Los Angeles Kings At The Trade Deadline

Mark HContributor IFebruary 25, 2009

The Los Angeles Kings are focused on making the playoffs for the first time since 2002.  However, Kings' General Manager Dean Lombardi is not going to sell the farm to do so.  The Kings have done that in the past, and it certainly has not worked out.

The Kings are currently the youngest team in the league.  Considering the Kings were projected to finish last in the league, they have surprised many people—including themselves—at how well they are playing.  That is why there are very few moves the Kings should make.  If any at all.

There is a core to the Los Angeles Kings that should not be traded.  Crazier things have happened, yes.  Gretzky was traded a few times—Kings fans know that all too well.  But guys like Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, and Drew Doughty just aren't going anywhere.  Without big name talent going out, big names most likely won't be coming in, much to the dismay of certain fans.

Couple the fact that the Kings are in the middle of one hell of a playoff race and that they are the youngest team in the league, they aren't looking to trade their veteran role players for picks or prospects as they have done in the past.  The Kings' focus is no longer only on the future but also on the now

Michal Handzus has been one of the Kings' best players this season after an unfortunate '07-'08 campaign and is a veteran leader, is good at face-offs, and shuts down opposing offenses.  The Kings would probably be looking to add a guy like Michal Handzus if they didn't have him.

Sean O'Donnell has been a great mentor to Drew Doughty and brings some toughness and size.  For the Kings to trade Sean, they would need to receive more than the third round pick they will be giving Anaheim if they trade him.

Alexander Frolov consistently leads Kings' forwards in the Time-On-Ice category.  His puck possession game is one of the best in the entire league.  However, Lombardi hardly mentions Frolov as a part of the core.  With only one year until Frolov is an unrestricted free agent, trading him now could be a possibility, especially while he is having a solid season.  The Will he sign? question looms over Frolov.

Derek Armstrong is a guy the Kings absolutely should not trade.  Few veterans will accept the role he has been given and be so positive about it.  He is a great presence in the locker room and sticks up for his teammates on the ice.  The Kings would be foolish trade him, considering he would most likely only obtain a low-round draft pick.

Kyle Calder has been playing so well recently with Dustin Brown and Jarret Stoll (the CBS line) that he could certainly be a guy that Lombardi would like to hang on to.  Not to mention, he is one of the few players on this team with playoff experience.  If the Kings weren't in such a tight playoff race, he would certainly be a candidate to change uniforms, but he would be a good player to have in the playoffs.

Tom Preissing could certainly be moved, if the Kings can find a team interested.  Preissing's skill set could certainly help a team, however he has become expendable on the Kings' surprisingly deep defensive depth chart.

Denis Gauthier could also be moved.  He plays with a lot of intensity—maybe too much, he has already been suspended twice this season—and brings some size to the defense.  However, during his first suspension, Davis Drewiske was called up with good results.  Add to the fact that Gauthier is an unrestricted free agent after the season and the Kings may want to get what they can for him.

Erik Ersberg's contract is up after this season and the Kings may not be willing to sign Erik for what he will ask for.  The Kings have a very fortunate problem—a handful of excellent goalie prospects. 

With the emergence of Jonathon Quick and Jonathon Bernier dying for the chance to show his stuff at the NHL level again (in front of a real defense), Ersberg might just be out of a job with the Kings. 

Brian Boyle just might be on his last leg with the Kings.  He certainly had his chances to play the game the Kings wanted him to but bouncing between the NHL and AHL and never really solidifying a position on the Kings has hurt his chances and his confidence.

Dean Lombardi recently commented how he was beaten out by a 19-year-old (Oscar Moller) in training camp.  Hopefully Brian Boyle will find his stride with the Kings before he is traded away and considered a bust.

Well, there they are.  The Kings most likely to be traded.  It would be surprising to see the Kings make many moves, especially any moves that might make the front page.  The Kings' core is one of the most promising in the league and Dean Lombardi seems to have his head on his shoulders and just might know what he is doing. 

A couple prospects could be moved, possibly even a roster player or two departing from the Kings.  But if you have dreams of a superstar coming to Los Angeles by the deadline, you will probably be upset when that doesn't happen.