The Los Angeles Kings sent defenceman Jake Muzzin to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a first huge trade of the season. As the trade deadline approaches, we should probably expect more moves for the Kings. Their goal seems to be clear now after they traded Jake Muzzin. What should be next for the Kings?
Muzzin Trade clear message for Los Angeles Kings
Even though the Kings are currently dead last in the Western Conference, with 44 points they are “just” eight points out of the playoff contention. The Colorado Avalanche sit as the eighth team in the West with 52 points, same as seventh-placed Dallas Stars. Notwithstanding, it doesn’t seem like Los Angeles has a great shot at making the playoffs.
It is quite the opposite story. Jake Muzzin’s trade should be the first domino for the Kings. On the other hand, the Kings don’t expect to sell their whole roster for sure. Jake Muzzin has been in the mix of trade rumors alongside Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli or Alec Martinez for some time.
Now as Jake Muzzin is gone for Los Angeles, other moves might follow. The Kings received Carl Grundstrom, rights to Sean Durzi and a first-round pick in 2019 from the Maple Leafs. Earlier this year, L.A. swapped forwards with the Pittsburgh Penguins, as they acquired Carl Hagelin from them in exchange for Tanner Pearson.
Three Kings players to watch out for
Tyler Toffoli has been rumored with move ever since October. For example, he was connected with the Montreal Canadiens. Toffoli is a 26-year-old right winger, who has been struggling a little this season. In 50 games, he collected eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points.
Toffoli is still young, but his point production has not been the same compared to the seasons from a few years back. His contract worth $4,600,000 annually expires next year. That’s one of the reasons why Toffoli might be attractive to the buyers. The points are not coming up as anticipated with him, but a change of scenery may help.
The second player to keep your eye on is center Jeff Carter. The Kings would certainly like to unload his contract worth $5,272,727 per year signed until 2022. Carter had a significant injury last year as he missed 55 games in total. Given the fact he is already 34 years old, it is quite improbable he will get that much of the attention.
Although his slow start to the season, Carter has settled on 10 goals and 25 points on the year upon a recent stretch of bettered play for him. He would be a nice addition to any team looking for veteran leadership and a skilled guy with a ton of experience. Add two Stanley Cups to that too. He would surely not land that kind of return as Toffoli would, but it would be reasonable for Los Angeles to consider.
The third and final player on the list of trade baits for the Kings is defenceman Alec Martinez. Now after Jake Muzzin has gone to Toronto, it appears as Toffoli and Carter have better chances to get traded than Martinez. Martinez is already 31 and his contract worth $4,000,000 annually lasts until 2021.
Despite poor play by the Kings players in the most part of this season, Martinez is a +2. And it is really a big thing because that’s the best number on the Kings current roster. Only one player better in that aspect than him and Kopitar was Jake Muzzin with +10. Martinez has missed 14 games in total because of an injury. He collected three goals and 11 points in 36 games. And of course one of those goals has been against the New York Rangers.
When the playoff time arrives, everyone remembers huge goals from Game 7 in Chicago or Game 5 in the Stanley Cup Final in 2014. He can call himself two-time Stanley Cup winner. Martinez can provide offense while being solid defensively. Adding his playoff experience, he might get some attention as the trade deadline closes.
Kings Looking at Moves with Sights on Future
Making trades and moves with the future in their sights is the main priority now for the Kings. The return Los Angeles is seeking for either Toffoli, Carter or Martinez should be similar to what they received from Toronto for Muzzin.
Prospects, draft picks and the sights set on the future. The Kings seemingly finally admit they are in the full rebuild mode. General Manager Rob Blake has few tough tasks in front of him as the Trade Deadline is just 27 days away from today.
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