Kings Trade Talk; Blake Running Out of Time in a Changing Market
One thing Marek and Friedman pointed out is that Blake won’t be drawn into a bidding war.
The NHL trade deadline is less than a week away, and the Los Angeles Kings have yet to make a move.
Despite most teams getting their work done early, general manager Rob Blake has stood firm
General manager Rob Blake has been adamant about two things.
Not taking away from the current NHL roster and he's happy with the current roster and doesn't feel the need to add players.
As we get closer to the deadline, it appears Blake will stay true to both of those things.
If Blake does decide this team needs to add, he's running out of time and has a changing market to deal with.
The Kings' two main areas of concern are left-shot defensemen and goalie.
The left defense market has changed quite a bit recently.
Monday morning, the Toronto Maple Leafs traded for Jake McCabe, a name the Kings have been linked to recently, shrinking the market for Blake.
One option for the Kings remains Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov. The Boston Bruins appeared to be closing in on Gavrikov, but their trade for Dmitry Orlov takes them out of that sweepstakes.
Jeff Marek mentioned on Monday that the Kings have shown interest in Gavrikov recently, but Gavrikov didn't want to sign an extension so they moved on.
At his best Gavrikov would be a solid option for Los Angeles. He posted good numbers in his first three seasons and as a 6-foot-3 lefty with reach and a physical side he'd be a good fit for what the Kings need.
The issue is, we haven't seen that player this season.
The other problem with Gavrikov is the price. According to TSN's Chris Johnston two weeks ago, the price for Gavrikov is steep.
"As good as the cap looks on Gavrikov for the Oilers and other teams, I think there's still some 'sticker shock' on the price because the Blue Jackets are sticking, at least to this point, to a three-draft pick kind of return," said Johnston. "A first, a third and a fourth at least one team was told this week and I think what makes that even tougher is the fact that this player is a pending unrestricted free agent."
At that price, there's no chance Blake pulls the trigger.
Of course, the Jakob Chychrun rumors still loom large.
But Marek lacked confidence in that deal happening during Monday's 32 thoughts podcast. He added that things can change quickly, but it seemed like there were pieces the team couldn't agree on that won't change.
At this point, it seems like, if a trade is going to happen in this position, it will be for someone we haven't heard as much around recently.
Someone like Travis Sanheim out of Philadelphia, or someone way out in left field.
Chychrun and Gavrikov still feel possible, but unlikely at this point.
Then there's the goalie situation.
There was faint hope Jonathan Quick was finding some form recently, as he won three straight games for the Kings. But getting pulled Sunday against the New York Rangers, that is likely gone.
It's worth pointing out that Quick wasn't awful against the Rangers, but it was still a step in the wrong direction.
The usual names were mentioned, Joonas Korpisalo and Thatcher Demko, but those seem unlikely as well. Marek made the point that a Demko deal is more likely in the summer.
And there's been little movement on the Korpisalo front.
One very intriguing name that entered the fold was Nashville Predators goalie Juuse Saros. In the last few days, the Predators have traded Nino Niederreiter and Tanner Jeannot, and the team announced that David Poile would retire at the end of this season.
There have been no reports that Blake has made an approach or even inquired about Saros. But Elliotte Friedman did make an "educated guess" that a move for Saros is possible.
If Nashville is willing to deal Saros, Blake should shift all of his focus to him.
Saros is an elite goalie, who's never had a season with a negative goals saved above expected. And has posted 20+ goals saved above expected in each of the last two seasons.
Earning him a third-place Vezina vote last season.
It's unclear what the price would be for Saros, given how new this development is, but Saros would be worth a big price.
Whatever Blake is willing to give up for Chychrun, he should send that same deal over to Nashville and see if it gets him Saros.
An elite goalie would take this Kings team up a level and Blake shouldn't be afraid to pay for one.
One thing Marek and Friedman pointed out is that Blake won't be drawn into a bidding war.
We'll see how committed to winning this season Blake is by Friday. But fans might have to wait until the summer for another big move.