Kings have to figure out how to become more attractive - latimes.com
It's a chicken-and-egg dilemma for the Kings. They can't attract elite free agents until they become a Cup contender, but they can't become a contender until they lure players they haven't developed.
Really? What was the elite free agent the Penguins signed that led them to the cup two years ago? Actually, that was letting go of Hossa, who thought Detroit was more "attractive." How did bringing in Hossa work for Detroit? Eh. Fine. They were great without him and great with him, but not great enough. Was he the difference for Chicago? Enough to cancel out the destructive power of the deals for "attractive" UFAs Brian Campbell and Cristobal Huet? What was Anaheim's big UFA signing that led them to the cup? Pronger? That was a trade.
The way to be attractive when trying to attract people who are attracted to money is to offer more money than everyone else. If you're bidding against insane people (Wang), that's not possible.
They will try to fill holes with prospects such as centers Brayden Schenn and Andrei Loktionov and defensemen Thomas Hickey, Viacheslav Voynov and Jake Muzzin. That's a lot to ask.
I would say Schenn, Clifford, Muzzin and Bernier, maybe Loktionov the next year, maybe Hickey and Voynov then, too. It's good to have a couple rookies crack the line-up every year. Four is a lot, but I think those four are pretty special.
I think Plan B will be to shop Williams and maybe Stoll and certainly Ersberg in search of either a top-six forward or a second pair defenseman.
Because the Kings can't pick up and move to the East, they have no choice but to hope they have drafted and developed players well enough to become a choice destination before their talented kids become frustrated by early playoff exits and flee, and the rebuilding process has to start all over again.
Didn't take long to start taking playoff appearances for granted, did it?