I wrote an Early Trade Deadline Guide about a month ago and since then everything has absolutely, 100%… stayed the same. Rumors have come and gone, but the roster remains the same, for now. However, the Kings are still in the thick of the race and remain buyers come the deadline. If you’re interested in the in-depth analysis of the Kings assets, check out the first link above. After the jump, I’ll take a look at some possible targets for the Kings and who could be leaving L.A.
So let’s keep this simple; the Kings need scoring. Either in the form of a 1st line left-wing or a 2nd line center. There are obviously plenty of options out there that fit the bill, but here are some that come to mind:
Stephen Weiss – Florida Panthers, 55 GP: 15 G, 22A
Pros: Weiss is talented offensively and has a pretty decent career +/- considering he plays on a regularly losing Florida club (he’s -7 on the year and in his career). That means he would probably fit well into the Kings defensive style. He’s had 2 straight 60+ point seasons and is set to come close this year.
Cons: Tallon said when he came to Florida that he liked Weiss a lot which mean he’s probably part of their future plans. Weiss has 2 more seasons on his contract so the return would have to be sizable. Weiss also has a No Movement Clause.
Cory Stillman – Florida Panthers, 40 GP: 7G, 15A
Pros: Stillman has great setup abilities and provides great veteran leadership. He also has 2 Stanley Cups to his name and has 710 points in exactly 1,000 career NHL games. His contract is expiring so he probably could be had for a draft pick.
Cons: Stillman is 37 and isn’t having the best of seasons. Part of that is probably due to the support, or lack thereof, in Florida. Another part is that he’s 37. Cory would likely be another stop-gap for the Kings at left-wing, rather than an answer.
Milan Michalek – Ottawa Senators, 53 GP: 14G, 11A
Pros: Milan has 4 20-goal seasons under his belt. He’s a big body and should just be hitting his prime at age 26.
Cons: Milan is the last real piece of the Heatley deal, since Cheechoo was a bust. He also has 3 more years on his contract and hasn’t exactly been a hit with the Sens so far. While that could mean he’s more likely to be moved, especially in the Ottawa firesale that’s been going on, it also means he probably wouldn’t provide the type of scoring the Kings need.
Patrik Elias – New Jersey Devils, 56 GP: 14G, 29A
Pros: Patrik Elias is an All-Star, a veteran leader, and leads the Devils in scoring. He would certainly fit the mold of a top line left-wing for the Kings. With Kovalchuk and Parise at left-wing, Elias is shoved down to the 3rd line, so he might just be expendable. Not to mention the Devils need all of the salary cap relief the can get if they plan on re-signing Parise.
Cons: Well, a lot. First of all, Elias is a lifelong Devil. Second, the Devils are making a ridiculous strive to make the playoffs this year (which basically means they can only lose like 5 of their remaining 25 games) and they’ll need Elias for sure if they plan on doing it. Third, he makes $6mm a season and has 2 years on his contract, all at age 34. Not to mention the dreaded No Movement Clause.
Dustin Penner – Edmonton Oilers, 57 GP: 20G, 17A
Pros: He’s a big left-wing that can score goals. He could fit in well next to Kopitar. At 28 years old, he should be in his prime.
Cons: He’s not the speediest option and neither is Kopitar. Ideally the Kings would grab a sniper with some speed. He has another year on his contract which makes him harder to get.
Tomas Fleischmann – Colorado Avalanche, 45 GP: 12G, 19A
Pros: Fleischmann is young, 26 years old. He broke out once he got to Colorado and got more ice-time. He has the versatility to play wing or center. Fleischmann is also a fairly defensively responsible player. His contract expires at the end of the season which could make him easier to obtain.
Cons: The Avs just got him and may have him in their future plans. If the Avs still make a run at the playoffs they’ll likely want to keep him. Trading players between conference foes is also hard to pull off, unless you’re Toronto and Boston I suppose. UPDATE: I neglected to remember that Fleischmann is injured and out for the season. We’ll call that a con.
There are a lot of other options out there. For instance Clarke MacArthur and Nikolai Kulemin both play for a non-playoff team, but I think both figure to be in their future plans. Matt Moulson is on the lowly Isles, but he figures into their future as well. Moreover, there just aren’t a lot of clear sellers. Almost no one is out of the race in the Western Conference except Edmonton. In the East it’s tight as well, especially with New Jersey going for a desperation run at a playoff spot. It’s hard to guess who’s selling and who’s buying, let alone the specific players that might move.
As for the Kings, I can’t see a lot of roster players moving. Maybe Sturm, who hasn’t seen a lot of action in the first place and doesn’t quite fit the role he was brought in for. Maybe Simmonds, who has a lot of value, but the Kings seem to like him too much to move him. There are spare parts like Davis Drewiske and Peter Harrold, but they wouldn’t fetch much in return. If you’re expecting the Kings to move something for a player of value, look at their prospects. The Kings love Schenn, but his value is at an all time high after his WJC tournament. Maybe it’s Hickey or Teubert’s time to fly. Or maybe the Kings have been showcasing Lokitonov in preparation to move him? Or maybe Loktionov is pushing Stoll out of L.A.?
It’s very possible that Lombardi simply does what he did last year, trade picks for role players. We know Lombardi is not one to rush things or overpay, so it’s hard to see him doing that now, especially when the team he has is still in the fight. However, it’s undeniable; the Kings need scoring support and the trade market is where they get it. At least it’s where they get it this season.
The NHL Trade Deadline is February 28th this season. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open, with the recent flurry of trade it seems like the floodgates have opened…
About the Author
Written by Eric Cooney
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