The Los Angeles Kings have already made their big moves and I wouldn’t expect any more to happen in the near future.
However, with the roster all but set and the draft behind us now seems like a good time to roll out a new series. The Kings’ trade value rankings.
Taking inspiration from Bill Simmons’ trade value list, it’s important to remember a few things. Age matters, salary matters and length of contract matters. This isn’t just a ranking of the Kings’ best players, it’s a list of who’s most and least likely to be traded.
I’ll also explain the “Untouchable” tier before diving into it. Yes, I know, no one is actually untouchable, and every player has their price. But there are players who realistically just won’t be traded.
And that’s who we’re looking at today.
Too Old & Too Expensive:
I’m bunching together the headliners.
Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty won’t be going anywhere, anytime soon.
Kopitar’s contract extension, signing him through the 2025-26 season, all but guarantees him as a King’s lifer.
Still a great player, teams aren’t paying a high price to bring in a soon-to-be 36-year-old who’s signed to big money for the next three seasons.
The only way the Kings even think about trading him before the end of his contract is if things go terribly wrong and they restart a rebuild. But I just can’t see that happening.
He’s still the number one center in LA so the Kings won’t want to trade him. And teams aren’t going to send Rob Blake an offer he can’t turn down for an expensive, aging player.
There’s also Kopitar’s no-movement clause, making it all but impossible for LA to move on from him.
With Doughty it’s simple, he’s the second-highest-paid defenseman in the league and isn’t the second-best defenseman in the league.
There isn’t value to be had in a team sending significant assets to LA for Doughty. And because he’s still playing at a high level, the Kings wouldn’t eat salary to accommodate a trade.
Like Kopitar, Doughty’s still the Kings’ best player in his position, meaning they won’t have interest in moving him. And there won’t be a team that sells the farm to get a 33-year-old who’s signed through the 2026-27 season.
Add in a modified no-trade clause and a potential trade becomes even more difficult.
Following up Kopitar and Doughty are their “replacements” within the organization. Brandt Clarke and Quinton Byfield.
Unlike Kopitar and Doughty, I’m sure Clarke and Byfield could fetch a massive price for the Kings, but moving those two won’t interest Blake.
Clarke’s the Kings’ future number-one defenseman and cornerstone piece on the backend, not someone they’ll be looking to trade in the near future.
He’s also coming off a dominant OHL season and has continued to improve his game every year since his draft.
Given the Kings’ cap situation, his being on an entry-level deal also increases his value internally.
Having someone cheap, who can provide NHL-caliber performances is going to be invaluable for the Kings over the next few seasons and Clarke can do exactly that.
Teams rarely trade prospects of Clarke’s caliber and I don’t think he’ll become the exception.
For those of you disappointed to see Byfield in the untouchable tier, I’m sorry, but he’s not going anywhere.
The Kings are fully committed to Byfield despite split fan opinions and won’t look to move on from him in the near future.
His slower development was expected internally, although it has been slower than even they expected, but that hasn’t dampened any of their excitement about this player.
He’s still a unicorn, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound forward with skill, who still isn’t anywhere near his physical peak. You don’t see many prospects like Byfield, and the ones who are similar, usually bloom a little later.
Still a future star in the Kings’ eyes, Byfield is all but untouchable for now.
Too Good and Too Early For a Trade:
Kevin Fiala is the only member of this tier.
He’s the Kings’ most skilled forward and one year into his seven-year, $7.875 million AAV contract, Fiala is going nowhere.
The Kings haven’t had a consistent point-per-game player in a very, very long time and Fiala looks to be exactly that.
Putting his flaws aside, and there are quite a few, he’s still a core piece for the Kings and brings something no one else on the roster does.
I’d put his untouchable status slightly below Kopitar and Doughty, simply because the interest would be greater league-wide. But I don’t see a realistic package that anyone puts together to get him out of Los Angeles.
Especially so early in his contract.
They Just Got Here:
The Kings added a few new faces to the mix over the last of couple months, but only one of them fits into the “untouchable” tier.
Similar to Fiala, this is a core piece the Kings committed a lot of assets and cap space to, meaning there’s no realistic scenario where he is moved.
And with an eight-year, $8.5 million AAV contract under his belt, I question how much interest there would be around the league.
Dubois going to be a King for a while and there isn’t a move out there that’s going to change that.