Expectations have yet to be met in Los Angeles after the Kings managed to bring in Ilya Kovalchuk to boost the offense and re-signed star defenseman Drew Doughty to a lucrative $88-million eight-year contract. It felt like they were going back to their glory days… However, the cold start of the season for the Kings have fans wondering what will be next, if they should expect someone to get fired or someone to get traded…
On Saturday, after the Kings were handed a 5-1 loss by the visiting Buffalo Sabres, the team barred the dressing room doors post-game while the players and GM Rob Blake had a secret meeting about their awful season start. After registering a 2-1-1 record through the first four games in 2018-19, Los Angeles has dropped four consecutive games in embarrassing fashion: they lost on the roads at the hands of the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs. They lost home games against the New York Islanders and Sabres by a combined score of 21-5. To make things worse, last night, the Dallas Stars snapped a three-game losing skid by doubling up the Kings 4-2, handing the latter their fifth consecutive loss…
It seems almost obvious that the Kings are in dire need for offense and speed up front, and Blake should start looking at what he can give up to acquire these much needed qualities. According to the Fourth Period editor in chief David Pagnotta, there has been internal chatter in LA over futures of left wingers Kyle Clifford and Tanner Pearson. While pointing out that nothing is imminent at the moment, Pagnotta pointed out that trade talks could pick up if the Kings can’t get it together soon.
Head coach John Stevens has been the first to be blamed for the Kings’ poor performances over the past week and may be landing on the hot seat, however, Blake might look to motivate his players by landing some speed up front and making a statement with a major trade. The loss of Clifford or Pearson could really send a message and give the Kings the push they truly need to return as a true contender.
On top of that, TSN’s Darren Dreger believes Alec Martinez could also be used as a trade bait.
“There’s been speculation around Alec Martinez as a trade possibility but I think that Blake needs his best players to be better first before he does anything drastic,” said Dreger on TSN’s Insider Trading.
The easy way to shake up a team is usually to fire the head coach but in this situation, it seems like pressure should be on the shoulders on GM Blake to make the necessary changes before it is too late. They also need better prospects, as Los Angeles hasn’t had a single selection pick higher than the 11th-overall pick in the past nine drafts… Maybe with how this season has started off, the Kings might be able to land a high draft pick in the summer 2019…
We are pretty sure Blake is making phone calls to see if there is interest for Pearson and/or Clifford, and also study what type of return he could receive to help him team immediately.
Photo Credit: Zuma Press