Kings Trade Talk: Senators GM Scouting Kings Games
The Senators need a right-shot defenseman, an area the Kings are overloaded in.
The NHL trade rumor mill is churning.
Sunday, it was reported that Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorian was in attendance for the Los Angeles Kings' matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Usually, that isn't very exciting, just general managers doing their job watching teams around the league. However, Dorian was also in attendance to watch the Kings take on the Dallas Stars just three days before.
This seems like more than just Dorian doing his job, it appears he's scouting the Kings ahead of a potential trade.
The Senators need a right-shot defenseman, an area the Kings are overloaded in. And Ottawa might have a piece or two that would interest Rob Blake.
Of the reported right-shot defenseman, it seems like Dorian is most interested in one of Matt Roy or Sean Walker. Moving a right-shot defenseman makes sense for the Kings, it would allow them to move Sean Durzi back to his strong side and give them more balance on the blue line. However, they aren't going to make a trade solely to get three lefties and three righties. They don't mind Durzi on the left and seem content with their current setup.
Because of this, I imagine Roy is a non-starter for Los Angeles. He's worth more to the Kings than Ottawa would be willing to pay.
This leaves Walker as the most obvious Kings trade option. He isn't quite on the NHL trade block, but he's the easiest defenseman to move.
Heading into the season the Kings' need for a left-shot defenseman was clear. They haven't aggressively pursued one yet, to the ire of some fans, but now would be a good time for a Kings trade.
Looking at what Ottawa has, Jake Sanderson and Thomas Chabot are untouchable. The Kings won't put together a package that gets either player. Leaving Erik Brannstrom and Nick Holden as the other two left-shot defensemen. Brannstrom's an interesting option, but the last thing the Kings need is another undersized puck mover.
So, Holden seems like the best option if the Kings are interested in a left-shot defenseman. And a move involving the two teams swapping Holden for Walker would make sense.
Holden's a big, stay-at-home defenseman with solid reach, something the Kings are missing on their blue line. He could partner with Roy on the second pairing to give the Kings a solid shutdown option. He's also cheaper than Walker, with a cap hit of just $1.3 million and a UFA at the end of this season. This would give the Kings more freedom in a potential trade to improve their goaltending situation now, or in the summer.
It wouldn't be a big move and Holden wouldn't move the needle for the Kings, but it would give them more flexibility moving forward.
Walker's improved in the last month, looking like he's finally recovered from his knee injury and could be a useful piece for the Senators.
Despite a decent bounce-back performance from Pheonix Copley Sunday, the Kings still have a problem in net. Age has seemingly caught up to Jonathan Quick, Cal Petersen is still trying to find his game in Ontario and Copley is a career AHLer. Not an ideal situation for a team stuck in a playoff race.
Anton Forsberg and Cam Talbot currently split time in Ottawa and Talbot seems like the more obvious fit for Los Angeles.
Under Todd McLellan with the Edmonton Oilers, Talbot played the best hockey of his career. During the 2016-17 season under McLellan, Talbot played 73 games and earned himself a fourth-place Vezina finish. The Kings might be looking for McLellan and Talbot to rekindle their relationship.
Talbot also comes in with a reasonable cap hit of $3.6 million and, like Holden, is a free agent this summer. The Kings could bring Talbot in to shore up their goaltending situation before making a decision on his future this summer.
If McLellan can get the most out of Talbot again, he would be an ideal partner for Petersen next season, assuming Petersen finds his game. Or, act as a holdover while the Kings figure out their long-term play in net.
It's a deal that makes a lot of sense for the Kings if the price is right,