The new NHL season has not lasted very long, but it has been mainly frustrating so far for the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings made the playoffs last year, although they were swept by the Vegas Golden Knights in a first-round series. That alone was frustrating for them, but the stuff going on right now has to make the Kings organization distraught. Just 11 points gained in 16 games, that is not ideal at all.
Head coach John Stevens was fired last week and the interim coach Willie Desjardins was appointed. After Joel Quenneville was axed these past days in Chicago, the rumblings started to flow around. Should the Kings appoint Coach Q? During the offseason, the Kings went all in. Making the best offer for 35-years old Ilya Kovalchuk and signing him for three years was a clear sign for LA. As a reigning playoff team, they are aiming even higher.
It is not Kovalchuk’s fault, but the Kings have not impressed anybody so far. Jonathan Quick played just four games this season, lost all of them and is out indefinitely since the start of November after knee surgery. Backup goaltender Jack Campbell started to deliver in absence of Quick, but today the Kings have announced that young goalie will miss at least four weeks of play after having meniscus in his knee repaired. With Quick still not close to a return, Kings turn to Peter Budaj, who does not posses great numbers
from his starts in the AHL (6.16 GAA in three starts this campaign).
Are the Kings going to trade for a rental goaltender?
Darren Dreger on TSN radio yesterday mentioned LA as possible sellers. They may look to move their veteran forwards (well, just not Ilya Kovalchuk, that would be mega awkward) like Jeff Carter or Tanner Pearson, who is still 26, but with one point all season long… It is logical they are looking to move him as well that they are looking at other possibilities. Kings were linked with many possible trade partners, Jeff Carter was mentioned by Dreger in connection with the Bruins.
Dreger himself had no idea about Jack Campbell’s injury. With Los Angeles practically not having goalies for few weeks, and since they are already so down in the standings, that may speed up moves in coming weeks. On the other side, Kings were linked to William Nylander after his well-known stalemate situation with the Maple Leafs. So, acquire Nylander plus Joel Quenneville as a head coach and you are good to go as potential contenders, or just sell now and go to rebuild mode?
The Kings are still quite unsure about what they are going to do next. Many teams, will wait upon the Kings decision. Injuries to both of their top goaltenders might trigger some trades. Being already 10 points out of the playoff spot, that can accelerate moves too.