Los Angeles Kings

Print Share


Your (Early) Kings Trade Deadline Guide

The Kings are in a state of disrepair to a certain degree.  It’s not awful, although one might be inclined to feel that way with their recent set of losses.  Yet, there is hope that the addition of 1 or 2 key pieces can change the Kings’ fortunes, and if you’re 1 or 2 pieces away from success, you’re not in a terrible place.  Whether or not those 1 or 2 pieces will actually fix anything is simply speculation.

So, let’s take a look at what the Kings need, what the Kings have, and the likelihood of departure for certain assets.  That sounds boring… let’s see who might get traded!

First off, I want to acknowledge that all of the Kings problems are not player related and simply swapping out pieces isn’t going to solve everything.  That said, let’s talk about those pieces.

What do the Kings need?

The biggest needs are a 2nd line center and a 1st line left-wing.  Right now the 1st line left-wing is occupied by (insert forward here).  The Kings have tried just about everyone at this position but no one has stuck.  The Kings would like to find a long-term addition to fill this role, but if it’s addressed at the trade deadline this year it’s more likely going to be a rental.

Although the role is constantly in flux, let’s say currently the 1st line left-wing is Marco Sturm since that’s what he was brought in for.  He provides some veteran experience and decent scoring contribution, but the Kings need a goal scorer with reliability.

As for 2nd line center, that role has seen some shuffling of late as well but for the most part it has been Jarret Stoll.  Stoll has been unable to score with consistency for the Kings, but at least his versatility is useful.  If it weren’t for his ability to play the point on the power play and his ability to win faceoffs, Stoll’s contributions would be greatly diminished.


In a perfect world?   A guy like James Neal at left-wing.  I’m not saying the Kings should go after him because there isn’t a chance in the world Dallas gives him up, but a guy like Neal.

At 2nd line center?  Philly has Giroux, Briere, Richards, and Carter listed as centers.  Granted, they float around and play wing as well, but wouldn’t it be nice to have one of them?  Again, not bloody likely.

More likely?

As for left-wing, it’s more likely the Kings pick up a rental like Cory Stillman, Sergei Samsonov, or Antti Miettinen.  These guys are pending UFAs, moderately productive, and potentially will not receive offers from their current clubs in the summer.

At 2nd line center, look for another rental.  On the higher end, someone like Tim Connolly and on the low end someone like Todd White.

Why rentals?

Lombardi doesn’t like to waste assets and GMs know that the trade deadline is the worst time to do long-term spending.  The prices for players are very high and teams are expected to fork up a lot for a rental, let alone a player with years on a contract.  With the Kings lack of wingers in the system ready to step into a 1st line role, I’d expect the vacancy to hopefully be addressed long-term, in the off-season.  Be it by trade or by UFA signing, it’s doubtful to be addressed long-term at the trade deadline.

As for 2nd line center, it will likely be a rental because the Kings DO have guys ready to step up and steal that role.  Brayden Schenn had a bonkers WJC tournament, with 18 points in 7 games.  As cited by Quisp at JFTC, Andrei Loktionov is having a fantastic year in Manchester as well.  With those guys waiting, it’s unlikely the Kings will opt for a long-term center replacement.

What do the Kings have to offer?

Well, quite a bit actually.  The Kings currently have 10 pending free agents on their roster, 5 of them Restricted Free Agents and 5 of them Unrestricted Free Agents.  I can also see the Kings attempting to move some pieces that are under contract.

Free Agents?

Free agents tend to be the most likely players to be moved.  I’ve listed all of the FAs on the Kings roster, despite how unlikely it will be that some are traded.  For instance, I’ve listed Doughty even though he won’t be moved.

(DISCLAIMER: The “Odds he gets traded” evaluation is not based on rumors.  It’s merely an assessment of how likely the Kings would be willing to part with that player, coupled with how desirable that player would be to another team.)

