Thursday, February 26, 2009

Kings Could Sell

This season, I still believe that one of (if not the) savviest deals made was when the Kings claimed Kyle Quincey from the Red Wings off the waiver wire, as they had significantly improved their already potential-filled blueline. As the league approaches the trade deadline and the Kings are only 4 points out of the playoffs, the embarrassment of young riches will have to be looked upon for a touch more improvement for down the stretch.

The team does hold an unlikely chance of making the playoffs, with the number of teams in the thick of things, also having four teams share the last two spots in the race, the Kings could very well be sellers at this time, but for the most part, all they are unloading are aged figures that may be able to give some chance to another Cup contending team. In the UFA crop from LA this year, Kyle Calder has to be guy that teams are calling about, offering up some mid-round Draft choices, while Sean O'Donnell and Denis Gauthier would likely be passed over as anchors, rather than motors to any team's success. Thankfully for the Kings, both players don't have to be back next season, regardless.

You have to believe that the Restricted Free Agents like Jack Johnson and possibly Erik Ersberg, will have to be addressed right away, Johnson especially. Ersberg may find himself to be a good bit of trade bait, since the Kings do have Jonathan Bernier seasoning in the AHL, possibly for a good shot at the big job in 2010.

As of right now, heading into the 2009/'10 season, the Kings have 15 valuable players (see below) signed on for next year (if not beyond) and they have them all at a reasonable price.

Anze KopitarKyle QuinceyJonathan Quick
Dustin BrownDrew Doughty
Alex FrolovPeter Harrold
Jarett StollMatt Greene
Patick O'SullivanTom Preissing
Michal Handzus

Wayne Simmonds

Oscar Moller

Raitis Ivanans

These 15 players have a salary cap hit value of $36.5 million, thanks in part to Anze Kopitar's new deal, which lifted them past any doubt of not making the salary cap floor next year. There are even a few names in the junior or minor league ranks that could possibly make the jump here right away and would greatly improve the team further (like Thomas Hickey and Colton Teubert).

If the Kings can trim their current UFAs from their roster, they do become a younger team, which will need some seasoning before they accomplish too much, but there should be a few veteran characters on the free agent wire that can help the team mature a little faster and come at a reasonable price as well.

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