With the trade deadline fast approaching, the armchair general managers of the LA Kings fanbase are now beginning to throw out their trade proposals for any player that’s available on the market.
Although it would be nice to see some big-name players get moved to Los Angeles, it’ll cost the Kings some expensive assets. Luckily for the Kings, they may be able to afford specific players using their deep prospect pool that they’ve managed to create over the past few years.
Even if the idea of moving out star prospects to acquire current stars may hurt the future, it’s worth taking a look into which prospects in the Kings’ system could be moved.
So today, we’ll go over some players who have seen their value rise. There will be players who won’t be on this list (such as Brandt Clarke, Martin Chromiak, and Helge Grans) because their stock hasn’t gone up, nor has it gone down. They’ve been solidly rated and their value hasn’t been impacted too much.
Ever since Gabriel Vilardi had been sent down to LA’s AHL team, the Ontario Reign, he’s torn the league up. Now with 34 points in 32 games, Vilardi is on pace to finish the AHL season with 30 goals and 64 points in 60 games. If that isn’t impressive for the former first-round pick, then what is?
With teams like the Arizona Coyotes gaining interest in the 22-year-old, it may cause other teams to ask about the forward:
Things getting interesting in LA.— Dennis Bernstein (@DennisTFP) February 20, 2022
Kings 6-1-2 in last 9 and in thick of playoff race.
Sources telling us they're gearing up pursuit of Jakob Chychrun.
Coyotes love LAK prospect pool, specific interest in Gabe Vilardi.
More from @TheFourthPeriod https://t.co/pWVoBz6L9b
With 12 points in his last ten games, Vilardi’s looked like an NHLer. The former first-round pick has appeared in 71 NHL games with Los Angeles and has recorded 32 points.
You may remember how good Vilardi was heading into the 2017 NHL entry draft. Going into his 2016-17 campaign, he recorded 38 points in 62 games with the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL. His name appeared as high as first overall on the draft rankings, but due to unfortunate injuries, Vilardi fell to 11th overall where the Kings nabbed him.
Due to his age, some NHL experience, and his impressive AHL production, there will be teams looking into Vilardi. Could he be the centerpiece of a Jakob Chychrun trade?
Jordan Spence’s transition into professional hockey took time to settle, but ever since he found his rhythm with the Reign, he’s excelled in more ways than one.
The rookie defenseman has now appeared in 41 games for Ontario, recording 34 assists and 37 points. The former fourth-round pick is projected to finish the AHL season with 59 points, which would put him 5th on the team in scoring.
Spence has seven points in his last five games and has 13 points in his previous ten. It’s worth noting that many of those points are with the man-advantage, but he’s managed to find himself a home on the first powerplay unit.
Out of all AHL defensemen, Spence is currently second in points, just 4 points away from Colorado Eagles defenseman Jordan Gross.
Despite only having two goals on the season, Spence is responsible for creating countless goals for Ontario.
According to Sean O’Brien’s data, Spence has been one of the most productive offensive defensemen in the AHL, whilst playing a very moderate and responsible defensive aspect to the game.
With his outstanding rookie season in the AHL at just 21, his stock has undeniably skyrocketed this season. I wouldn’t be too keen on moving him, though. He’s been so impressive, and instead of trading him, the Kings should bet on this young talent for the future.
Here’s another player who had a rocky start to the AHL season, but has found his game of late. In Tyler Madden‘s first 15 games of the season, he had only four goals and eight points. The 22-year-old though has found his game and managed to pick up his scoring pace.
With eight points in his last seven games, Madden’s finishing and playmaking ability have fully translated to the AHL. His speed, hands, and space generating skill have boosted his ability to produce.
Pulling off moves like that wasn’t out of the ordinary for Madden in college and he’s finally adjusted to creating plays like that with the Reign. Having 30 points in 42 games he’s started to become much more consistent. It feels like every time you look at the scoresheet, his name pops up.
Madden is still likely a ways away from the NHL, but he’s going to get there. His game is improving in his first full professional season.
Jaret Anderson-Dolan has been in and out of the LA Kings’ lineup in the past 4 years while maintaining a steady point pace in the AHL. The former 2017 second-round pick has exploded with the Reign this season, recording 35 points in 38 games. This includes 12 points in his last ten games, with eight of those being goals.
Still just 22, Anderson-Dolan seems to just be getting started. His increase in points this year has shown his strive to improve and how he could be one of those late bloomer prospects who get better with more AHL seasoning.
JAD does have some NHL experience under his belt as well. He’s picked up 12 points in 45 games dating back to the 2018-19 season.
His goal-scoring ability has skyrocketed, with 19 of his 35 points being goals. He was a scorer at the NHL level too, with seven goals in 34 games last season. Although he’s shown the ability to finish, his defensive game isn’t perfect. When he was in the NHL for that 34 game stint in 2020-21, his defense was sub-par:
Much like his scoring ability though, it has improved. He’s looking much more confident in the back end and his stick checking has improved. It’s not where it needs it to be, but it continues to get better.
With his scoring and playmaking ability, JAD’s value has surely gone up. It stands to reason general managers across the league may draw interest in the 22-year-old.
These players are some of the prospects in the LA system who have had their stock rise. In reality, most of the Kings’ prospects have improved their game. Some players are starting to take that extra leap into the NHL, while others are slowly climbing up the ranks. The Kings are looking like they’ve finally finished their rebuild, while many of their prospects are still developing. Some of these prospects may be moved at the deadline, but at this stage of the rebuild, the Kings are starting to shift their focus to making the playoffs.