UFA Options: Los Angeles Kings

kings

UFA Options is a continuing series that gives a brief run-down of the unrestricted free agent market this summer, team-by-team. Our next team for consideration is the Los Angeles Kings .

Dean Lombardi’s Los Angeles Kings are a team on the rise. 2008-09 marked the sixth consecutive season for the team without a playoff appearance, and they haven’t gone on a lengthy run since the days of Wayne Gretzky and Kelly Hrudey.

Right now though they have a wealth of young talent, most of it under contract long-term, and there are only three players on the team entering unrestricted free ageny, with none of them being vital cogs.

Kyle Calder

Kyle Calder twice topped the fifty-point mark in Chicago, recording career highs in 2005-06 (79GP – 26G – 33A – 59PTS) but he’s struggled ever since, and this past season was no exception. He played second-line opposition and had a reasonable split in terms of offensive/defensive zone work, but he couldn’t quite hit the 10-goal or 30-point plateaus. He isn’t much of a physical presence, although occasionally he can chip in there, he doesn’t block shots (recorded only 7 blocks in 74 games last season – team low numbers) and he’s not the world’s most fluid skater, either.

He’s a good utility player who can occasionally step up into a top-six role (particularly as a playmaker) but doesn’t provide enough offense to stay there season-to-season and probably isn’t reliable enough defensively to anchor a shut-down line.

Derek Armstrong

This past season was brutal for Armstrong. Armstrong bounced around the AHL for years before signing on with Los Angeles at the tender age of 29, when he unexpectedly emerged as a decent support player. Over the past five seasons he’s generally played around 60 games and chipped in between 35 and 45 points, but this last year the wheels fell off; he managed 9 points in 56 games despite playing a sheltered role and bled goals against. Armstrong’s never been quick but at 36 he’s only getting slower, so despite decent offensive talent and a relatively chippy game it’s fair to ask if he’ll be in the NHL next season.

Denis Gauthier

It was a little surprising to see Denis Gauthier return to the NHL after being exiled to the Philadelphia Phantoms for 2007-08; it was less surprising that he struggled. Los Angeles basically agreed to take a second round pick in exchange for taking Gauthier’s salary off of the Flyers’ hands.

Gauthier’s never been quick, and he plays a physical – even dirty – game; he was twice suspended by the NHL this past season (in the span of a single month) for a blow to the head of Montreal’s Josh Gorges and then for boarding Sharks’ captain Patrick Marleau. He hits and blocks shots, every so often he fights, but at this point he shouldn’t be in the top-six on a decent team.

  • @ Boris:
    How much is too much? What if they want Gagner and Visnovsky?

    Edmonton is a good trading partner for Ottawa. We have an abundance of puck moving D-men that Ottawa nso desperately needs, and some good young, inexpensive, emerging forwards.

  • Well Tambellini here you go, if you want to make a name for your self make this Heatley trade happen. I am thinking something in the lines of Gilbert or Souray, Cogliano, Nilsson, throw in the this years first round pick (yes I said it), and maybe you can get him. It might sound like alot but how often do you get a crack at a guy that has scored 50 and is just entering the prime of his career.

  • Bob Cob wrote:

    Well Tambellini here you go, if you want to make a name for your self make this Heatley trade happen. I am thinking something in the lines of Gilbert or Souray, Cogliano, Nilsson, throw in the this years first round pick (yes I said it), and maybe you can get him. It might sound like alot but how often do you get a crack at a guy that has scored 50 and is just entering the prime of his career.

    No way it takes that much, Ott has just seen their leverage evaporate.

    See: Luongo/Pronger/Bure/Thorton etc etc trade.

  • Just since we're dreaming:

    H-H-H
    Kid Line (No sophmore slump)
    Moreau-UFA Center-Pisani
    Penner-Brodziak-Stortini

    If you can move O'Sullivan and a top four D for Heatley… and if Smid can play in the top four… the Salary works. There would be around 14 million to resign Brodziak, Smid, Grebs, a starting Goalie, and a third line UFA center. Remember Pouliot could still center the fourth line and Brodziak woulf bump to third if the UFA center thing fell through. There is no reason to believe that some of our younger players wouldn't be able to take a small step forward… if the first line scores, it takes the pressure off everybody else.

  • Chris wrote:

    Just since we’re dreaming:
    H-H-H
    Kid Line (No sophmore slump)
    Moreau-UFA Center-Pisani
    Penner-Brodziak-Stortini
    If you can move O’Sullivan and a top four D for Heatley… and if Smid can play in the top four… the Salary works. There would be around 14 million to resign Brodziak, Smid, Grebs, a starting Goalie, and a third line UFA center. Remember Pouliot could still center the fourth line and Brodziak woulf bump to third if the UFA center thing fell through. There is no reason to believe that some of our younger players wouldn’t be able to take a small step forward… if the first line scores, it takes the pressure off everybody else.

