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Deal with the Devil

No, not New Jersey

NHL: JAN 13 Ducks at Kings
fun times
Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On paper, the Ducks and Kings are fairly comparable. There is some suspect depth on the wings, filled out with AHL quality players. The defenses have a decent blend of veterans and young talent. The goaltending is adequate most of the time, unless John Gibson has to face Trevor Lewis or Jonathan Quick has to deal with a shot from the boards. But the Ducks have one thing the Kings definitely lack.

Center depth.

When Anaheim traded for Adam Henrique they were dealing with Ryan Getzlaf being out with an injury, and Ryan Kelser was recovering from a asshole bleaching gone wrong or something too. Now that is their lines one through three’s centers. Antoine Vermette rounds things out as a capable 4C.

The Kings meanwhile have thrown Adrian Kempe into being a second line center despite having been more of a winger and he’s also a rookie (sorta but you get what I mean). As mentioned, oh, about 5000 times before, the Kings have gone through every fringe hockey player known. It’s a matter of time before they ask Derek Armstrong to come out of retirement or see if Alyn McCauley is up to anything.

It’s been an issue since the last Cup win. It’s not been addressed. Michael Amadio doesn’t have much to work with on the wings, and fixing that is a whole other issue. Nick Shore is fine as a bottom six guy, but he certainly looks better as a fourth line player. Trevor Lewis could probably hold down a fourth line role capably, but he looks better as a complimentary piece on the wing. In any case, then you’re back to hoping Kempe finds his consistency on the second line. Even when Jeff Carter comes back, the center spot remains a question mark at the bottom lines.

The Kings need a center. Now. It maybe doesn’t need to be a Adam Henrique level guy, but whoo boy would that help. The Ducks were smart to strike when they knew they needed help then and there. It now has them in a spot where they have an impressive set of pivots on each line. Torrey Mitchell isn’t the answer for anything, and when Carter gets back he’s probably out of here anyway. It doesn’t help that Los Angeles doesn’t have a disgruntled young defenseman they could use as trade bait, but they do have some assets

There’s enough teams out east already out of the playoff picture. Maybe Edmonton is stupid enough to drop one of their talented young players again, though doing that within their own division would be setting a new level of idiotic behavior even for them. The Red Wings are stuck in salary cap hell. Do they unload a pricey veteran? Their blue line is garbage, and the Kings have some younger pieces they could move.