Do the LA Kings need to trade a defenseman? A look at the blue line

A former basic supervisor as soon as instructed me that a workforce wanted 10 defensemen to get via a full NHL season. Injuries are a given. Replacements should step up. Changes are made due to efficiency or matchups. Call-ups will fill in from time to time. Trades might even happen.

The Kings used 14 gamers on their again finish final season on the means to their first playoff berth since 2018. They went via all these angles. Through some wondrous mixing and matching by assistant coach Trent Yawney and yeoman’s work of the blue line to cowl for the late-season damage to Drew Doughty, the membership not solely secured its berth however managed to take three video games from eventual Western Conference finalist Edmonton in practically profitable his first postseason collection since the second Stanley Cup triumph in 2014.

Teams by no means return of their entirety from 12 months to 12 months and the Kings have made modifications to the protection corps over the summer time. Olli Määttä = signed with Detroit and Troy Stecher is now with Arizona. Austin Strand is in Anaheim’s group. Meanwhile, Kale Clague is lengthy gone and Christian Wolanin has moved on.

Nine defensemen stay and that is not together with high-valued prospects Brandt Clarke and Helge Grans, who’ll make their bids to pressure their means into the 2022-23 dialog. The depth was so nice that Kings basic supervisor Rob Blake may half with Brock Faber in his profitable quest to usher in Kevin Fiala.

But solely six can play at one time – until you are Tampa Bay’s Jon Cooper and are a fan of rolling with seven defenders and 11 forwards. Teams will say that you could by no means have too many defensemen and the Kings proved that idea final season. Players need to be on the ice, nonetheless, and the return of Doughty and Sean Walker to the blue line will solely ramp up the competitors for ice time when camps open subsequent month.

Two of them – Mikey Anderson and Sean Durzi – don’t have contracts as of now. There is greater than sufficient time for the Kings to get extensions executed with each. But there may be additionally time to take into account if a transfer have to be made to alleviate a crowded a part of the workforce. Consider that the Kings have what CapFriendly estimates is simply $1.5 million of wage cap area after shelling out greater than $55 million over seven years for Fiala and $22 million over 4 years to retain main objective scorer Adrian Kempe.

Do the Kings have to trade a defenseman at some level? Or can Blake, Yawney and head coach Todd McLellan handle their lot as successfully as they did in 2021-22? Let’s take a look.

Drew Doughty

Age: 32

2022-23 wage: $11 million ($4 million paid out in a signing bonus)

Odds of being moved: 0 %

Let’s see, Doughty is well on the quick checklist of the best defensemen – to be actual, gamers – in Kings historical past. He’s an alternate captain with a full no-move clause, is one in all the final hyperlinks to the Cup years and remains to be at the entrance of a workforce prepared to cycle again up. Next.

Mikey Anderson

Age: 23

2022-23 wage: Unsigned RFA (Finished his entry-level contract, which had a $925,000 cap hit)

Odds of being moved: 0.2 %

With an excellent higher 12 months from the former Minnesota Duluth standout in 2022-23, he’ll begin gaining extra consideration league-wide as a defensive-minded shutdown artist. One ought to by no means say by no means and if a extended holdout scenario have been to surprisingly materialize, who is aware of what might occur if frosty emotions come up? But even these issues have a tendency to work themselves out. (equivalent to with Doughty in 2011.) What is extra doubtless is Anderson being a fixture in the LA protection corps for a lot of extra years.

Matt Roy

Age: 27

2022-23 wage: $3.25 million

Odds of being moved: 10 %

Slotted as the second right-shot defender behind Doughty, Roy is in the center of a three-year contract with a $3.15 million cap hit. His trade proportion may rise if we have been getting into 2023-24 and there have been no extension in place. But his stabilizing two-way presence and penalty-killing capability permit the Kings to proceed creating their youthful rearguards at a measured tempo.

