LA Kings Phillip Danault

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ESPN recently came out with their free-agency grades for all 32 NHL teams. The LA Kings were among the best ranked with an A.

On Monday, ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski released his free-agency grades for all 32 NHL teams. The LA Kings are right at the top of the list, earning an ‘A’ for their off-season activity.

For the LA Kings, they made some notable key additions this off-season.

After trading for center Viktor Arvidsson, the Kings signed goaltender Garret Sparks to a minor-league deal, veteran defenseman Alex Edler to a one-year contract, and, most notably, two-way center Phillip Danault to a six-year pact worth $33 million ($5.5 million AAV).

Per Wyshynski:

“Grade: A. Just a tremendous offseason for GM Rob Blake, as he starts to really put the veteran pieces in place to supplement the prospect pool he’s amassed. There’s a lot to love about the Danault signing, as the Kings sign a center who can play up on the lineup until Byfield or Alex Turcotte are ready, and then settle in as the key to an effective checking line.

Arvidsson and Edler will help the team’s young Swedes, and if Arvidsson can regain the form he had before a couple of injurious years, he’ll be an asset. He already makes a good penalty kill better. If the youngsters are ripened, the Kings could make noise in the Pacific. If they’re not, this offseason sets the table for their eventuality as a contender.”

Each of these acquisitions is promising for the Kings. While we have yet to see how these additions will look on the ice. Arvidsson and Edler, as Wyshynski said, will help the team’s young Swedes, but also add a key veteran presence for a club that boasts one of the top prospect pools in all of hockey — including, but not limited to, Quinton Byfield, Arthur Kaliyev, and Rasmus Kupari.

Of all of these moves, though, arguably the most noteworthy has been the addition of Phillip Danault.

Some can — and have — questioned the length of the free agent’s contract, as well as the amount, but Phillip Danault has proven just how bona fide of an asset he is. This was especially the case in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs when his defensive prowess helped the Montreal Canadiens make an unexpected run to the Cup Final. En route, Danault’s defensive play spearheaded the Habs’ shutting down some of the NHL’s most daunting of offenses, including the Vegas Golden Knights in the semi-final.

Heck, the Victoriaville, Quebec, is no slouch offensively, either, scoring five goals and 19 assists in 53 games this past regular season.

As for where the Kings ranked overall in Wyshysnki’s grading pool, only the Arizona Coyotes had a better grade (A+) while sharing the ‘A’ spot with Detroit, Chicago, and New Jersey.

Overall, there is an ample amount of reason to be excited for the Kings entering the 2021-22 season, and this report only emphasizes that excitement.

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