The NHL trade deadline is coming up, and for the ninth consecutive season the Kings are on the bubble. They aren’t really a contender. They aren’t really a rebuilding tanking team. They could be a threat in the playoffs with a few smart moves. They could miss the playoffs for the third time in four seasons and be out assets and draft picks. They are having those tanking teams re-stock. The big contenders are still clearly out of their reach. The Kings are stuck in the middle, which is really the worst spot you could be in.
Los Angeles has a decent core of veterans still on their team, with Anze Kopitar having a Hart nominee quality season, and Drew Doughty pissing everyone off with a Norris worthy season again. The Kings have good top four group of defenders. There has been a quality infusion of youth to the forward ranks. But
They need Derick Brassard.
The Kings need a center. Derick Brassard plays center. The Kings need a middle lineup quality forward. Derick Brassard plays in the top six. The Kings can’t part with too terribly much. Derick Brassard is going to cost less than Mats Zuccarello and Rick Nash. The Kings need a bridge contract until Michael Amadio is ready. Derick Brassard has another season on his contract after this one.
Ottawa fucking sucks. The Matt Duchene deal was a bust. They’re reeling after giving up a first round pick there and a second round pick from the deal that brought in Brassard as well. They need money to keep Erik Karlsson. They gotta sell guys. Instead, the rumblings reaching the public is DION PHANEUF.
If the Kings can’t sort out a third pair with the likes of Christian Folin, Paul LaDue, Kevin Gravel, Kurtis MacDermid, and Oscar Fantenberg that’s on them. Dion Phaneuf is locked into a 7 million dollar contract that runs through 2021. Why on god’s green earth would anyone want that with a mid-tier at best defenseman who is already 32?
The Kings have been aware of the fact they were dangerously thin down the middle following the call-ups of Nick Shore and Nic Dowd, neither of which had particularly high ceilings. Shore has been a fourth line center perpetually, and the next closest guy ready to make an actual impact at the NHL level is Amadio, who looks a tad unpolished as of yet. This was probably the reason why Adrian Kempe got switched to center last season in Ontario, and started this year as a center despite having played the wings only, well, ever.
Brassard (or any center) could free up Kempe to wing, which is a spot the Kings also need to address. Going Kopitar, Carter, and [insert center’s name here] would be huge. The third pairing of defense would still be a tad uncertain, but rolling four lines game in and game out is far more preferable to Phaneuf sucking wind trying to keep up with Doughty or Alec Martinez.
Of course, Brassard also has a No Trade Clause, but we’re Los Angeles! Plus, at this rate who the fuck would want to be in Ottawa?