Photo Credit: Alex Cave

The NHL Trade Deadline has officially come and gone. Some members of Hockey Royalty hand out their grades on how the LA Kings did.

March 3rd, 2023, at Noon PT has officially come and gone. It was a relatively quiet day for the LA Kings, making one depth move for the NHL team in acquiring forward Zack MacEwen for Brendan Lemieux and a 2024 fifth-round pick. Also on Friday, Austin Wagner – who has spent the past two seasons with the AHL’s Ontario Reign – was dealt to Chicago for future considerations. The Ontario Reign also saw defenseman Frederic Allard get traded to Montreal in a minor league deal for Nathan Scharr.

Deadline day was slow, but LA made some noise in the days prior.

The big splash came late Tuesday night when Jonathan Quick, a conditional 2023 first-round pick, and a 2024 third-round pick were sent to the Columbus Blue Jackets for goaltender Joonas Korpisalo and defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov. The move addressed two positions of need for the Kings.

The next day, the LA Kings added to their prospect pool by acquiring goaltending prospect Erik Portillo from the Buffalo Sabres for a 2023 third-round pick.

If we’re looking just at the NHL roster, the Kings have added a goaltender (Korpisalo), a left-shot defenseman (Gavrikov), and some needed size to the bottom of the lineup (MacEwen), while losing Quick and Lemieux.

Here’s how some at Hockey Royalty grade the deadline:

Joe Patarino: I think the LA Kings improved their team, albeit slightly, this deadline. While Vladislav Gavrikov is a likely upgrade to Alex Edler on the third pair for the Kings, that still leaves the problem of LD2. If he and Edler are in the lineup together, the Kings run the risk of Gavrikov being exposed by having to play higher in the lineup. Korpisalo is having a really nice season. His track record is shaky, but if he can continue to play well this season, he will help the team. I also was interested to see if the team would address the bottom of the forward group. Zack MacEwen for Brendan Lemiuex swap feels like 14th forward for 14th forward.

The addition of Erik Portillo is perhaps an underrated part of this deadline because it doesn’t help the team immediately but provides a much-needed boost to the goaltending pipeline.

Grade: C+. While not bad, this felt like a bit of a missed opportunity to do something more impactful in a wide-open Western Conference.


Kiffin McGinnis: In my mind, Los Angeles improved. I’d say that’s the goal of any hockey team buying at the deadline. With the Kings sitting in second place in the division and seeming as if they are a lock for the playoffs, the left side of the defense and goaltending situation was direr than one could have expected.

In his first game, Vladislav Gavrikov impressed. I enjoyed seeing him be ready to lay out to block shots, and his ability to adapt his game – read the play, consistently discussing things with Sean Walker – in real time helped him immensely. Joonas Korpisalo may not be a goaltender the Kings hold on to for many years, but he ranks HIGH on the GSAx charts for starting goaltenders this year. If he can button up the crease in tandem with Pheonix Copley moving forward, the Kings are a much better hockey team.

The cap-clearing moves of the actual deadline aren’t mind-blowing, but here’s hoping Brendan Lemieux and Austin Wagner can get a shot at an NHL roster in their new homes. I’ve actually followed the Flyers a bit this year, and Zack MacEwen has been an acceptable fourth-liner for them all year. Not many points, but fairly good on the back check. Yes, he has not been a wildly noticeable player, but he could be a good plug-in for a Trevor Lewis-style player of yesteryear.

Grade: B-. All in all, I would award the Kings a B- if only because the team didn’t find any long-term solutions. I’d have preferred to get some term out of the five picks they traded away.


Pavel Maliuguine: You’d be lying if you were to say the LA Kings didn’t get better over the deadline. The additions of Vladislav Gavrikov and Joonas Korpisalo were long overdue yet unflavoured and overlooked. Of course, the departure of legendary LA Kings goalie Jonathan Quick will likely put an unwanted stain on Rob Blake’s name for the next little while, but hockey is a business.

Korpisalo possesses a .911 save percentage on the worst team in the NHL, whereas Quick consistently failed to put up numbers above .900 on a playoff team. Gavrikov answers the wants of a left-shot defenseman, and despite him being an unsigned upcoming UFA, he helps the LA Kings blue line become much more competent going forward. These two former Blue Jackets assist the Kings in two needed areas, and even though the price isn’t what the Kings should’ve-payed, it’s the price they had to pay.

