The trade deadline is now just three weeks away. The LA Kings sit in second place in the Pacific Division, and they have won five of their last six. Many insiders, however, believe that they are in the market for a left-handed D-man and possibly a scoring winger. But with the way they have been playing in the majority of their games lately, a deadline deal could create more questions than answers, given the Kings’ current place in the Division.
Other than last night’s performance against Boston (those types of games happen once in a while to every team and should not necessarily discount their recent impressive run), the Kings seem to have four lines firing on all cylinders simultaneously. Their lineup is finally seeing a level of consistency that they have been searching for quite some time.
Head coach Todd McLellan recently spoke about possibly making a move and about his team as a whole, “There’s so many pros and cons to doing it, both ways. I like our team right now, I think everybody’s important. I think everybody’s found a role.”
This is the Kings’ dilemma. Should they keep their current team unchanged or look to solidify their roster for potentially years to come?
The Kings have been rumored to be in on Jakob Chychrun, the 23-year-old defenseman currently on the Arizona Coyotes (this should be the only move realistically under consideration). He currently has a very affordable contract and three years of term left on it. The Kings want more scoring out of the blueline, and the Coyotes player just might be the solution.
What are the LA Kings’ options? If they make the deal for Chychrun without including any current defenseman (which they very well could do), the defensive corps will be long jammed with lefty d-men. Some may argue that this is a good problem to have, but the costs of the deal and the chemistry of the current team must be considered.
The coaching staff will already have decisions to make about their roster with players returning from IR as the season progresses. According to General Manager Rob Blake, Alex Edler is expected to be back in the lineup sometime late next month. This means a choice will need to be made about who sits and who plays. If you add an acquisition to that blueline, it suddenly starts to become very crowded.
However, the Kings would be taking a risk if they pass on Chychrun now and possibly wait to make a move during the off-season. If another team trades for him before the deadline, he will likely be part of their long-term plans, given his age and his contract.
The goal of any front office is the overall progression of the team, both now and in the future. Some may argue that a deadline deal, however, could fundamentally change the team’s overall chemistry, and the timing for any possible adjustment to the roster couldn’t be more precarious. With the Kings’ ugly loss to the Bruins, the organization may take another look at roster improvement. The bottom line is that, for any deal to be made, the benefits must outweigh the risks.
This will be one of the most interesting trade deadlines the LA Kings have had in quite some time, and for Blake, the pressure is on to make the right choice.