Last week, we wondered what the Los Angeles Kings would do at the trade deadline. We quickly found out the Kings were serious in changing the roster. With goaltender Jonathan Quick being traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets for defenseman Vladislav Garikov and goaltender Joonas Korpisalo, this roster would take a drastic turn.
Los Angeles Kings make changes to increase chance at playoff spot
The Kings proceeded to shake things up in time for a late playoff push. The Los Angeles Kings traded Quick, a third-round pick in 2023, a conditional first-round pick in 2023, a third-round pick in 2024, forward Brendan Lemieux, a fifth-round pick in 2024, defenseman Frederic Allard, and winger Austin Wagner. Some of these trades not only affected the Kings, but their AHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign as well. In return, the Kings received Gavrikov, Korpisalo, the rights to goaltender Erik Portillo, forward Zach McEwen, center Nate Schnarr, and future considerations.
The Kings fans were upset with the trade of longtime goaltender Jonathan Quick and rightfully so. He was there for 16 years and led them to two Stanley Cups. He will forever be a Los Angeles King and he is a legend in the minds of Kings fans. However, he is 37 years old and has not played well this season.
General manager Rob Blake saw holes in the roster and filled every single one of those holes at the trade deadline. The Kings needed a left-handed defenseman who can play a 200-foot game and play critical minutes and they got that with Gavrikov. They needed a backup goaltender who was younger than Quick and able to play some quality games in the NHL and they got that with Korpisalo. They lacked toughness and size in the bottom six and they got that with the acquisition of McEwen. They needed center depth in Ontario and got that with Schnarr.
Blake did a tremendous job at the deadline. Blake had a reason to move the players he did and in return upgraded the Kings roster immediately. Losing Quick hurts but he ultimately ended up with the Vegas Golden Knights organization via a trade with Columbus and a chance to still win a Stanley Cup. Things worked out well for Quick and the possibility of him in the finals again. Blake has made this team into a real contender with these moves and the focus is not the playoffs, It is the Stanley Cup.
(photo: sandiegouniontribune.com; Dan Greenspan) (photo: hockeyroyalty.com; Joe Patarino)