With the recent inexcusable loss of Kale Clague on waivers, the question has to be asked: What is the standard to be a King?
The LA Kings have quite a few players who have struggled. Yet, it seems like many of them have acquired tenure despite their level of play.
Let’s start with Olli Maatta. The veteran defenseman was brought in a year ago to add depth, but he has had a hard time fitting in with the Kings. During his time in LA, Maatta has tallied just six assists in 56 games, and he has also posted a -12 rating to go along with it. And yet, he remains part of the roster.
On the other hand, Kale Clague is still a young defenseman at only 23 years old with tons of upside. He tallied 5 assists in 11 games with the Kings this year and helped stabilize the blue line when both Doughty and Walker were lost to injury.
This, however, didn’t stop Clague from being put on waivers, and he was eventually claimed by the Montreal Canadiens. The Kings’ former second-round pick, who they put five years into developing, was lost for nothing.
To state it mildly, putting Clague on waivers instead of Maatta made absolutely no sense, but this isn’t the first time the organization has done things that made people question how the team is being managed.
One such example occurred last year when Todd McLellan kept sending out Kurtis MacDermid on a consistent basis even though all of the numbers showed the Kings were far and away a better team when he sat.
Another head-scratching decision is the fact that Trevor Moore is still in the lineup this year. The local player out of Thousand Oaks, CA quickly built up a fan base after the Kings acquired him.
He also had a fantastic year on the ice last season for the Kings, tallying 10 goals to go along with 13 assists in 56 games. These are solid numbers for a third-line forward, but that was last year.
This season, Moore has struggled to keep up the consistency he previously demonstrated. He has just 1 goal and 1 assist. That means he is on pace for 8 points in an 82 game season, yet the Kings seem reluctant to give anyone else a shot.
They appear to have a completely different set of standards for players like Olli Mattaa and Trevor Moore than they do for players like Martin Frk, Gabe Vilardi, and now former King Kale Clague.
Speaking of Frk, he is currently with the Ontario Reign and has totaled 10 goals and 12 assists in just 17 games. He would be a logical call-up for a team that continues to struggle with goal scoring.
You could even make a case for Alex Turcotte to be called up. Although he was recently out of the Reign’s lineup due to an injury, when he is healthy, we need to see what he can bring at the NHL level. Instead, he still has not seen NHL game action despite being the fifth overall selection in the 2019 draft, which was two and a half years ago.
The standard to be a King needs to be based on a consistently high level of play from each member on the roster. If this isn’t the goal every night, then the organization is not taking the steps necessary to become a legitimate playoff team.