Moving on to the last section of the Los Angeles King’s trade value rankings, we’re looking at the moveable pieces.
Players who could be moved at any time, and are potentially likely to be moved in the near future.
Given the Kings’ cap situation and where they’re at with their roster, they like it, this is a small list.
Just two players feature as moveable pieces. There could have been more, but most of the extra players would have been Ontario Reign players who don’t move the needle in any one direction.
1. Carl Grundstrom:
Carl Grundstrom can be a difficult player to rate at times. He goes through stretches where he likes like an ideal, physical, bottom-six scorer who can turn a matchup for you.
Then, he goes through stretches where he looks lost and ends up healthy scratched, or with significantly reduced ice time.
Grundstrom does bring a few elements to the table the Kings are missing right now that might save him though. He’s by far their most physical forward right now and his 12 goals in 57 games can’t be ignored. It’s a 17-goal pace over 82 games while averaging just under 11 minutes of time on ice.
Grundstrom’s a player who I’ve always felt needed one more element to his game. If he could kill penalties or fight, he’d be a locked-on bottom-six player for the Kings. But, he doesn’t, and right now he lacks a “B” game as Todd McLellan likes to say.
The Kings still like Grundstrom as a player and won’t be eager to move him. But their cap situation doesn’t look great and replacing Grundstrom with someone on a league minimum contract would help.
They can save around $525,000 by trading Grundstrom and replacing him with Samuel Fagemo. If they then swap Andreas Englund out for Tobias Bjornfot, they’d have enough cap to carry 22 players instead of 21.
If the Kings did move on from Grundstrom, they’d be hurting for physicality in the bottom-six, which might be enough to keep him safe.
If Blake Lizotte is traded it won’t be because of his on-ice performance, it will be because of the Kings’ cap situation.
Lizotte was solid last season as the third-line center, posting career highs in both goals and points. He’s probably best as a fourth-line center, where he slots in next season, but freeing up his $1.6 million contract would be huge for the Kings.
The Kings could replace Lizotte with two players making around league minimum, meaning they won’t be locked into a 21-player roster next season.
Moving on Lizotte and replacing him with someone like Jaret Anderson-Dolan, or Trevor Lewis, would be a downgrade, but not a big one.
They’d lose Lizotte’s non-stop motor and the underrated skill he brings to the bottom six, but he’s replaceable. At the end of the day, all fourth-line centers are.
Anderson-Dolan would have a chance to move back up the middle and secure a full-time spot on the roster. Or, they can go with the veteran Lewis, although I wouldn’t play him as a full-time center.
In a perfect world, the Kings would keep Lizotte and have the deepest group of four centers in the league. But we don’t live in an ideal world and the hard cap forces difficult decisions on organizations.
If one of Anderson-Dolan, Lewis or even a wildcard like Alex Turcotte, comes in and impresses at training camp, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lizotte moved.
Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if Lizotte has a good enough camp to force the Kings to keep him. For the last few seasons the conversation has consistently been, “This guy could take over from Lizotte at the 4C,” and consistently it hasn’t happened.
Someone would have to come in and take the spot from Lizotte and he won’t give it up easily.