    *Falls in love with the new line-up*

  • Ogden Brother wrote:

    Chris wrote:
    Just since we’re dreaming:
    H-H-H
    Kid Line (No sophmore slump)
    Moreau-UFA Center-Pisani
    Penner-Brodziak-Stortini
    If you can move O’Sullivan and a top four D for Heatley… and if Smid can play in the top four… the Salary works. There would be around 14 million to resign Brodziak, Smid, Grebs, a starting Goalie, and a third line UFA center. Remember Pouliot could still center the fourth line and Brodziak woulf bump to third if the UFA center thing fell through. There is no reason to believe that some of our younger players wouldn’t be able to take a small step forward… if the first line scores, it takes the pressure off everybody else.
    *Falls in love with the new line-up*

    Though I'd move Penner up to play with Cogs/Gagner and rotate JFJ and Nilsson in.

  • I wouldn't say its impossible for the Oil to swing a deal for Heatley, but there's gotta be some other destinations that make more sense. LA for example. We've heard how they want to make some moves. San Jose? Vancouver?

  • Ogden Brother wrote:

    Though I’d move Penner up to play with Cogs/Gagner and rotate JFJ and Nilsson in.

    If Smid can't play top four minutes, or if a UFA defensive center cannot be had: Cogliano could be moved to address this need. Penner would bump up to line two. However, as is, my proposed lineup has piles of depth in the event of injury. Penner can play wing on any line, on either side. Cogliano could come off the wing and draw in at center.

  • Bob Cob wrote:

    Well Tambellini here you go, if you want to make a name for your self make this Heatley trade happen. I am thinking something in the lines of Gilbert or Souray, Cogliano, Nilsson, throw in the this years first round pick (yes I said it), and maybe you can get him. It might sound like alot but how often do you get a crack at a guy that has scored 50 and is just entering the prime of his career.

    Not a chance on the first round pick with 3 roster players, 2 of excellent quality. I would say Gilbert, Cogs and Moreau. Salary is close, Ott gets their PMD, speedy centre that can score and a character forward that brings energy, all of which they need.

    We spend one of our 4 PMD, move a guy who is wasting his talents on the 3rd line but with 2 centres ahead of him and make a leadership adjustment. We get a 45 to 55 goal scorer for Hemmer that gives us two realistic. 90 point guys and then Horc could work on that line with 70 points he needs to put up.

    You have to give up something to get something. Would we trade Hemmer for Campoli and Fisher? Not a chance!! So lets not think Gilbert and one avg guy will get us Heatly, who has more value than Hemmer.

  • @ RossCreek:
    Oh yeah. This is all pie in the sky. As for, L.A, Lombardi may want to keep his core of young players and use his cap space to sign a UFA… Wilson in San Jose, however, may want to shake things up. If you were Heatley; would you be against moving to San Jose?

  • Chris wrote:

    Ogden Brother wrote:
    Though I’d move Penner up to play with Cogs/Gagner and rotate JFJ and Nilsson in.
    If Smid can’t play top four minutes, or if a UFA defensive center cannot be had: Cogliano could be moved to address this need. Penner would bump up to line two. However, as is, my proposed lineup has piles of depth in the event of injury. Penner can play wing on any line, on either side. Cogliano could come off the wing and draw in at center.

    It's more that I just don't see the kid line working again, + I think we'd get fare more offense out of Penner then Nilsson.

  • Chris wrote:

    @ RossCreek:
    Oh yeah. This is all pie in the sky. As for, L.A, Lombardi may want to keep his core of young players and use his cap space to sign a UFA… Wilson in San Jose, however, may want to shake things up. If you were Heatley; would you be against moving to San Jose?

    Heatly + Thorton would be amazing.

  • Ogden Brother wrote:

    It’s more that I just don’t see the kid line working again, + I think we’d get fare more offense out of Penner then Nilsson.

    This was my lineup heading into camp. If Nilsson, or Penner, or anyone else for that matter doesn't come into camp in shape with a fresh attitude… then further moves would be made. I just said Kid line as a quick way of identifying players w/o typing their full names. With injuries, adjustments, and a new coaching staff, who knows how the lines would look.

  • @ Thunder:
    @ Ogden Brother:
    Are you guys kidding me? Thats too much for a 50 goal
    100 pt guy? You guys have to be drunk if you think that is too much, Gilbert and Cogliano would be the starting point, see if they will take Nilsson and his seven goals and I would throw in the first round pick this year. You cant trade a 2 Volkwagens for a Porche. You have to make a big move to get Heatley, like a 3 or 4 for 1. Thunder wrote:

    I would say Gilbert, Cogs and Moreau.

    So your saying Nilsson is better than Moreau that makes no sense.Thunder wrote:

    So lets not think Gilbert and one avg guy will get us Heatly, who has more value than Hemmer.

    I didn't say that, Gilbert and Cogliano are starting points let see if they will take Nilsson, and sweeten the deal with the pick,