LA Kings General Manager Rob Blake gave a press conference on Wednesday after introducing new King Phillip Danault. Here are some of the highlights of what he had to say.
On why the LA Kings zoned in on Danault in free agency.
I think, obviously, positional, you know, solidifying the middle with Kopitar being here and being in a situation he is in the minutes he plays and all over the ice, you know, to be able to partner that as a one-two punch down the middle with the younger centerman that we have coming through the next few years. We really feel we’ve solidified the middle of the ice there.
On whether he views the Danault signing as a chance to spread out some of the “difficult” minutes typically played by Anze Kopitar?
No, I think it just makes us better. That was the whole idea, was to get better this summer. We want to build through the middle of the defense and continue to get better in different positions of need that we feel, and we just thought this was the right step for the organization.
Welcome to Los Angeles, Phillip Danault!
The LA Kings have signed the forward to a six-year contract.
— LA Kings (@LAKings) July 28, 2021
On how hard it was not to dip into the prospect pool or future draft picks to make the team better.
I don’t know if it’s difficult. You look at all different scenarios and you’ve got to be open, but to be able to get better and, you know, the situations we were in, we had to expand draft picks. We went into the free-agent market to fill a couple of other needs on our team, so we’ll explore that. But, on the same token, we get time to watch these prospects. Like I said, I don’t think there was a full American League season, [so] we’ll be able to watch them grow, and we’ll also see our team and understand the needs as we go forward.
On the signing of Alex Edler.
Blake also noted the signing of former Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler solidifies the left side of the Kings defense. He believes that as far as the forward prospects go, it is more likely that some of the centers become wingers, as opposed to the wingers becoming centers.