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Kings Trade Value Rankings: The Nearly Untouchables



Adrian Kempe

After looking at the Los Angeles Kings’ untouchable players, it’s time to move on down the list.

Today it’s the nearly untouchables, players who I’d be surprised, and in some cases shocked, to see moved. But players who I don’t feel quite make it into the untouchable tier.

I also wanted to clarify something that came up a few times in the last trade value rankings article. Yes, the Kings are very unlikely to make another trade this summer.

This isn’t a list of players I think the Kings will or are looking to trade. It’s simply looking at where each player ranks in value on the roster.

Which brings us to players on today’s list. I want to reiterate that the players on this list are not players I’d expect to be traded.

They’re players who are unlikely to be moved but would have a non-zero percent chance of being traded. View them in the 0.1%-5% range.

Core Pieces:

The first group I’m going to look at is the core pieces on the roster who didn’t make the untouchables list. Players who are mostly signed to good contracts and are providing quality play for the team.

Adrian Kempe:

Adrian Kempe is the player I got the most pushback on for not having in the untouchables tier. And I get it, I struggled to push him out of that tier and would listen to anyone who’s making the case that he is untouchable.

Kempe’s a star. He’s 15th in the league for goals scored over the last two seasons and making $5.5 million per year over the next three seasons. So, the case for being untouchable is strong, and I’d put him closer to the 0.1% than the 5% mentioned above.

But I can just about squint and see a world where he’s moved. His ten-team no-trade clause doesn’t kick in until next season and his low cap hit relative to production would make him a hot commodity on the market.

A team looking to make the final push into Cup contention, as the Kings are, would pay a premium to get Kempe. If the Kings were in a place where they wanted to shake things up, maybe they get a team to send an offer too good to refuse.

Phil Danault:

The addition of Pierre-Luc Dubois does make trading Phil Danault more manageable. But with a no-movement clause that turns into a 10-team no-trade clause next year, it still seems very unlikely.

Danault’s still an excellent middle-six center who’s coming off a career year and a solid playoff performance.

At $5.5 million for the next four seasons, he also comes in with a very reasonable cap hit. It really is the existence of Dubois and a potential Quinton Byfield that moves Danault into the maybe tier for me.

It would take a lot of what-ifs, but if Dubois hits in Los Angeles and Byfield’s development takes a sharp upward turn, I could see Danault becoming “expendable.”

The Kings could use his $5.5 million to address the goalie situation, which will continue to be a question mark for the foreseeable future.

And while he does have a 10-team no-trade clause which kicks in next year, that still leaves 22 teams that can trade for him.

I wouldn’t be shocked to see Danault traded before the end of his current contract, but I would be shocked if that trade happened in the near future.

Mikey Anderson:

When the Kings signed Mikey Anderson to an eight-year, $33-million contract extension in February, they made it clear he was a big part of their future.

And it’s easy to see why, he’s become a reliable top-pair, shutdown defenseman next to Drew Doughty. He also plays a game that fits into Todd McLellan’s system and he should be a perfect partner for Brandt Clarke when Clarke eventually takes over as the number-one guy in LA.

At just 24 years old and a reasonable cap hit, there’s just no reason for the Kings to move him.

On the flip side — and I say this with the view that Anderson is one of the most underrated defensemen in the league — he doesn’t bring the high-end ability that makes someone untouchable.

Stars are untouchable, and although Anderson is excellent at what he does, he isn’t a star.

Still, Anderson’s a valued piece and I expect him to wear a letter at some point in the near future. I wouldn’t be at all shocked to see him play all eight years of his contract in Los Angeles.

New Additions:

The Kings brought in a lot of new faces this summer, but only two of them make it into the almost untouchable tier. Dubois, of course, was in the actual untouchable tier.

Cam Talbot:

On pure ability Cam Talbot likely wouldn’t be here, but given the Kings’ situation in net I don’t there’s any appetite to move the guy they just signed to be their 1A in net.

It’s hard for me to see a world where he isn’t at least the backup this season and I’d guess Pheonix Copley and David Rittich are behind him in trade value.

If things went really wrong in net, I can just about see the Kings packaging him in a deal at the deadline for a goalie upgrade. But for now, he seems like the short-term answer.

Vladislav Gavrikov:

This one’s pretty simple, the Kings didn’t trade away a first-round pick and Jonathan Quick and give Vladislav Gavrikov a two-year. $11.75 million contract to trade him this soon.

The only thing that makes him an even somewhat likely candidate to be moved in the near future is his shorter-term contract. With just two years on it, he’d be an easy piece to move if the Kings were blowing things up.

But, because the Kings are in the stage they are, that seems very unlikely.

The team loves what the got out of Gavrikov down the stretch last year and see him as a big piece in the push to go deep in the playoffs this year.

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