a contender like the Kings, there are ways to improve at the deadline.
Stats courtesy of NHL.com.
The Kings’ inability to find a few solid left wingers hasn’t hindered them in a major way. After all, they did win the Stanley Cup in 2011-12. That said, the search continues to add more depth at the position.
The offseason deal that sent Jonathan Bernier to Toronto brought Matt Frattin to LA. It was thought that he could fulfill the role of a third- or even second-line left winger. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case.
He has struggled, registering two goals and four assists for six points in 40 games. This isn’t at the top of Dean Lombardi’s priority list, but it’s an area the team could improve in.
This may not be directly related to the trade deadline, but if the Kings suddenly started to rack up the injuries in the next week or so, management would have some tough decisions to make.
Should they try to make a big move and go all-in this year? Or do they wait it out and hope the current players can step up and fill the void?
Jonathan Quick and Jeff Carter have been injured this season. If one of them or any other star player is out for a significant period, it could cost the Kings the third seed in the Pacific Division. Staying healthy down the stretch is important for all teams, but especially for LA, giving its current spot in the standings.
Dean Lombardi has made a number of good deals in the past few years to pick up players like Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. Many of these deals and other minor trades have cost draft picks.
In the upcoming 2014 entry draft as well as the 2015 draft, the Kings do not have their second-round picks. Both were traded to the Buffalo Sabres in the Robyn Regehr deal.
Although they’re a young team, the Kings will likely lose veteran defensemen such as Regehr and Willie Mitchell to retirement in the near future. They do have prospect Derek Forbort, who is waiting for an opportunity, but otherwise they are lacking strong, shutdown defensive prospects.
Another draft pick or two in this—or next year’s draft—would certainly help.
In a perfect world, the Kings would make a deal for a rental player. They could use someone who is at the end of his career but can still add secondary scoring and play any role, as long as he has a shot at winning the Stanley Cup.
Martin St. Louis?
That would be the ultimate pickup, but he would obviously come at a high cost. Looking at veteran forwards on teams such as the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers may be more realistic.
Elite Offensive Player
The Kings' offensive struggles have been well-documented. Aside from Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter, the Kings have not had a player produce consistently throughout the season. Not to mention their power play, which is among the worst in the league this season.
Acquiring a single player won’t change everything, but it could provide a huge boost for players like Dustin Brown or Tyler Toffoli.
It doesn't matter whether it’s a speedy center or a power forward who can slot in alongside Mike Richards. A young, talented forward would help make the Kings more of a threat heading into the playoffs.