Michal Handzus -

Position: 3rd Line Center

Contract Status: UFA, summer of 2011

Retention Value: Decent.  The Kings like his play as a shutdown, 3rd line center.  Leadership, Faceoffs and Special Teams ability are a plus.  However, his speed is an issue as well as Schenn and Loktionov poised to take his spot.

Trade Value: Good.  ‘Zus is a good veteran leader and could provide stability down the middle for a contender that needs some defensive help from their forwards.

Odds he gets traded: Moderate.

Justin Williams -

Position: 2nd Line Right-Wing

Contract Status: UFA, summer of 2011

Retention Value: Very Good.  Williams is having a bounce-back year and provides speed, grit, and scoring.  Williams is also one of the few Kings with a Stanley Cup Ring (Carolina ’06).  With the Kings lack of scoring, Williams is an attractive player to re-sign.  However, how much will he want after his bounce-back year?

Trade Value: Very Good.  With an expiring contract and renewed scoring touch, Williams is a prototypical rental player.  However, don’t expect the Kings to give up such an important scoring forward while they’re still in the hunt.

Odds he gets traded: Low.

Alexei Ponikarovsky -

Position: 3rd Line Left-Wing

Contract Status: UFA, summer of 2011

Retention Value: Poor.  Ponikarovsky was, in essence, brought in to replace Frolov’s presence on the 3rd line.  However, he has struggled to produce and has been in Terry Murray’s doghouse more than once, not to mention missing games to injury.  It’s more likely that Lombardi will look to spend the $3.2mm Alexei is making elsewhere.

Trade Value: Decent – Good.  His contract status is low risk and there is always the chance that a change of scenery will do him good.  He provides size and the potential to score.  However his run with Pittsburgh last year as a rental was less than successful.  Teams looking for a 3rd line left-wing might take a flier on Poni.

Odds he gets traded: Moderate.

Marco Sturm –

Position: 1st Line Left-Wing (sort of)

Contract Status: UFA, summer of 2011

Retention Value: Decent.  Sturm has experience, decent scoring ability, and has a history with Dean Lombardi.  However, if Sturm is retained it is more likely that he fill the 3rd line spot vacated by Ponikarovsky than the 1st line spot vacated by, well, himself.  He might have competition for that spot in Scott Parse.  Parse is under contract (at a good price) for 2011-12 and if the team is bent on giving him a chance, the 3rd line might be a good place.

Trade Value: Good.  Sturm has shown some production in his short time in L.A.  If the Kings are looking for a better option at 1st Line Left-Wing, Sturm could be the odd-man out.  I find this unlikely though considering he was just brought in.  Still, Sturm could fetch a decent return or free up cap-space to nab a 2nd Line Center.

Odds he gets traded: Low.

Peter Harrold -

Position: 7th Defenseman, Utility Player

Contract Status: UFA, summer of 2011

Retention Value: Poor.  Harrold has been a good utility player, jumping into defensive and winger roles during his tenure with the Kings.  However, the Kings might look at Drewiske as their 7th Defenseman since he is already under contract at a very affordable price.

Trade Value: Decent.  He’s a utility player/7th defenseman.  He’ll more likely be a throw in come trade time, if he’s traded at all, but I’d expect to see him play (sit) the year out with the Kings and hit the market come summer.

Odds he gets traded: Low.

Brad Richardson –

Position: 4th Line Center/Utility Forward

Contract Status: RFA, summer of 2011

Retention Value: Very Good.  Richardson is incredibly versatile and occasionally has stretches of top-6 level play.  However, Richardson has yet to lock down a top-6 role, despite his desires to do so.  If he continues to desire this role but feels he won’t get the chance in L.A., he might not accept an offer.  That said, the Kings seem to like Richardson, and Richardson seems to like the Kings.

Trade Value: Good.  Richardson provides speed and grit.  Teams in need of a versatile forward who can plug in at wing or center might make a pitch for Richie.

Odds he gets traded: Moderate.

