The LA Kings have already made one big splash this off-season when they acquired Kevin Fiala from the Minnesota Wild. In order to cement the deal, Los Angeles then promptly signed the 25 year old winger to a seven-year contract extension.
As a result, the Kings do not have the salary cap flexibility they had a couple of weeks ago. And with multiple RFA’s needing new deals, LA does not seem like a club that is a prime candidate to be big players in free agency.
Right now, the Kings have just under 12 million dollars in cap space. However, some players are on track for raises including Carl Grundstrom, Sean Durzi, Mikey Anderson, and Adrian Kempe, that will no doubt impact the available cap flexibility.
Kempe has reportedly agreed to a four-year extension with an AAV of 5.5 million. This deal will almost cut in half the Kings current cap space.
Once most of the current players get extended, the Kings will have very little money to work with, which means if the team wanted to sign a big name player in free agency, they would need to trade someone currently on the roster who has a moderately high cap hit. The Kings have made it known that they have been looking to add more size and physicality to their line-up, but will they ultimately have the money to make it happen?
The team has recently been rumored to be interested in players like Colorado’s Josh Manson, and New York’s Andrew Copp. These players, however, don’t really make much sense for the Kings on paper. Sure they would add size, and defenseman Josh Manson is known for a physical game, but they don’t seem to be the solution to the Kings’ current player acquisition dilemma in terms of cap space and the need for a possible trade.
Winger Copp had a career high in points this past year but to add him to the roster would mean someone either has to come out of the top 6 or a prospect would have to be moved down or even out of the lineup. Manson, on the other hand, would be yet another right-shot defenseman, a role that is already congested for the LA Kings.
That position is actually so crowded that the Kings have recently announced that Sean Walker will have to play the opposite side this year. He has done so in the past with no problem, but adding another right-shot defenseman does not seem the best fit currently for LA.
Also, as previously stated, if the Kings were to add another big piece in free agency, they would likely need to trade an existing player. With everyone pretty much set in their roles, this would seem to be an unlikely scenario.
The Kings already appear to have made their most significant move of the off-season with the acquisition of Kevin Fiala, so in free agency don’t expect too much action for the Kings moving forward.
Complimentary players should realistically be on the free agency agenda for Los Angeles, who will, in the end, likely try to simply add physicality on cheaper, more affordable deals.