The Kings needed a forward desperately bad. Definitely a top six type contributor. They didn’t have much to work with. They had limited assets and cap space. So the options weren’t great.
Regarding that cap space, this summer for Los Angeles is going to be a challenging one with the bookkeeping. Tyler Toffoli, Nick Shore, Andy Andreoff, Tanner Pearson, Kevin Gravel, and Paul LaDue are seeking contracts. Pearson and Toffoli especially will be costly given the years they’ve had following winning a Cup in 2014. Future call-ups Johnny Brodzinski (good?) and Michael Mersch (not so good) also are likely to be staying around for a very modest change in pay.
Which leads us to Dwight King. King has been a mainstay with Los Angeles since 2012, and has provided solid defending, with emphasis on penalty killing, and chipped in offensively reasonably for a bottom six guy. The scoring dropped off along with the rest of the team’s depth guys post the second Cup win. He was set to be a free agent this summer and it was likely that he would walk.
So the Kings traded him. It was not for much. A fourth round pick, with the possibility of it being a third round pick from Montreal. It’s something, but praising the return other than “something” as of right now is misleading.
Los Angeles is 3-7 in their last 10 games. They’ve scored 11 goals in those 7 losses. They’re one point out of a playoff spot with the suddenly-awful-all-the-time-again St. Louis Blues who just traded out their offensive but sieve-like defenseman, Kevin Shattenkirk.
If the Kings wanted to be sellers, I don’t think I would have blamed them. They could still add a depth forward or two and take pressure off of Adrian Kempe who’s in over his head, and/or not roll out Kyle Clifford and Andy Andreoff on a useless line, so they could make more of a push.
They added an elderly Jarome Iginla. I like Iginla. But he is 39 (and looks every year) and has 8 goals only, 4 of which came via the power play. 5v5 he’s a non-factor. I’m certain 5 of his goals came against the Kings specifically.
Dwight King has, you guessed it, 8 goals.
It’s a lateral move where not much was given up or gained (in terms of assets). The Kings knew Dwight was likely gone after this season and wanted to get something for him. Giving up a fourth round possibly third round pick for Iginla (the *something* the Kings got for Dwight King) makes these moves shake out like it is King for Iginla.
Would a more offensively inclined Dwight King push the Kings into the playoffs? Ehhhhhhh.
Would a defensive liability Dwight King hurt the Kings? Probably as much as the offensively inclined Dwight King helps.
It’s a push move which doesn’t help Los Angeles here and now. Had the team kept both, they’d be down a third or fourth rounder but would have added a depth scorer they could roll in the bottom six to bolster the ranks instead of what they have now: a wash.
Sure, it doesn’t help the team long term. Los Angeles is awfully thin in the pipeline already, but a mid draft pick in a shallow class won’t solve that and is worth abandoning. Even for an old washed up power forward who only scores on the power play.
Combining this with the Bishop deal and the Kings seem sort of like just throwing shit at a wall and seeing what sticks and hoping it carries any success. And expecting Iginla to play top six minutes is more ludicrous than expecting Vincent Lecavalier to be a third line center. It also probably sucks if you’re Dwight King and Peter Budaj.
Most of all I’m pissed Dwight King is gone because I’ll miss that smile.