The Los Angeles Kings are a team that will be looking to add to their roster as they are in sole possession of second place in the Pacific Division and have cap space and roster spots available to upgrade. The Philadelphia Flyers are a team that is going to be sellers before the trade deadline, and with players like Claude Giroux, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Justin Braun, more than enough teams will be calling.
The Flyers have made it known a roster shakeup is coming, so it’s likely to include more than just unrestricted free agents being traded. This brings the possibility of Travis Konecny being moved as well, and the Kings would be a top destination.
It can be argued that the Kings have the best prospect pool in the NHL and not many roster spots to bring them all up and play them. That being said, David Pagnotta and Denis Bernstein of The Fourth Period spoke on the prospect situation for the Kings and said “LA has a ton of young talent that they are willing to explore moving.”
This is where we are going to be realistic and take a dive into what each prospect brings to the table. Excluding Brandt Clarke and Alex Turcotte, since they are very high-class prospects, the rest of the talent pool should be in play as the Kings look to bolster their roster and become real contenders.
We are going to start with a pair of young players in the Kings organization that should be considered rookies instead of prospects. Arthur Kaliyev is the first, as he’s played the entire season for the Kings. He is in a bottom-six role and his spot could be filled for any run within the next couple of seasons they hope to go on. He is projected to be a future top-six player, but it’s crowded in the Kings lineup and I don’t see him passing wingers like Adrian Kempe, Alex Iafallo, or Viktor Arvidsson that quickly.
Kaliyev is only 20 years old and is in the first year of his entry-level contract. With the Flyers shifting their roster, bringing in young talent for cheap that is already accustomed to the NHL could allow him to grow and develop faster in an elevated role.
Kaliyev has an excellent Corsi percentage and starts the play 68 percent of the time in the offensive zone. He has also spent over 100 minutes on the power play this season. He will be a scorer in this league, and the Flyers can benefit from using him in the top nine after he’s got a year of NHL experience under his belt.
The other Kings player that has just about graduated from being a prospect is Gabriel Vilardi. Unlike Kaliyev, he has spent most of the season in the American Hockey League (AHL) after playing 54 of 56 games for the Kings last season. He put up 10 goals and 23 points in 2020-21, but might have been utilized too high up in the lineup too early. He seems to have been passed by Kaliyev, Quinton Byfield and bumped down the depth charts after the acquisitions of Arvidsson and Philip Danault.
With the centre depth being how it is for at least two more seasons after this one, Vilardi has to be on the trade block to help the Kings bring in talent that can help them win now. He has the skillset and production to allow him to stick around in the NHL, but the circumstances in LA have held him back. If the Flyers are set to lose Giroux to trade and Sean Couturier and Kevin Hayes continue to deal with injuries, he could be a great filler and get his chance as at least a third-line centre with the chance to move up the lineup.
Vilardi is a two-way centre who would fit right in and be able to master his game by watching one of the best in the NHL in Couturier. He not only has great awareness and is calm in all situations but he is also described as “at his best when cycling the puck down low. He has outstanding puck skills below the hash marks in the offensive zone.” Another big body who can play at both ends of the ice with and without the puck is exactly what the Flyers need right now.
Rasmus Kupari is another first-round pick by the Kings that has been held back by the lack of space in the lineup. He has actually gotten into 36 games of action this season in the NHL, scoring nine points in 37 games, but was in a bottom-six role and has since been sent back down to the AHL. There, he has five points in nine games, but he should be ready to take the next step and find a full-time NHL role somewhere.
Kupari can play centre or the wing but was thrown into a third-line centre role on the Kings. This early in his career, it wasn’t the best choice to allow him to succeed, especially with the rotating door of wingers on that line. He should be utilized on the wing, but they have too many wingers as it is. More often than not, even natural centremen are played on the wing when they first get the promotion to the NHL, taking some of the pressure off of them.
Similar to Kempe, Kupari struggles to win draws and has speed that is best used on the wing. He is able to take over games at the AHL level where he dominated last season, but not being able to do that has impacted his confidence. His return to the AHL this season should allow him to regain that confidence and come back to the NHL as a better player.
Ranked fourth by THW’s own Austin Stanovich, is Samuel Fagemo. The rave for this prospect is all about his shot and sniping ability. When was the last time the Flyers had a pure sniper? It’s been a while and he would be a great addition to a lineup that is looking to put the puck in the net more.
Whether it’s his wrist shot, slap shot, hands, or speed, Fagemo is dangerous all around and drives the puck to the net as much as he can. On top of his skillset offensively, he’s been working at his play in the defensive zone. He’s noticed that’s the part of his game he must improve upon the most and as he becomes a more complete player, he will only be more impactful whenever he is on the ice.
His 16 goals this season in the AHL are an improvement on his 10 from 2020-21, his first in North America. He got four games with the Kings this season when they were short on players, but isn’t quite ready to make the jump to the NHL full-time. When he is, watch out for this sniper. It will be better to have him on the Flyers’ side than on an opposing team.
As the lone defenceman on this list, Brock Faber is the most likely of the prospects to be moved, as the Kings have already promoted Tobias Bjornfot and Sean Durzi to full-time NHL roles and they have Clarke coming in a few seasons. It’s not because he isn’t a solid player, but because teams still like to have veteran players in their lineup to help the young guys and provide leadership. You will normally only see a younger group of players on rebuilding teams that aren’t in contention for the playoffs.
Faber is still playing in the NCAA and having himself a good season with 12 points in 27 games. What makes his game attractive is the ability to cut off attackers by using a good active stick, then squeezing them out or making a hit along the boards, cutting off their time and space to make a play. He projects to be a top-four defenceman that can complement a more offensively-minded defenceman (from “Brock Faber shines in first NCAA season + notes on all Kings collegiate prospects”, LA Kings Insider, Apr. 27, 2021).
Jaret Anderson-Dolan has earned a chance to play some games in the NHL in each of the past four seasons, including this one. The only time he stuck around longer than five games was last season when he posted 11 points in 34 games. He is having himself a very good campaign in the AHL with 19 goals and 35 points in 38 games.
He is the first of two players I will discuss who has raised his stock, as Anderson-Dolan has scored eight goals and 12 points in his last 10 games. He has shown the ability to finish at every level now, but his defensive game still needs work. While he has become a better stick-checker along with his physical nature, he still has room to grow. If he keeps up this pace and scoring tear, he’ll find himself in the NHL sooner rather than later.
Tyler Madden is having himself a solid season in the AHL with 14 goals and 30 points in 42 games. He’s not the largest player, but he has great hockey sense and offensive capabilities. He’s no slouch in his own end either, as he protects the danger areas and doesn’t get caught up the ice.
His speed and mobility add to his ability to possess the puck and get himself into position to make plays and use his great shot. Madden’s production has increased, and so has his stock as we approach the deadline. He has eight points in his last seven games. He may still be a couple of seasons from making the jump to the NHL full-time, but he is progressing well and looks to be a threat once he arrives.
Others to keep an eye on if the Flyers were to acquire multiple prospects in a deal are Samuel Helenius, Jordan Spence, Francesco Pinelli, Helge Grans, Martin Chromiak, Jacob Moverare, and Kirill Kirsanov. As a team that has more than enough prospects, the Flyers could be able to acquire some in order to reshape their roster for the future.
Rob Couch is a THW freelance writer covering mainly the Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers. He covers everything you need to know about fantasy hockey. He will also keep you up to date with NHL Stats News, trade talks, and daily betting guides.
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