The Los Angeles Kings are holding onto a playoff spot for dear life as teams like the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, and Colorado Avalanche have caught them amidst below-average play as of late. The offence has been carrying the team all season long, but the Kings have areas they would like to improve upon by the deadline to make the playoffs and win.
For the Kings to add what they need, they will have to move pieces. So in that case, we will look at the three most likely candidates to be moved before the 2023 Trade Deadline.
The Kings have been looking to move out a right-handed defenceman for most of the season. They have Drew Doughty, Sean Durzi, Matt Roy, and Sean Walker, along with Brandt Clarke, who is expected to arrive in a full-time role next season. There are a couple of problems with the defensive situation of the Kings. Three of their right-shot defencemen appear to be in the plans for at least 3-4 more years until Doughty’s contract expires. That means Walker and possibly Roy are the odd men out. The Kings could still run with four right-shot defence, but not five.
Walker is the focus, but I’ll get to Roy in the next section. The belief is that Roy is more valuable than Walker, seeing as the latter has been a healthy scratch as of late. Walker logs under 15 minutes a game and doesn’t have the most outstanding all-around stats. Among Kings’ defencemen, he has the fifth most points with nine, has the sixth-most shot blocks, fifth-most hits among defencemen, and the worst penalty minute differential (penalty minutes taken vs drawn).
All of that isn’t very flattering for another team to be interested in, but there is interest. Ottawa Senators’ general manager Pierre Dorian has been attending Kings games, according to Charlie Roumeliotis, and their top concern is bolstering the right side of their defence. Walker is signed through next season at $2.65 million AAV and could be a cheap short-term fix.
Roy is the better option the Kings have to dangle in a trade. They like him more, but his value is also higher. We don’t know for certain which defenceman the Senators are particularly watching, but Roy seems to be the option they would like to add to their top four. In this case, it would free up $3.15 million for this season and next for the Kings to use in an area of need. They have been poking around looking for a left-shot defenceman, and that money…