The addition of Erik Portillo was terrific. LA found their future starter in this acquisition, and I can’t wait to see what he brings going forward. I rooted for the Kings to trade for him back in early February.

Seeing Brendan Lemieux get moved was definitely a bittersweet moment, but it had to happen. Scoreless in 27 games, Lemieux wasn’t bringing what he brought last year. Philly seems like a fit for him, and I’m excited to see what Zack MacEwen can bring from a physical standpoint.

Grade: B+. The only reason that this deadline isn’t an A grade for me is because of Jakob Chychrun. That’s a really cheap deal for Ottawa, but I truly wonder where we’d be standing if Chychrun was never involved in rumors. Had we not been given high hopes and had we not come so close, would we be as disappointed (if disappointed at all) in what we gave up for Vladislav Gavrikov and Joonas Korpisalo?

Russell Morgan: The Kings addressed two big areas of need, left defense and goaltending. Whether they made as big of an improvement to those areas as many had hoped remains to be seen. Gavrikov is a big upgrade over Alex Edler, but I don’t see him as a top-four defender on the Kings. Korpisalo is the more important piece here. He could arguably be the best goaltender in the Pacific Division.

Grade: B-. Gavrikov is a big upgrade over Edler, and Korpisalo is good. I think the biggest player in this whole situation is Sean Durzi. A lot of trust is being thrown his way.

So, Kings fans, what say you?

3 thoughts on “LA Kings Trade Deadline Grades

  1. I think you all are parroting one another.
    1st Korpisalo, he does move the needle in goal. Any Goalie that gave make 85 saves in a Stanley Cup playoff game, has game. There is no lack of skill on his part. The question to ask, is the Kings Defense that much better than what he had in front of him in Columbus.

    Gavrikov, you have the complete take wrong here. He is not going to replace Edler. He is moving him to the 3rd pairing, where he belongs. That should allow Durzi stay in the line-up. It would be a serious mistake to take his offense out of the line-up.

    The biggest deals are the least talked about. MacEwen on the 4th line is a perfect fit. We don’t need offense from 4C. We need a physical, shot blocking, not afraid to drop the mitts checking Center. That he is decent in the dot is big bonus.

    That leaves our goaltending future. I have watched a few Michigan Games, Portillo is a monster in net. If he can put up a 2.21 GA at Michigan for 3 seasons, his bonafides are legit. You don’t play at Michigan if you suck. I can’t wait to see what Ranford and Co. can do with Korpisalo and Portillo. We have never developed a 6’6″ Goalie.

    The other moves were just cap space minded.

    I would grade the Kings as A-, with a chance to move up a half grade if both players resign.

    If they fail to sign the UFA’s, the deal might drop to a B+. I don’t particularly care for tradingv 1st’s in a row. But a First for a bonafide PPG Fiala is a Grand Slam. It also allows the Kings to clear the log jam of the prospects ready for the NHL.

    Blake has shown he is a Bonafide GM with the Trade of Quick. He is not afraid to take a big swing. Trading a franchise all-time great took a lot of huevos. However, it was a deal that had to be made. We were going nowhere with the Defense and Goaltending as is. He fixed that quickly and at a relatively minor cost. He took positions of weakness and turned them into strengths. This reminds me of a trade the Kings made in 92-93 in getting Pat Conacher. Adding a player similar in style to MacEwen, a glue guy the team was lacking.

    The last quarter of the season will be fun. The team now has the pieces to compete for the top spot in the West. I believe that the Avalanche are the best in the West. It all depends if they can get and stay healthy.


  2. I think Korpi will show he is a true #1 goalie with .920-ish save percentage with the Kings & will be our goalie incthe playoffs. Gavrikov will do better than expected as 2nd pairing with Roy as the Jackets situation was problematic for him having ti play 1st pairs & too many minutes. Kings will win the division and are tied for best team in conference with the Avs, imho. Really want Korpi & Gavvy to stay with Kings next couple seasons for Cup runs! GKG!!!

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