Kings Trade Scenarios, Odds on Several Deals

Toffoli WCF Kings BlackhawksWith the NHL Trade Deadline quickly approaching, we continue to be inundated with questions about what the Kings might be doing, who they’re looking at, which players might move, if they’re done making deals after the trade with Carolina, etc.

We have spent a ton of time on calls, texts, and face to face conversations over the past week, checking in with our sources, to gather all the latest thinking from within the Kings organization.

If you keep up with our prospect information, it should not have come as any real surprise that the Kings were going to do what they could to hold onto Derek Forbort and Colin Miller in their deal for defensive help. Forbort is almost NHL ready and they are in love with the speed and shot of Miller. Even Kings VP Mike Futa went out of his way to praise GM Dean Lombardi for his “masterful job of kind of steering them” toward other kids in the system.

Before we go any further, though, it is important to note one thing… never say never. Another team can always call and knock your socks off with an incredible deal. However, all things being equal, the following represents what Lombardi is working with heading into Monday and the players we have been asked about most.

LIKELIHOOD OF SPECIFIC DEALS

Justin Williams / Jarret Stoll / Robyn Regehr: All three will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. Had the Kings not turned things around over the past month, their names would at least be in the discussion. As we shared on NHL Radio earlier today, Williams isn’t going to be offered up as a rental, but if he was, he would clearly be the catch of this year’s Trade Deadline Class. Now, looking ahead – and anything can change (for example, making a return trip to the Stanley Cup Final can create stronger ties of loyalty and cloud judgment on both sides) – Stoll is the most likely to return, albeit at a heavily discounted price. Williams will get a fat paycheck elsewhere, and you can’t begrudge him that; he’s earned it. Lombardi just doesn’t have the cap space to give him a big deal. Regehr could possibly come back on a cheap, one-year deal, but it’s doubtful. Look for Nick Shore to be the third line center next season and the fourth line center spot is Stoll’s if he wants it.

Ruling: None of the three are getting traded, LA is going for the Cup

Mike Richards – Option A: Montreal has been heavily scouting Manchester for quite some time and they are said to be interested in Mike Richards.

How will they make it work though? Los Angeles really can’t take a roster player back in return and they can’t really take any extra salary back from Montreal either. One option could be to retain some of Richards’ salary.

It’s never fun trying to explain math, but let’s give it a shot. Richards has a cap hit of $5.75 M, but there is a nearly $1 M savings for sending him to the AHL. Thus, at the moment, he counts (and we’re rounding) $4.75 M towards the cap, even though the actual checks being written are higher. Buying him out this summer comes with its own set of penalties (all the penalty numbers for the next ten years are detailed here). Basically, if they agreed to retain $3 M of his $5.75 M cap hit this season just to get a trade done with Montreal, it would actually save them cap space compared to just leaving him in the minors.

Where retaining some of Richards’ salary can really help is when you consider the salary cap impact in future years vs. a buyout. If they buy him out this summer, the cap hit over the next four years (of the ten years total in penalties) would be $1.22 in 2015-16, then 1.72, 2.72, and 4.22 M. Retaining less than those numbers during those years would be a cap savings compared to buying him out.

What’s the bottom line?

Ruling: Less than 20% likelihood a Richards deal gets done with Montreal

Mike Richards Option B: The other known suitor for Richards’ services are the Toronto Maple Leafs – as we’ve heavily chronicled here (most notably, the 5 Myths about the rumors). Our sources say the Leafs and Kings have discussed at least four different proposals over the past few weeks, and none of them have really moved the needle on conversations. As noted in the past, for this deal to work, Toronto really needs to make it happen, as they have very little to offer Los Angeles that the Kings are interested in.

Ruling: Less than 10% likelihood a Richards deal gets done with Toronto

Final Richards point: Mark this down… Simon Gagne 2012 playoffs. Mike Richards 2015 playoffs.

Andy Andreoff: This has become one of the most puzzling situations in recent memory. Andreoff would seem like the prototypical Darryl Sutter player. Here was our take last month (and not much has changed)…

Kings management still likes Andreoff and haven’t indicated that recent contracts for Kyle Clifford and Jordan Nolan should spell the end of the former’s time in Los Angeles. Circling back to Montreal, they are one of two teams who have been heavily interested in Clifford in recent years. Knowing that he isn’t available, would they make a push for Andreoff? It’s possible. However, we don’t see the Kings being ready to give up on Andreoff for a low level draft pick. Even if his push for a roster spot is delayed until next season, there is still plenty of time for him to earn his stripes.

Ruling: Less than 15% likelihood Andreoff gets moved at the trade deadline

Jordan Nolan: His new contract is a real bargain. Given the Kings potential salary cap issues over the next two season, that makes him a prime target to stay, as they will need inexpensive, proven NHL players to round out their expensive group of top-6 forwards and defensemen. On the other hand, with players in Manchester pushing for roster spots in coming years (i.e. Michael Mersch and Nic Dowd), this is a player who could move before the three years is over. Nolan is a future talking point, not one to be considered at the moment, unless a team really wants to overpay.

