The Kings are in second place in the Pacific Division, but they have the Oilers and Golden Knights right on their heels.
We’ve already seen some significant moves made in advance of Monday’s deadline.
The Blackhawks reeled in a haul for 23-year-old Brandon Hagel, who was still in the first year of his entry-level contract. Chicago netted two first-round picks in 2023 and 2024, along with two players in Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk. That’s quite the return for a player (Hagel) shooting at an unsustainable 22.3 percent clip.
Over in Montreal, the Canadiens fetched a former third-rounder in Tyler Smilanic, a 2023 first-round pick, and a 2022 fourth-round pick for defenseman Ben Chiarot. The Hamilton, Ontario native is 30 years old and will be a UFA this summer.
And in Philadelphia, the Flyers traded team captain Claude Giroux for the former 2017 10th overall pick in Owen Tippett, a 2024 first-round pick, and a 2023 third-round pick. Again, Giroux will be a UFA at the end of the year.
With all that said, the LA Kings have long been linked to a certain defenseman in Arizona. Jakob Chychrun is 23 years old, under team contract for another three seasons at a very reasonable $4.6 million AAV, and is a year removed from tallying a career-best 18 goals and 41 points in 56 games.
He got off to a horrible start this season on a gutted Coyotes roster. Before the recent ankle injury that will sideline him for the next two to four weeks, Chychrun had five points (4G, 1A) in his last three games.
Given how desperate teams have been around this trade deadline, the Kings would likely have to package a return of at least what the Blackhawks fetched for Hagel – and maybe another high pick or blue-chip prospect.
Yes, Los Angeles needs help along the left side of their defense, but not at what price these teams are asking at the trade deadline.
In January, the rumored asking price for Chychrun was a young NHL player, a high-end prospect, and a first-round pick. The Kings have all that and then some, but the Coyotes have all the leverage until that trade deadline passes.
Over the summer, the Kings can re-visit Jakob Chychrun when both teams are more or less on an even playing field.