Sean Durzi

Age: 23

2022-23 wage: Unsigned RFA (Finished his entry-level contract, which had a $925,000 cap hit)

Odds of being moved: 25 %

With Doughty and Walker anticipated to be prepared for the begin of the season, Durzi may see a few of the expanded alternatives he very ably embraced final season. Even with Faber gone, there stays a plethora of proper pictures on the membership and in the system. The now-tight cap match and necessity to signal Anderson may make it robust to squeeze him in. But Durzi is not afraid to make performs and confirmed he can present some offensive punch whereas additionally main the membership with 121 blocked pictures. A one-year, bet-on-myself contract may set him up for a whole lot if he will get a lot of enjoying time and delivers.

Sean Walker

Age: 27

2022-23 wage: $3 million

Odds of being moved: 30 %

Walker tore his ACL and MCL in final season’s sixth recreation. Months of rehab later, the former Bowling Green captain and undrafted blueliner will look to resume his inconceivable NHL profession after carving out a sizable function the earlier two years. What will assistance is that he can play the left facet although he is one in all their many right-handers. But with the Kings probably in need of some cap area to carve out, Walker’s $2.65-million cap quantity may open some room. If he can regain his kind, he’ll be helpful to the Kings – or to a workforce that may use a confirmed minutes-muncher at a cheap charge with one other 12 months left on his contract.

Alex Edler

Age: 36

2022-23 wage: $750,000

Odds of being moved: 15 %

It was a sensible transfer to convey again the extremely succesful 16-year veteran and it was even higher to do it for such a low value. Edler might be a priceless piece to use as wanted and will get to the 1,000-game mark in an LA sweater. But if the season goes horribly sideways, he might be somebody who may fetch a return if there’s a deal to a contender and he is keen to waive his no-move clause.

Jordan Spence

Age: 21

2022-23 wage: $842,500 NHL/$70,000 AHL (Can earn up to $82,500 in efficiency bonuses)

Odds of being moved: 5 %

Who had Spence logging 24 video games with the membership final season (whereas moreover enjoying at an exceedingly excessive degree in the AHL)? He has a vibrant future in the NHL and his entry-level deal doesn’t expire till 2024. Ordinarily, there could be zero purpose to deal him. The one rub is that he is perhaps the type of piece you half with when you’re wanting to add a difference-maker at the trade deadline and cargo up for a Cup run.

Tobias Björnfot

Age: 21

2022-23 wage: $832,500 NHL/$70,000 AHL (Can earn up to $262,500 in efficiency bonuses)

Odds of being moved: 20 %

Björnfot’s 2021-22 season was uneven, to say the least. He’s on the closing 12 months of his entry deal and that is a season through which the Swede ought to present that he cannot solely win a job on the left facet however safe the full belief of the teaching workers. He’s waiver-exempt and could be despatched to the AHL with out the fear of a declare. Others in all probability have extra worth than him in a trade proper now and he is too younger to surrender on. But this might be a season to put himself in the Kings’ long-term planning.

Brandt Clarke

Age: 19

2022-23 wage: $925,000 NHL (Can earn up to $850,000 in efficiency bonuses)

Odds of being moved: 0 %

There is a long-term view when it comes to Clarke and it will make no sense to transfer the No. 8 choose of the 2021 draft, who had 59 factors in 55 video games for his second OHL season (the Nepean, Ontario, native led the Barrie Colts in scoring). Chances are on the slim facet that he’ll unseat somebody in the prime six in the most important camp, however Clarke’s excessive ceiling may probably make him a potential alternative for Doughty down the line as he ages and matures into a top-four, if not top-pairing, function.

Jacob Moverare

Age: 23

2022-23 wage: $750,000 NHL/$325,000 AHL (Will obtain a assured $350,000 minimal)

Odds of being moved: 2 %

One of those that supplied some strong work in a pinch final season, Moverare was signed for 2 extra years in June on a deal that’s two-way in nature for 2022-23 and switches to one-way in 2023-24. Finding time with the massive membership might be more durable to do that season, however until he seeks extra of a chance elsewhere, he’ll proceed to be a good depth piece for the Kings.

(Photo of Sean Durzi: Andy Devlin / NHLI by way of Getty Images)

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