LA Kings Trade Notes: Muzzin, Durzi, and Grundstrom

By now, word is out – Jake Muzzin was traded by the Los Angeles Kings to Toronto for a first round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft and a pair of Maple Leafs prospects. In the immediate aftermath, we shared opinions, analysis, and insight via twitter. However, in light of the fact that not all of readers keep up to date with tweets, we’re sharing many of those items below.

First, let’s start with a couple other items related to the trade:

During a media conference call with GM Rob Blake on Monday evening, I asked about breaking the news to Muzzin and why now, versus waiting until closer to the Trade Deadline next month.

“It was a difficult conversation with him,” Blake said. “I have a ton of respect for him, what he’s been able to do through difficult circumstances this year. So it was a very difficult phone call. As far as the trade itself and the timing and everything, I think what happens is you come to a point where you [get to] acceptable terms both ways and you get the deal done. Whether you wait or not is another thing. We were comfortable with what was in place here today, and that’s kind of how the deal went through.”

From what we’ve gathered, Blake did make a recent scouting trip to the Toronto area. However, that was a mere coincidence, as this deal had been in the works for a few weeks.

When I was initially asked about the trade on twitter, I replied – “Quick reaction – Kings were able to move early because the price was right. All along, we’d been saying a Muzzin trade was expected to get a first rounder and a solid second asset (RD 2 pick or prospect)…. They got both and the first. Very nicely done.”

If you’ve checked out any of the radio interviews we’ve posted here over the past few months, it was noted what the expectation was in a Muzzin deal. The fact they were able to get three assets in return speaks to the timing of the trade. Kings management liked the return and wanted to move on the deal.

We’ve seen some replies on social media that they should have held out for a higher first round pick, as Toronto’s will likely come somewhere between 20-30. This isn’t a theory we subscribe to. When you get a deal you’re comfortable with, you proceed. Further, while it seems like its ‘closer to a second round pick than a first round pick,’ that’s a bit of a fallacy. While technically true, that’s not how the currency of a draft picks works with most GMs. There is still a cache in having a first round pick. Now, the Kings have an extra asset in the first round. They can select another player with that pick or than can package that with another asset and possible move up in round one. And using a No. 25 (late first round) as currency, you have a lot more leverage than trying to deal with the No. 35 pick (early second round). Again, it’s that sexy ambiance of a first rounder.

In future deals that should break free in coming weeks, the Kings are now on the hunt for a second first round pick in 2020.

As for the pair of new prospects, both players were said to have received draft consideration by the Kings, especially defenseman Sean Durzi. He went at No. 52 last year, the very next pick after Los Angeles had selected Akil Thomas in the second round.

Meanwhile, forward Carl Grundstrom did play about a half a season with Adrian Kempe in Sweden during 2014-15 with MODO. That was just prior to Kempe heading over to North American, where he joined the Manchester Monarchs and ended up winning a Calder Cup. Kempe was 17 at the time and Grundstrom was just 16 years old.

Like Kempe, Grundstrom also represented Sweden at the World Junior Championships, with one year of cross over. Kempe was at the WJC in 2015 and 16, while Grundstrom’s stints came in 2016 and 17.

And here is some more on the trade…

NOTE: That tweet was later updated, as Durzi is a right shot (not left).

NOTE: I went back and checked the timeline. Here is a very old tweet:

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Comments

  1. Jorgen Andersson says:

    So sad to see Muzzin go but, with that return I totally agree with it. Muzzin will have another good shot at the cup and the Kings will have the opportunity to develope some great prospect. Being Swedish, I’m happy to see some Swedes in LA, some good Swedes! Maybe not in the class of Sandstrom but, still good. Very excited about Durzi, as well, but one question; why is he still unsigned?

    • John Hoven says:

      Organizations sign players at different points. We’ll assume Toronto wasn’t ready to use one of their 50 contracts on him. Does not mean they would not have signed him; only means they had not done it yet.

      As a point of reference, look at Akil Thomas, whom the Kings selected one spot earlier in the draft. They have not signed him yet either.

      In the end, LA is expected to sign both players.