5 Players the Los Angeles Kings Would Make Available in an NHL Expansion Draft
Speculation has swirled in recent months about the possibility of the NHL adding at least two teams. If it were to happen, the other 30 teams would likely be faced with a similar situation as in 2000, when the last two NHL teams were added.
Teams had the option of protecting one goaltender, five defensemen and nine forwards or two goaltenders, three defensemen and seven forwards.
Assuming another expansion draft would operate under similar rules, this is a look at five players the Kings would make available for the draft.
Martin Jones is a solid young netminder with the potential to be a starter. But, with Jonathan Quick locked up long term there is no reason to keep another goaltender, no matter how good he may be.
On top of that, the Kings are built to win now. Protecting two goaltenders would mean they would have to give up more defensemen and forwards, which would cripple their ability to be a dominant puck-possession team.
The 6'4" Jones wouldn't be a bad player to start building a team in front of, despite his limited NHL experience. He's played just 19 games but has incredible numbers with a 12-6 record, .934 save percentage, 1.81 goals-against average and four shutouts.
He is set to enter the second year of a two-year, $1.1 million contract.
Matt Greene may be the toughest to let go for a few reasons.
He is an established leader on the team, having been named an alternate captain back in 2008. He's signed to a long-term contract. Most importantly, he offers great size at 6'3", 234 pounds and is a strong shutdown defender.
That said, the Kings have a number of young defenders who are more versatile and have now proven themselves in the playoffs. This includes Alec Martinez and Jake Muzzin. The pair are entering the final year of their contracts, and letting go of Green means letting go of a $2.5 million cap hit. That's money that could go to re-signing the pair.
Also, Greene has been hampered by injuries the past two seasons, making him more expendable than other blueliners.
It's the easy answer. Jeff Schultz is a 28-year-old defenseman who spent his entire career in Washington with the Capitals before suiting up for the Manchester Monarchs last season.
The Kings' top five blueliners are locked in. If there was a expansion draft tomorrow, they would protect Drew Doughty, Slava Voynov, Martinez, Muzzin and Robyn Regehr.
After being bought out by the Capitals, and not playing a single game for L.A. in the regular season, Schultz did appear in seven playoff games. He played well considering the circumstances but not well enough to earn a regular spot.
Schultz is entering the first year of a two-year, $1.7 million contract.
A former first-round selection back in 2006, Trevor Lewis has spent his entire career in L.A. He hasn't turned out to be a productive offensive player by any stretch, but he has been a staple on the bottom six the past four years.
That's why he would be made available.
He's entering the first year of a two-year, $3.05 million contract. To some it may seem like the Kings overpaid a bit, but considering Mike Richards spent significant time on the fourth line last season, it's hard to criticize this deal.
Lewis has just 48 points in 276 career games, but you know what to expect each night. A hard-working, disciplined approach from a player who won't get caught deep and will sacrifice his body in the defensive zone.
Dwight King just signed a three-year, $5.85 million contract. Unfortunately, because the Kings are so deep up front, they would be forced to give up a young, talented player like King.
The 25-year-old put up 15 goals and 15 assists for a career-high 30 points in 77 games. He added 11 points in the playoffs. His greatest asset is his size. At 6'4", 230 pounds, it's difficult to outwork him in the corners or clear him from the front of the net.
Letting King go would mean the Kings could keep their two dynamic youngsters in Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson. There's a strong argument to be made that they are the future of the franchise.