Here is the 2nd installment of our expanded NHL Trade Deadline coverage. We’ll be posting team outlooks leading up to trade deadline over the next couple weeks from a variety of contributing writers.
Needs: Nothing but a scorer will do. Although ranked last in offense, Los Angeles is in the top eight in the West due to the stellar work by goaltender Jonathan Quick, the team’s clear cut MVP. With 20 of the Kings final 32 games on the road, their margin for error is miniscule and they must deal for a top six finishing forward in order to qualify for the post season. With the heat on GM Dean Lombardi from ownership to win now, he will likely have to broker a blockbuster along the line of the Mike Richards trade to overcome the lack of production from Dustin Penner and Jarret Stoll, a natural center shuttled to the wing on the second line but unproductive.
In order to bring back a player of that caliber, the Kings will have to deal from their strength, defense and goaltending with Jack Johnson and Jonathan Bernier the assets being offered to the market. While they’d take a producer on either wing, the gaping hole that exists on the left side has not been filled since the departure of Ryan Smyth over the summer. They have over $ 3 million of cap space availability, so to bring in a high priced player for half a season is doable even without a roster player departing. Injured Simon Gagne is not close to being ready and there is increasing talk that he will be landing on Long Term Injured Reserve prior to the deadline for further cap relief. There is some chatter of interest in New Jersey’s Zach Parise given the Devils reported precarious financial standing but the cost of Dustin Brown and Bernier may only occur if Kings drop out of the top eight in the next month.