After 11 straight losses for the Anaheim Ducks, it’s clear that something needed to be done, even if it was just a minor move. Ducks GM Bob Murray pulled the trigger on a trade, sending veteran forward Andrew Cogliano to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Devin (no relation to Nick) Shore. The Stars are an equally underachieving team, thrust into the spotlight by finger-pointing and expletive-laden diatribes from the front office. They needed to make a move, too, and even if the trade ended up being a “deal just to make a deal”, at least both front offices can say that they tried something.
Meanwhile, the trade deadline inches closer, and the Kings need to start deciding who stays and who goes, particularly if they’re looking to go from “rebuild on the fly” to “tear it all down”. In the weeks leading up to the trade deadline (February 25, clear your calendars), we’ll be spending some time looking at possible trades the Kings could make. But for now, a gliplse at the most likely candidates to go: players who will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.
Carl Hagelin: The acquisition of Hagelin ensured that Tanner Pearson got a fresh start somewhere else, and that the rest of his contract was cleared off of the books for the Kings. Hagelin isn’t known for scoring, but his speed and ability on the penalty kill could be attractive to a team looking to shore up their depth for a playoff run. Missing time with injury this season is probably going to lower his trade value, as Rob Blake won’t have much to show off in terms of current performance.
Nate Thompson: Another veteran penalty killer, only this one doesn’t have quite the speed of Hagelin. He does win a lot of faceoffs though—he’s got a 52.7% success rate, third on the team when you consider only regular faceoff men. His $1.65m cap hit is more than reasonable for another team to take on. He appears to be a good fit in the Kings’ locker room, and the team is very low on center depth, but for a month and a half in a lost season, they can get by with some combination of Trevor Lewis and Mike Amadio holding down that 4C role.
Oscar Fantenberg: Fantenberg doesn’t necessarily have great underlying numbers, but he also spends a lot of time on the ice with Dion Phaneuf, so maybe some meh fancy stats are to be expected. With teams always looking for help on defense, especially for players who have a habit of stepping up in big games, Fantenberg could perhaps command a bigger return. His $650,000 cap hit is exceedingly low and if he continues to perform well, he could be due for a big raise.
Did you see? We’re partnering with BreakingT, who have immortalized some Snoop Dogg pxp glory on a t-shirt, for you to wear. [Jewels from the Crown]
Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli: still best friends. [Kings Insider]
The Kings put together a sweet feature on Alex Iafallo and his sister Julianna:
While growing up playing hockey on the family pond, LA Kings forward Alex Iafallo and his sister Julianna were nearly inseparable.— LA Kings (@LAKings) January 13, 2019
Fast forward to 2019, both siblings are playing professional hockey. Watch the first part of their story now! pic.twitter.com/gUR38ctQac
And if you’re ready for Tanner Pearson feelings, here you go:
The Ducks and the Stars both needed to make changes, and they did: Devin Shore for Andrew Cogliano. [Defending Big D]
Ducks GM Bob Murray didn’t exactly earn any goodwill with his statement to fans. [Anaheim Calling]
Meanwhile, the Stars are struggling with a “culture of mediocrity”. (There are some nuggets in here that should feel familiar to Kings fans.) [Mooterati]
And Edmonton is just awash in “should have beens”. [Edmonton Journal]
More details are emerging about guest coaches, musicians, and other special events for the CWHL’s All-Star Game. [The Ice Garden]
A look at goaltending tandems across the league, what works, and what doesn’t work. [ESPN]
What should the Penguins look to do at the trade deadline? [PensBurgh]
Your Regular Justin Williams Check-In
He’s got goals in five straight games. That’s pretty good. [Canes Country]
The Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins have a rivalry for the ages, and as both are hovering on the playoff bubble—Montreal has 53 points and is holding down the second wild card spot in the east, and Boston has the third spot in the Atlantic with 56 points. A win tonight puts the Bruins back within striking distance of an actual top-three division spot. That game airs on NBCSN tonight and starts at 4:30 pm Pacific time.