The Los Angeles Kings have jumped past the Vegas Golden Knights and have taken second place in the Pacific Division. That being said, they should be active at the trade deadline that is less than a month away. The Philadelphia Flyers, on the other hand, are going to sell off some of their valuable pieces that include a number of rentals. Not only that, but the team will be looking to shift their roster and prepare for next season, while hopefully bringing in a player or two who can help the team as soon as 2022-23.
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David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period spoke with Dennis Bernstein, Kings’ expert and a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association about market rumblings including the Kings, specifically the wing and a trade market there, as well as the Flyers and one of their young talents in Travis Konecny.
“Dustin Brown‘s future with LA is still to be determined. He has not had a conversation with Rob Blake since September, since the fall,” said Bernstein. Down a goal to the Edmonton Oilers with the net pulled, who’s the extra man out there? Brendan Lemieux and not Brown. He hasn’t produced much at all in a while and is shooting just five percent.
Bernstein went on to say, “when you watch this team, they need another scorer.” The addition of Marc Bergevin as an advisor to the general manager definitely helps the situation for the Kings, as he has a reputation of not being afraid to make a big trade and end up winning them more often than not. They need that top-six scoring forward, and who better to look to long-term than the Flyers who hold Konecny as a possible trade piece in reshaping their roster?
Analyzing the Kings Roster
As a player with term on their contract, we are going to start hearing Konecny’s name pop up more and more as the deadline approaches. Not only do the Kings plan on competing this year and are in a position to do so, but they are also looking to the future as well. Brown, as mentioned above, is in the last year of his deal and nothing has progressed. As a team moving toward their youth, a 24-year-old can fill a void that is expected to come on the wing.
Though Brown has been a productive member of the Kings’ organization for a long time and was a part of two Stanley Cup-winning teams, he’s gotten paid already and the team has to do what’s in their best interest in becoming a legitimate contender year after year once again. Even if they do decide to stick with him until he ends his career, he will be in a lesser role while making significantly less money.
Konecny wouldn’t necessarily be considered a sniper, but he can put pucks in the back of the net. Two seasons ago marked the third consecutive season that he scored 24 goals, doing so in only 66 games in 2019-20. He and the Flyers have had down years the past two, but a change in scenery and some new or consistent linemates could help him get back to the dangerous player he was showing signs of becoming. He’s not the best 200-foot player, but that shouldn’t be a problem if he’s playing with two of the best two-way players in the league in LA.
Konecny would come into the Kings with the fourth-most points right now. As they are running three pretty strong lines, he could easily fit into the top six, most likely the second line, but could also see a huge bump in production playing alongside a playmaker like Anze Kopitar.
The money is there for the Kings to acquire Konecny with no retained salary, and with Brown ($5.875 million) coming off the books after this season, his $5.5 million cap hit would just about even out. There’s more than enough young talent that is available and pushing for spots on the Kings right now, but there is just no room.
The Flyers Have a Deep Talent Pool to Choose From
Pagnotta said, “Konecny, who was almost traded in the offseason, is another player to watch.” This is on top of all the rentals the Flyers could move at the deadline. They will likely need to do more than just trade away those players, they will also have to bring back talent, whether it’s younger players or picks to use to acquire a player and “LA has a ton of young talent that they are willing to explore moving.”
Looking at the Kings’ organization, they have both roster players and prospects who could contribute this season and in the future for them. A good young player who has the ability to produce 60-plus points a season should bring back a nice return for the Flyers.
Looking at roster players first, Arthur Kaliyev and Trevor Moore would be of interest to the Flyers. Kaliyev is younger but less developed, playing on the fourth line this season. Moore is further along but is also almost 27 years old. He doesn’t have the talent to be a future first-line player but is doing just fine in a middle-six role this year. There would have to be more attached to a deal that includes Moore than Kaliyev. Another name to watch is Lias Andersson, but he is with his second team now and still hasn’t been able to find his footing in the NHL.
As for the players in their system, whether it’s forwards or defence, you name it, the Kings have it. Rasmus Kupari, Alex Turcotte, Gabriel Vilardi, Samuel Fagemo, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, and Vladimir Tkachev are all names worth noting and have all played at least two games with the team this season. Tyler Madden, who was brought over from the Vancouver Canucks, and Francesco Pinelli are also prospects to keep an eye on.
On the defensive side of things, the Kings have some high-class prospects who are developing well there too. Tobias Bjornfot and Sean Durzi have been with the Kings all season, but they could be convinced to part ways with one since their prospect pool is so deep. This includes Austin Strand, a big 25-year old who stood out in his four games with the Kings this season, Brandt Clarke, Brock Faber, and Jordan Spence, all right defencemen.
The Flyers would have more than enough players to take their pick from, most of whom would be competing for spots on their roster immediately and have the room to succeed. While the Kings would be getting their goal-scorer who fits the young brand of hockey they’re heading towards in the future.