Side note – why wouldn’t a team want Nolan? He has a great contract, can chip in with goals, plays a heavy game, has won two Stanley Cups, and is only 25 years old. There is a lot to like.

Ruling: Less than 5% Nolan gets moved at the trade deadline

Brayden McNabb: He is not being squeezed out by the addition of Andrej Sekeara. Ultimately, what this might do is allow him to be slotted in a more comfortable third-pairing role, as he continues his development at the NHL level. It’s not the perfect analogy, yet think of it as a team acquiring a veteran second line winger, which then pushes a 22-year-old kid down to the bottom six. He might work his way back up eventually, but the new situation is more ideal for that winger and allows him some breathing room to grow and mature as a player.

Ruling: Less than 5% McNabb gets moved at the trade deadline

Tanner Pearson: Of course he isn’t getting dealt. As for all this talk about, ‘What if the Kings’ cap problems lead to Pearson or Tyler Toffoli getting an offer sheet from another team?’ – it’s a non-factor. One of two things are going to happen here: a) they both get new deals before July 1, thus are never ‘exposed’ to the potential of another team trying to poach one of them, or b) their deals aren’t done by July 1, but Lombardi matches any offer sheets that come in on Toffoli and/or Pearson. These two players will be in Kings’ uniforms for a long time. How will the Kings be able to sustain their recent success as the current core of the roster ages? Simple, by locking up the next wave of high-end talent. Pearson and Toffoli aren’t going anywhere.

Ruling: 0% Pearson or Toffoli gets moved at the trade deadline

BONUS COMMENTARY

There is something else worth mentioning in all of this trade talk. Full credit should be given to Lombardi’s scouting and development staffs. They have done a phenomenal job the past few years. Skeptics like to note that Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, and Jonathan Quick were all drafted by Dave Taylor – and that Drew Doughty was a no-brainer pick at the 2008 NHL Draft. However, it’s the current management team that has drafted and developed the second influx of talent into the roster – a list that includes Slava Voynov and Alec Martinez on defense, along with Toffoli, Pearson, and Nick Shore at forward. One of the reasons the Kings haven’t been burned by trading their first round picks in 2011 (Dustin Penner), 2013 (Jeff Carter), and 2015 (Andreij Sekera) is because they haven’t wasted many of their picks in the first two rounds.

If the majority of their early round draft picks ended up flaming out and not turning into legitimate NHL players (whether it’s for the Kings or as an asset traded to another team for an NHL roster player – i.e. the Brayden Schenn trade for Mike Richards), the Kings would be left with the core group Lombardi inherited with nothing coming to replace those veterans as their production dips. Instead, the opposite has taken place. Lombardi’s staff has fully stocked the cupboards with a myriad of options at every position.

The forward group has been coming in waves. First Toffoli and Pearson, then Nick Shore, next up will be Adrian Kempe and Valentin Zykov.

On defense, the next wave is coming a little slower – yet they are coming – and that was the reason for the McNabb deal. They knew they didn’t have any young horses to come in and replace Rob Scuderi and Willie Mitchell right away. McNabb was the bridge to get to all the guys who will be coming over the next three years – Forbort, Miller, Alex Lintuniemi, etc.

Nobody has kept you more in tune with the Kings prospects than MayorsManor. If you want to know more about their future players, and who they view as the untouchable prospects, we provided all the details in our most recent Top 10 Prospect Rankings.

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Comments

  1. Crown Royal says:

    Clearly I’m not a fan of bringing Stoll back next season. I think he’s pretty much done and you can stick a fork in him (no wait it’s Stoll who pitchforks the other guys so he can keep up with their skating.)
    There is no point to bringing him back to center the fourth line. Let Andreoff, Dowd, or Lewis play there. If DL wants to get really creative and think outside the box, the Kings could move TP over from the wing and give him the 3C slot if Shore isn’t ready to handle that yet. TP played both wings in Junior and has played some center in the past. He has size, speed, hands, and hockey sense.The Kings organization is loaded with wingers. It’s better to go with your more talented players and give them the ice time over players who have declined considerably as Stoll has done.

    Don’t really see where anymore trades are necessary this season. DL is going to have to decide what to do with MR and Voynov in the off season, if Voynov is still in the NHL at that point. Lots of work to do for him including decisions about the veteran free agents and the young guys who need to be resigned.