Wayne Simmonds –

Position: 3rd Line Right-Wing

Contract Status: RFA, summer of 2011

Retention Value: Great.  Simmonds is a burgeoning top-6 forward.  He’s mostly seen time on the 3rd line, likely to both take advantage of and develop his defensive play.  He’s had some good mentors in L.A. with Ryan Smyth and Michal Handzus and has the makings of a power forward.  He may still be a while off his target potential, but his numbers this year should make him easier to retain.

Trade Value: Very Good.  Other teams know Simmonds could soon be a real gamer and the rumors that he’ll be moved are non-stop.  Teams may try to take advantage of the fact that Simmonds value is relatively low due to mediocre production, but the chances of Lombardi getting fleeced on Simmonds are low.  Lombardi values Simmonds quite highly.

Odds he gets traded: Moderate to Low.

Trevor Lewis –

Position: 4th Line Center/Utility Winger

Contract Status: RFA, summer of 2011

Retention Value: Very Good.  Many wondered if Lewis would ever crack the Kings roster, and Lewis has finally done so.  He’s proven to be a speedy, gritty utility player, much like Richardson.  Although he doesn’t necessarily live up to his 1st Round Pick Pedigree, he’s proven to be a 4th liner for sure with 3rd line potential.

Trade Value: Decent.  Lewis brings some energy and grit, but the return would likely not be any better than simply re-signing Lewis come this summer.

Odds he gets traded: Low.

Drew Doughty –

Position: 1A Defenseman

Contract Status: RFA, summer of 2011

Retention Value: Great.  He’s the franchise defenseman.  Doughty isn’t just a big piece of this team’s structure, he’s the foundation.

Trade Value: Great.  But he won’t get traded.

Odds he gets traded: A snowballs chance in Hell.

Alec Martinez –

Position: 6th Defenseman

Contract Status: RFA, summer of 2011

Retention Value: Very Good.  Martinez wasn’t the front-runner to take a job on the Kings blue line this past summer with guys like Muzzin, Hickey, and Drewiske leading the pack, but Martinez stole the show.  He’s got some puck moving skill, can play the point on the power play, and sports decent size as well.  He should be affordable and any opening on the blue line come this summer will be his to lose.

Trade Value: Decent.  The sources for good 3rd pair defensemen are many.  Teams will likely look elsewhere before shelling out more than they’d like on a young, RFA defenseman.  If Martinez is moved, it’ll be as part of a package, but I doubt it will happen.

Odds he gets traded: Low.

Non-FAs mentioned in rumors?

These are guys whose names keep popping up, which isn’t necessarily a “If there’s smoke, there’s fire” situation, but I suppose it means there’s kindling.

Jarret Stoll –

Position: 2nd Line Center

Contract Status: Signed through 2012

Retention Value: Good, mostly by virtue of the fact that he has another year on his contract.  The Kings know what Stoll brings to the table but they’re looking for more.  If the Kings can’t move Stoll, he’ll hold the fort as 2nd Line Center, or be dropped to the 3rd Line as Loktionov or maybe Schenn takes the 2nd Line spot next season.

Trade Value: Decent.  If a team needs depth down the middle, a forward that can QB the power play, and a faceoff guru, Stoll is a good target.  However, there is more for teams to lose with Stoll’s contract status and the possibility that he’ll be mired in the same offensive slump he is with the Kings.

Odds he gets traded: Moderate.

Dustin Brown -

Position: 1st Line Right-Wing

Contract Status: Signed through 2015

Retention Value: Great.  I’m listing Dustin here because his name keeps coming up in rumors.  He’s affordable, he’s a gritty player that provides physicality, scoring, and leadership.  The fact alone that Brown is Captain makes me highly doubt his departure.  Unless he was a bad guy to have in the locker room, moving Brown would hurt this team’s morale.

Trade Value: Great.  He’s a desirable power-forward.  The return for Brown would have to be substantial.

Odds he gets traded: Very Low.

