Things have cooled a bit on the Jakob Chyrchun front recently.
The confidence that he would be traded to the Los Angeles Kings has slowly dwindled in the last few days and there's a lot of uncertainty about his future.
He may end up in a King's uniform and he might end up somewhere else, who knows?
But, one thing we do know, is that the Kings are ready to take the next step with moves like a Chychrun trade.
A Kings source shared with BostonHockeyNow.com reporter Jimmy Murphy that there is real excitement internally over how close they are to acquiring a player like Chychrun and that they have reached the stage to utilize the stockpile of talent they've built and 'make the next push.'
I spoke to a longtime #GoKingsGo source of mine. There is not only real excitement over how close they are to acquiring a player like #Chychrun but that they have now reached the stage to utilize the stockpile of talent they built and ‘make the next push’
‘Beware of the crown!’
— MurphysLaw74 (@MurphysLaw74) February 12, 2023
You could argue that the deal to acquire Kevin Fiala last summer was the start of that push. Giving up a prospect and pick for a need. And that's true to a degree, but this feels different.
Fiala was available at a discount because of the Minnesota Wild's cap situation. Chychrun isn't at a discount and it seems like the Kings are done discount shopping.
They're ready to pay a premium price for a premium piece. Again, that piece might not be Chychrun, but something is brewing in Los Angeles.
It makes sense too.
The Kings aren't cup contenders right now, but they're close. A few key additions and a little bit more development from key prospects and they're right there.
They also have an abundance of assets. Even after trading a top right-shot defensive prospect in Brock Faber, they're overloaded in that area. At least one of Sean Durzi, Jordan Spence and Helge Grans needs to be moved.
And it's a similar story up front. Even now, they have more forwards than roster spots when healthy. Assuming Gabe Vilardi returns later this week, one of Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Rasmus Kupari or Arthur Kaliyev will spend time in the press box. Add in prospects like Samuel Fagemo and Alex Turcotte who are close to being NHL-ready and the need for a trade becomes evident.
A trade is not only logical but necessary.
Their needs are clear. Even with Durzi settling in on the left and Pheonix Copley winning games. Adding a left-shot defenseman and goalie would be huge for this team.
I've wondered for a while how close Blake and his team think the Kings are to cup contention.
Well, I have an answer.
They think they're just a piece or two away and it's hard to argue with them.
A deal before the deadline and another in the summer seems like a reasonable expectation for Blake. And could set the Kings up as a dark horse for next season.
One thing remains true though, this next trade will be massive for the Kings' future. Get it right and they're a cup contender within the next season or two. Get it wrong and you undo a lot of good work over the last few seasons.