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Kings, Blake Miss Opportunity to Improve Roster

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The Los Angeles Kings had a busy week during the trade deadline, but it was not because of making trades. The organization made three transactions before the trade deadline and stayed still, keeping the roster intact. General Manager Rob Blake was in a tight spot due to the salary cap.

Kings sign future pieces; hopeful for playoffs

Los Angeles signed defenseman Jacob Moverare to a two-year deal with an average annual value (AAV) of $775,000. The team also signed goaltending prospect Jacob Ingham to a one-year, two-way contract with an AAV of $775,000 and waived forward Jaret Anderson-Dolan, who was claimed by the Nashville Predators.

Blake did not say too much at the press conference after the trade deadline had passed. He did mention not having the cap space to make a move to add a player and why he stayed with the roster the way it is currently constructed. Forward Adrian Kempe and defenseman Mikey Anderson were taken off of injured reserve, and forward Carl Grundstrom to be available soon. This gives the Kings three pivotal pieces heading towards the playoffs.

LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 03: Los Angeles Kings Left Wing Carl Grundstrom (91) skates into the play during a National Hockey League game between the Arizona Coyotes and the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Rob Curtis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

 

While the salary cap issue is the primary reason Blake was so quiet at the deadline, it could have been an opportunity for Blake to trade away potential free agents in a cap dump. With a projected $1 million in cap space, he could not have taken on any new contracts. His best bet would have been to find a new home for players who were due to become free agents after this season.

Los Angeles has 5 restricted free agents (the current team can sign first) and 4 unrestricted free agents (free to sign anywhere) after the season that Blake would need to clear cap space to bring them back. These could have been trade pieces for draft picks and prospects, but he chose to stay put.

While the cap situation certainly hurts the organization, what may hurt more is the teams around the Kings in the standings made significant moves to improve their roster. The Colorado Avalanche added former Kings defenseman Sean Walker and forwards Casey MIddlestadt and Brandon Duhaime. The Vegas Golden Knights added Anthony Mantha, Noah Hanifin, and Tomas Hertl. The Edmonton Oilers added Adam Henrique, Sam Carrick, and Troy Stecher. Finally, the Nashville Predators added Jason Zucker, Anthony Beauvillier, and Jaret Anderson-Dolan.

The Kings need to find consistency in winning and play like they did the first two months of the season. The season is winding down, and every point is crucial at this time of the season. The seeding for the playoffs depends on how the Kings finish the season, and that will depend on how they play as a team. Head Coach Jim Hiller has them playing as a unit and focused on grabbing as many points as possible. Did the trade deadline cost the Kings down the stretch? Will they rebound and make noise in the final weeks of the season?


(Photo: lakingsinsider.com; Zach Dooley)

(Photo: lakingsinsider.com; Zach Dooley)
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