One of the most important things when it comes to a rebuilding team, such as the Los Angeles Kings, is being able to let go of older players who won’t be of much value when the team is competitive again. The Kings’ management certainly did that this season, all at the deadline, and they began to take care of one of the biggest issues with the team’s rebuild.
When the Kings were on their way out of their Stanley Cup run years, management didn’t quite commit to the restructuring of the team that needed to take place. They made early playoff exits in alternating years, both in 2016 and 2018. In this trade season, the organization really committed to the rebuild, piling up on draft picks, which is exactly what they needed to do.
Kings Move Kyle Clifford and Jack Campbell to Toronto
On Feb. 2, 2020, the Kings traded goaltender Jack Campbell and winger Kyle Clifford to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for center Trevor Moore, a 2020 third-round pick, and a 2021 conditional third-round pick. Kyle Clifford is 29 years old and he maxed out at 21 points in his career, typically between 10 to 20 points per season. This was a good deal for the Maple Leafs, as they needed Clifford’s physicality. Calvin Petersen has shown he is a good goalie to stand behind Jonathan Quick, so losing Campbell isn’t that big of a deal for the Kings. With the departure of Campbell, the team can move back down to two main goalies.
In return, the Kings get two draft picks, as well as an extra center. Moore is already 25 and has only played 67 games in the NHL, totaling just 18 points, so he isn’t a huge pickup. Overall, LA was able to get rid of two older players, regain focus in net, and picking up a few prospects with the draft picks they received.
Tyler Toffoli Goes to Vancouver
On Feb. 17, LA traded Tyler Toffoli to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Tim Schaller, Tyler Madden, a 2020 second-round pick, and a 2022 conditional fourth-round pick. This trade was very beneficial for both teams. Vancouver was able to add a player who already has solid production to a team that’s looking to make a run in the next couple of years.
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In exchange for Toffoli, the Kings get a high-end prospect in Tyler Madden, likely to make it into the lineup within the next few years, as well as a couple of draft picks. Tim Schaller won’t be beneficial to the Kings as he is 29 years old and has never been able to put up solid points.
This doesn’t matter, though, because Schaller is a free agent this season. Although Toffoli may look like a big loss at this point, putting up 34 points in 58 games with the Kings this season as a winger, by the time he would be put to use in Los Angeles while going for a Stanley Cup, he would be far out of his prime.
Kings Capture a Pair of Second Round Picks for Alec Martinez
On Feb. 19, the Kings traded Alec Martinez to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for second-round picks in 2020 and 2021. Although it may be difficult to let go of the guy that scored the double-overtime winner to take home the Stanley Cup in 2014, it makes a lot of sense for the team.
Martinez only has one more year left on his contract, but it is for $4 million. For a guy who is far out of his prime, this is a lot of cap space. Martinez is 33 years old, and only put up a handful of points for Los Angeles this season. To get two second-round picks in the next couple of years in exchange for Martinez is a great deal, especially for a team like the Kings.
Derek Forbort Ends the Kings’ 2019-20 Trade Season
On Feb. 24, the Kings traded Derek Forbort to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a conditional 2021 fourth-round pick. This draft pick can become a third-rounder if Forbort signs with the Flames, as he is a UFA this season. Forbort is 28 years old, putting up just one point for the Kings in 13 games this season.
LA was able to get a pick out of Forbort, allowing him to go to a team that could win him a championship. For the 15th overall pick in 2010, Forbort hasn’t done much in his career, so it was likely time for him to move on from the Kings. Management in LA did a good job racking up another pick with this deal.
Very Solid Trade Season for the Kings
For a rebuilding team such as the Kings, this trade season was one that they needed. Management fully committed to the rebuild, dropping players who neither will be beneficial throughout the rest of the restructuring nor once they’re done with the re-tool. The numerous draft picks that LA received will certainly help out prospect depth, with 11 selections in 2020.
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By trading away the players that they did, LA certainly left holes in the lineup, mainly on the wing and defense. Although for most teams this would be a bad thing, it is okay for the Kings to do this. Over the next couple of years, prospects will come into their own, and those prospects will be replaced with new up-and-comers. As long as the team drafts properly and develops the prospects they already have, Los Angeles will be out of the rebuilding phase soon enough.