With the Los Angeles Kings floundering in the standings, this year’s trade deadline could be an important one for GM Dean Lombardi and the team.
Lombardi’s job may be on the line if he fails to get the Kings into the playoffs this season, so you can bet he will do whatever he can to add some firepower to his lineup.
The Kings currently rank dead last in the NHL in goals for and if that does not change under new head coach Darryl Sutter, changes will need to be made to make a push for the playoffs.
Let’s look at four players who could help the Kings move into a playoff spot.
The following trade scenarios are not based on any internet rumors; they are just possible trade targets that could help the Kings.
The biggest need the Kings have right now is at the wing position.
To say Dustin Penner has not lived up to expectations would be the understatement of the year. The Kings could use another winger to replace him.
If the Kings could work out a trade to pry Ryan Malone out of Tampa Bay, he could slide into the left wing position on the second line.
So far this year, Malone has scored seven goals and has accumulated 16 points in 28 games.
Since Tampa Bay is going nowhere in the standings, it might see Malone as an expendable piece if a mid-round pick and prospect were coming back the other way.
A 40-50 point player at best, Malone is not the ideal winger, but he does bring good size and grit to the lineup.
Drew Stafford has had a poor start to the season after a terrific end to the last one.
The winger scored 31 goals in only 62 games for the Buffalo Sabres last season, but has only six in 32 games this season.
A change of scenery might be just what he needs to get back on track.
He has had only one good season so far in his career, so it is tough to judge what his value would be on the trade market.
Also, the Sabres are in a similar situation to the Kings. Buffalo is also pushing to secure a bottom seed in the playoff picture and may want a roster player instead of picks/prospects in return for Stafford.
Ales Hemsky has been hampered by injuries again this season.
If the Kings are willing to gamble on his health, it could be worth the risk—especially since his contract expires at the end of the year.
If the price is right, a trade for the right winger could work out well for the Kings.
If the injuries pile up, or he does not appear to fit in with the club, Lombardi could let him walk at the end of the year.
While he has not enjoyed a good start to the 2011-2012 campaign, Hemsky is usually close to a point-per-game player when healthy.
At 28, he has three seasons of at least 60 points. However, he has not played at least 70 games in a season since 2008-2009.
He is a great playmaker with superb offensive instincts and would provide a boost to LA’s anemic offense.
The way St. Louis is playing right now, it may not want to make any changes.
Chris Stewart has not enjoyed the same success his team has.
With his size and scoring touch (should he regain it), Stewart would be a great fit as a power forward on the Kings' second line
At 24, he also has plenty of upside, so the Blues may be reluctant to trade him at this point in his career.