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Kings Deadline Recap: A Message Sent by Blake

This team is ready to take another step.



The deadline has officially shut and the Los Angeles Kings roster is set.

The big acquisitions stay the same after Friday. The additions of Vladislav Gavrikov and Joonas Korpisalo.

There were a few moves on Friday. Adding Zack MacEwan and losing Brendan Lemieux. With a few AHL deals sprinkled in. 

Rob Blake certainly improved the on-ice product this week. But he also sent a message to the locker room.

This team is ready to take another step. 

It was reported a few weeks ago that the Kings were ready to "take the next step" and Blake proved that this week.

The Kings traded a future asset in a first-round pick and a club legend to get better now. To try and win now. 

The message has been received by the locker room too.

"If we didn't get that message from our bosses and the management team that makes decisions, and allows us the tools to do what we do. Then I don't know where we've been," said McLellan. "They're telling us that they believe in us and we've got to make good on that."

That's not to say this team has a cup-or-bust mentality, but there are elevated expectations for them.

"It's (expectations) the same as it was at the beginning of the year, although we should be pushing the needle further down," said McLellan. "And that is, to push the envelope, be the best group we can be, make sure we have an identity we can rely on. We went through that identity crisis for a while. And the days of stockpiling draft picks, yeah they're still very valuable to us. That was our identity at one point, tear down and rebuild, now our identity is moving along the line. And it's our responsibility, the coaches and the players, to make sure that needle keeps moving that way. And you're never in one spot standing still. You're either gaining traction or losing it. And we better be gaining it."

Add in players like Gabe Vilardi getting back up to speed after injury, Arthur Kaliyev moving in the same direction and Trevor Moore still to come back. 

This Kings team can be confident in making noise in the postseason.

Last season, there were no expectations for the Kings against the Edmonton Oilers in round one. 

Just being there was a surprise for many.

That's no longer the case. They should be expecting to move into the second or third round and beyond. 

Blake's done a good job toeing the line of improving the team without selling out the future. 

Even if this season doesn't yield a Stanley Cup, it can provide a young group with much-needed experience deep in the postseason.

Another summer of adding on top of these deals and that experience, and the Kings can be confident in their chances next season. 

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