While the LA Kings remain committed to the prospect pool, perhaps there’s a happy medium of acquiring an established winger to accelerate the rebuild.
While we see what the prospect pool will provide in terms of the rebuild, one of the unsolved puzzles is where the LA Kings will need to supplement their talent in either free agency or a trade. In a perfect world, every player will work out according to their projections, but we all know that’s never the case. Some players are bound to underperform, not see enough playing time, or simply just don’t fit in Todd McLellan’s system.
The Kings prospect pool is among the best in the NHL, heavy on forwards with a couple of them expected to transition to the wing if they want to remain at the NHL level or at least in LA. The majority of the Kings offensive talent pool will begin next season with the Ontario Reign, as John Hoven of Kings of the Podcast projected the Opening Night roster a while back.
Defensively, LA is expected to see Mikey Anderson, Kale Clague, and Tobias Bjornfot latch on in mostly permanent roles. Still, as John notes, Clague and Bjornfot may have to alternate time between the NHL and AHL. But with Trevor Lewis‘s expected departure in free agency and Nikolai Prokhorkin heading back to Russia, there could be a couple of spots open, offensively.
We recently saw the Maple Leafs and Penguins make a blockbuster trade this past week, and acquiring a high-end winger is going to be costly. So the Kings may have to turn their attention to an up-and-coming winger in an effort to accelerate the rebuild.
And let’s just get it out of the way now. Rob Blake is not depleting their prospect pool and draft capital for either Mitch Marner or William Nylander. That said, they could find established wingers elsewhere.