    • I agree with you.no reason whatsoever to bring back stoll. he is actually becoming a detriment. Give the young guns some playing time and I think it all works out. Williams I think should be one of the top priorities to sign along with TT and TP

  2. John, what about McBain – cheap, cheap, cheap.

  3. Neil Shafton says:

    While I can understand offering Stoll a hometown discount type of deal, I think the Kings would be better off going after Jay McClement who is only making 1.5 or 1 million in Carolina and will become a UFA after this season. No need to make a trade for McClement, so if he does not re-sign with Carolina he could be a less expensive option to slot on the 4th line and not cost much or count much against the CAP.
    McClement has been a very consistent defensive center, who is great on draws, great on the PK and is also very defensively responsible.
    He isn’t going to score much, but he is a great veteran defensive center who can help bring along Nick Shore while providing some veteran leadership for the younger 3rd and 4th line players the Kings have playing currently and who might be making their debut next season.

    • Crown Royal says:

      Carolina signed McClement to a two year extension.

      • Neil Shafton says:

        Yep, saw that! Great for Jay, and the Caniacs. The Maple Laughs didn’t offer him any contract after last season, when he was one of the few professional, professionals which really surprised me considering how many other players the Laughs are overpaying way too much currently.
        In the end, McClement was spared the meltdown that is going on there right now, and the dismantling that is likely going to happen once the season is over.
        He didn’t sign for much more than he was currently making on his current deal. and Ron Francis saw how good a team player Jay is, and one of the better penalty killers, and faceoff centers in the league.
        If the Kings do attempt to keep Stoll, they should use McClement’ recent deal as a benchmark for any contract they offer to Stoll.
        If Stoll actually does get married to Erin Andrews, I would imagine Los Angeles would be one of the cities they will be living in since she works for Fox Sports. Stoll has been engaged before, but has yet to make it to a wedding where he is the groom. Considering his fiance and future wife will be the major bread winner, Stoll could be had on the cheap if the Kings choose to keep him for another year or 2.

  4. I think we see Williams next year.

    • Crown Royal says:

      I wouldn’t be shocked to see JW back but I would be surprised. I don’t think the Cap room is there. If DL could make it work he probably would bring him back, but unlikely to happen.

  5. We can use picks, and to free up cap space. Moving Richards could help with both. I’ve lost track, but it seems like we may not be picking until round 3 as things sit (dealt our #2 for Gaborik and our #1 for Sekera).

    • Crown Royal says:

      I believe the Kings are still holding Toronto’s second round pick in the draft from the Bernier trade.

      • Thanks, I forgot about that one. I lost track of exactly which second picks went where . Counting the Bernier deal they all roughly cancel out. I looked it up and it seems we sent Toronto’s for Gabby. So it must be our own we hold–too bad, that TOR pick is not far from the first round.

  6. Though very unlikely given how much Darryl loves him, if the concern is to free up some cap space for the few weeks Voynov might be back, then one way to do it is to deal Stoll and bring Richards back up, since according to reports we only save about $1m with Richards in the minors while Stoll’s hit is around $3m.

    PS: Great piece Mayor-this is the time of year you really shine.

  7. Crown Royal says:

    I believe Voynov will be traded if the league eventually reinstates him. He’s a very effective offensive weapon and gets by defensively but it seems some domestic violence took place and it’s maybe not the first time. In Russia nobody would think twice about someone abusing his wife as there it’s an accepted part of the culture…My son is a professional Bandy player in Europe ( a sport similar to ice hockey) has spent much time in Russia and is fluent in that language. When I brought up the Voynov situation to him he said that sort of thing is an everyday occurrence there. Binge drinking is also common practice among hockey players, in Russia, even during the season…Hoping this works out well for all parties in the end, but only time will tell.

  8. If you’re going to give praise, you also have to critique: They drafted Hickey. Bust. They drafted (and gave up a lot to get) Teubert, passing on Meyers and Karlsson. They’re “good” but they’re no Detroit Red Wings

    • Crown Royal says:

      I wouldn’t call Hickey “a bust” as he’s become a pretty decent player fro the Isles but he was certainly a disappointment for the Kings. Yeah, the Teubert pick was bad and Lewis, who was a first rounder, will never be anything more than a bottom six player. That was an O.K. pick but far from outstanding.

  9. Brian S says:

    Stoll has not had an assist in 29 consecutive games. Find another regular NHL 3rd line center you can say that about? He has to be done with this squad. You can only take your face-offs skills and defensive grit so far, he kills the offense on the 3rd line. Richards can come back up and take that line. At least he can create something with his line mates. Hope we can keep Williams. Shore can take the 4th line center spot.

  10. As much as I appreciate all that Williams has done. Id like to see us trade for some speed and energy. Maybe smith-pelly from Montreal?

Trackbacks

  1. […] The Kings have multiple trade scenarios to consider. [Mayor’s Manor] […]

  2. […] has accumulated 3 goals and 10 assists for 13 points. Despite his struggles, Richards is still coveted by NHL teams, most notably the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens. Although the odds aren’t high […]

  3. […] Kings Trade Scenarios, Odds on Several Deals […]

  4. […] pretty much expected if you read this article here, the Kings did not make any additional deals before today’s NHL Trade Deadline. However, they did […]