There is no need to sugarcoat the new year campaign the Los Angeles Kings have put on. It has been nothing short of terrible, they have posted a lowly 6-12 run since January 2nd and 2-8 in their last 10. With the trade deadline fast approaching the situation has become magnetized. The Olympic break came at a great time for the team and the organization alike. The players had a chance to either display their talents on the biggest stage, or take some time away from the game to spend it with friends and family. The organization was hard at work looking at possible scenarios to spark fire into the lineup. Rest assured, they will work out the kinks and compete for Lord Stanley’s Cup again.
The Kings have been maligned with the constant issue of not getting pucks in the net, they fire away all game — ranking in the top third in shots per outing — they just don’t score enough. The Kings’ top two lines (depending on how Darryl Sutter shakes them up) have the potential to carry between four and six 20-plus goal scorers. Pure scorer Jeff Carter could very well be at 40-plus each year if he could manage to stay hot for extended periods of the season. In other words, top-line talent is not the issue, these players did not get old overnight. They need a piece that changes these 31+ shots per game from simply chances to quality opportunities.
The trade deadline is March 5, and the Kings will make a move to spark their offense. It may not be a blockbuster a la Jeff Carter 2012, but it will be something to get them back on track. Many names have been thrown around the rumor mill, including big-time Austrian Thomas Vanek, former King Matt Moulson and Edmonton Oilers‘ Sam Gagner. Those would classify as medium to big time deals.
They could also look at the option of picking up a less expensive top-four defenseman to spark the offense. A talented defenseman with a big shot could help create some better movement on the plagued power play, generate rebound opportunities, and a little extra spark during even-strength play. I am just as big a fan of the stay-at-home Robyn Regehr type as the next guy, but a little athleticism combined with a big shot doesn’t sound bad at all right now.
In the long run, a move to pick up a solid defenseman is going to come out a lot better economically on the balance sheet than making a blockbuster trade for another big-time goal scorer.
Regardless of what ends up happening, the Kings’front office has proven year after year that they know how to handle these tense situations. With the team in absolute disarray in late 2011-2012, general manager Dean Lombardi made a massive bet on Darryl Sutter, and followed it up with the Jeff Carter trade. It is safe to say those moves worked out. No need to stress too much Hollywood, it will all get taken care of.