Matt Greene -

Position: 3rd Pair Defenseman

Contract Status: Signed through 2015

Retention Value: Very Good.  A strong, physical defenseman.  There’s nothing complicated about his game.  Greene is heart and soul, and provides leadership.  Oh, and comic relief.

Trade Value: Good, but he’ll require a good return.  I only mention Greene because I’ve seen his name come up in rumors, but I doubt he’ll depart.

Odds he gets traded: Low.

Prospects with value?

In my mind there are two ways that prospects factor in; either as stand alone pieces due to their high value or as add-ons to sweeten a deal.

Guys like Schenn, Loktionov, Voynov, and even Moller could be targets.  Of those guys, Moller and Voynov would be the two I could see leaving.  Moller because he hasn’t stuck with the team in what seems like many attempts, and Voynov due to the Kings depth and lack of openings at defense.  Voynov would require a good return, Moller’s value has likely suffered a little due to his failure to nail down a spot in the lineup.

As for Schenn and Loktionov, since both are pushing for limited center spots on the big club, the Kings might feel like it’s time to sell one off while the value is high.  However, Lombardi is one to hang onto assets rather than unload them.

Is now the time to sell on Hickey?  Will he garner any attention from a team looking for a power play quarterback?  Does he figure into the Kings plans with the blue line so stocked?

Where do the Kings stand?

Heading toward the trade deadline, the Kings will most likely be buyers.  I won’t say making the playoffs is a must, but it would seriously damage confidence to miss out.  While Lombardi is preaching that they need to “stay the course“, don’t rule out an addition of some sort, even if it’s a small addition like Halpern and Modin last season.

You may notice that no player had “good” odds of being traded.  That’s because I don’t feel as though any player is the right combination of expendable to the Kings and valuable as an addition to someone else.  Predicting trades is a difficult business and things usually turn out different than expected, or simply underwhelming.  Kings fans should expect something to go down as the deadline approaches, but don’t expect a blockbuster deal.

Who do you think the Kings will add/subtract?

About the Author Subscribe to author's RSS feed
Written by
Eric Cooney was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina, and lives in Los Angeles, CA. He shares his thoughts on the NHL as one man who is a northerner, southerner, east coaster, and west coaster. Follow him on Twitter @EricCooney

Tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


In response to “Your (Early) Kings Trade Deadline Guide”

  1. David Jan 20 20112:02 pm


    Wow – considering all the hype and fanciful blogs, comments etc about the Kings trading for players this is the first one that puts it all into perspective. A well wriiten critique of the Kins needs.

  2. Shane Hoopfer Jan 20 201111:30 pm


    There is a guy here in Calgary that wears uniform #12 that could be made available for the right price. (I do doubt he would get dealt but it’s not impossible)

    1. Eric Cooney Jan 21 201112:16 am


      I know you’re not the GM there, Shane, but make me an offer! Just for kicks.

  3. Mario Jan 21 201110:23 am


    Hey guys; there are lots of talks about a deal for Flames #12 in Montreal too. Don’t count the Habs out if the Flames are willing to trade their captain in a rebuilding move.

  4. Raj Jan 25 20119:54 am


    Nice article! I too see LA adding soon to be UFA at the deadline if they are in contention. Depending on how there teams are doing I can see LA interested in guys like Brunette, Morrison,Sullivan or maybe ideally Selanne.

    When LA misses out on Semin I think they would be wise to go after players like Leino or Sullivan as UFA. Both should be 25-30 goal guys playing 1st line LW. Leino also had a very strong playoff last yr. Maybe even Zherdev as an UFA. He does have his short comings but on a pure skill level he would be tops in LA. A pure sniper with size and great one on one moves.

    I also see LA trading with Carolina. Maybe a Voynov or Teubert for Gleason deal. Gleason, Greene and Scuderi would give LA 3 very tough dmen. At only 27 Gleason also fits in long term and would likely be signed to an extension with Mitchell coming off the books in 2012.

    2011-12 lineup

    Westgarth and Lewis



Add Your Comment