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Los Angeles Kings Offseason Strategy: Use Their Salary Cap Space

Drew Doughty wants the Los Angeles Kings to spend some money. What are a couple of options GM Rob Blake could look at?

Guest post by: Derrek Kowbel

Los Angeles Kings GM Rob Blake was entering this offseason as a man with a VERY calculated plan. Armed with Cap Space ($20 Million), blue-chip prospects (Quinton Byfield, Alex Turcotte, Arthur Kalyiev), and draft capital (a 1st, two 2nds, and a 3rd), Blake could afford to slow-play his hand.

But the parting comments by Drew Doughty in his exit interviews sent shockwaves through the organization. When he said, “With all this cap room, we have to bring guys in,” there might be an expectation now to spend some money.

Essentially, the Norris-winning defensemen gave his General Manager an ultimatum. The aging vets aren’t getting any younger, and they want another run at a championship. Some suspect the Kings will look at landing Jack Eichel in a trade. That said, the current asking price for Eichel would strip the Kings of too much, and holes can be filled by looking elsewhere. 

What Are the Kings Free Agency or Trade Options?

A projected flat cap will make free agency difficult on some potential buyers, so the Kings should look to bolster their defense with Dougie Hamilton. At $9 Million per season, the Kings can start to lighten the load for Drew Doughty while addressing a position they’ve neglected in recent years.

Dougie Hamiltion Hurricanes YouTube
Dougie Hamiltion Hurricanes YouTube

Trading for Calgary’s Johnny Gadreau ($6.75 million) would bring some NHL-level skill to a top line that hasn’t seen magic like that since Marian Gaborik. Johnny has been looking for a divorce from Calgary for some time, and would benefit greatly by playing with the big-bodied style of Anze Kopitar. The hit to the salary cap would be minimal, as Dustin Brown and Jonathan Quick’s contracts will be coming off the books in upcoming years (saving over $11 million). The asking price will surely include a couple roster players, a prospect, and a pick (my guess: Adrian Kempe, Rasmus Kupari, a 1st & 3rd). 

The Kings Internal Business

Andreas Athansiou and Lias Andersson are both pending-RFA’s, but have shown they deserve a spot on the team going forward. Team-friendly deals will fill out the bottom six while Quinton Byfield matures in the AHL.

The time is now for Rob Blake to play his hand, and turn these assets into wins. He was afforded the benefit of two banners hanging in the rafters, but the city wants another winner. 

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