The Kings were one of the first teams to kick off trade season when they dealt Jack Campbell and Kyle Clifford to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Trevor Moore and some draft picks. However, GM Rob Blake’s work is far from over, as the Kings are preparing to enter a rebuilding phase. In a recent Athletic article, writer Scott Wheeler concluded his 2020 NHL prospect system rankings by pronouncing the Kings as the NHL’s best. If Wheeler is correct, then the Kings’ system should only continue to improve as the deadline gets closer, as they stand to get substantial assets in exchange for their many available trade pieces.
The Kings have two forwards set to hit the open market on July 1st as unrestricted free agents, as well as three defensemen. There have also been rumors that the Kings may look to move 34-year old goaltender Jonathan Quick, who was an essential part of their dynasty and may still have some gas left in the tank. Quick has had back to back sub .900 save percentage seasons but may simply be a victim of a lackluster Los Angeles defense in front of him. Should Quick be traded to a contender (with potential salary retention), we may see an increase in his numbers. Jack Campbell has been out of Los Angeles for three starts; he has won two of them and lost the third in overtime for a total of 5/6 possible points with the Maple Leafs. We think the same could happen to Quick if the situation is right.
The most coveted of the Kings’ assets, however, are pending UFA Tyler Toffoli and defensive cornerstone Alec Martinez. Martinez has a respectable career AB score for a defenseman with a -1.52 score but is coming off four negative seasons in a row, with a career-worst -5.98 score in 2016-17. His giveaway/takeaway ratio isn’t off the charts either at 29:6. However, he has an impressive penalty drawn to taken ratio for a defenseman who plays 21+ minutes per night with a 3:5 ratio. In 39 games played, Martinez has 1 goal and 8 points, making $4 million a season. The most intriguing thing about the 32-year old Martinez is the fact that he’s under contract for next season and won’t be an unrestricted free agent until 2021-2022.
Toffoli, on the other hand, is still a very talented player with loads of potential. His career AB score is an impressive +2.55, despite the fact he’s coming off of his worst AB season since 2012-2013. Before this, however, Toffoli registered back to back +6 AB scores, which is tremendously high. He has already exceeded his goal total from last season, as he currently has 14, and is 4 points away from matching last season’s total as well. Toffoli is one of the Kings’ leaders in drawn penalties with 10 as opposed to the 8 he has taken. He also is tied for the team lead in takeaways with 30, with 29 giveaways as well. Toffoli has played in all but one of the Kings’ games this season and has been a rare bright spot for this team. Someone will pay a premium to acquire his services, and they will certainly be getting a talented player that will help them gear up for a playoff run. A team like the Calgary Flames should certainly try and work something out with Rob Blake, he would help them immensely. It will surely be interesting to see what Blake and his team decide to do, and how much they tear down this team, in the hopes of landing either Alexis Lafrenière or Quinton Byfield in the 2020 NHL draft lottery. More to come.