The NHL Trade Deadline is fast approaching and the Los Angeles Kings might be one of the most active teams in the league.
The Los Angeles Kings are currently in last place in the Western Conference with only 52 points. Though they are only nine points out of the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference, the Kings should be sellers at this Monday’s trade deadline.
With that in mind, there are three players the Kings should look to trade.
One player that the Kings should look to trade immediately is Ilya Kovalchuk. Signed after a five-year stint in the KHL, the Kovalchuk experiment can be seen as a disappointment to say the very least. Kovalchuk only has 13 goals and 15 assists through 49 games this season.
He has alternated between the 1st and 4th lines this season and has a -18 rating on the team. Furthermore, with the amount of money he was given: $6.25 million over 3 years, the Kings are probably hoping for more production from him this season.
Luckily for the Kings, they may be able to trade him and recoup some assets. They will probably be able to get a 3rd or 4th round pick for him and a young winger. Some teams that may want to take a risk on him could be the New York Islanders, Calgary Flames, or possibly the Winnipeg Jets.
Another player the Kings could look to trade is 34-year-old veteran, Jeff Carter. Carter, who has been a key part of the Kings two Stanley Cups could be looking for some fresh scenery. He has only 10 goals and 15 assists through 53 games this season.
He has had trouble producing this year, but remains pretty effective on the power play as he has 12 power points on the season (tied 2nd on the team with Kopitar). His cap hit is at $5.27 million and he is under contract for 3 more years after this season.
Although, the Kings may want to part ways with him as they look toward the future and clear up some cap room. A couple of playoff teams who need scoring that may take interest in Carter could be the Dallas Stars, or possibly the Carolina Hurricanes.
Lastly, another player that teams may look into if he is available on the market could be 31-year-old defenseman, Alec Martinez. Signed at an affordable $4 million over the next two seasons, Martinez could be a veteran presence that playoff teams could be looking for.
The two time Stanley Cup Champion has a lot of grit and is great at dishing out hits and blocking shots. He also has a lot of postseason experience as he has played in 64 games.
A couple teams that could be looking for a gritty blueliner at an affordable price tag could be the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Dallas Stars. The Maple Leafs could be the most interested suitor because they stand to lose Jake Gardiner at the end of the season due to his contract ending.
With the Los Angeles Kings looking less and less likely to make the playoffs, they should trade their aging assets as soon as possible. This would free up cap room and allow some of their younger players some ice time in the NHL. Furthermore, they would be able to start a rebuild with most of their core players (Kopitar, Doughty, Quick), signed for the near future.