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Off-Day Watch 2/24: The countdown is on

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NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Minnesota Wild Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Common wisdom said that Rob Blake wouldn’t be too busy as Monday’s trade deadline approaches.

And then the Kings lost seven in a row, with an embarrassing showing against the Florida Panthers echoing the same kinds of disinterested losses the Kings were party to before John Stevens was fired and Tanner Pearson was traded. In a game where players could have been showcased for a ticket to the playoffs and out of a room that’s perhaps become a not-too-good place to be, the only people who really showed up were Dustin Brown and, I guess, Jack Campbell, who was perfect in relief. (Never mind that he only faced two shots.) Maybe Oscar Fantenberg, too, who had four shots and was on the ice for the Kings’ only goal, and no goals against.

Some Hockey Twitter folks speculated that Blake could be more active going into the deadline. But is that the right choice? Returns for essentially any Kings player would be at an all-time low, given their continual nosedive. Even given the volatility of the trade deadline market — teams are apt to overpay for players now more than any other time — the likelihood that Blake gets a worthy return back for a major player is low. Some were underwhelmed by the return for Jake Muzzin, but the Kings at least got back two players who will fill roles in the organization now or in the very near future. (Carl Grundstrom, by the way, has nine points in 10 games for the frequently offense-starved Ontario Reign.)

The Kings are doing well at stockpiling picks for future drafts, and have so far avoided having to take on any unwanted contracts, but would a package of picks and prospects be a good enough return for moving someone like Jeff Carter or Alec Martinez? What about Jonathan Quick? Blake’s job clearly doesn’t (and shouldn’t) involve taking the fanbase’s opinions to heart when making a trade, but it’s going to be one thing for people to find the return for Nate Thompson underwhelming. It’s going to be another thing entirely if Blake swings and misses on a return for a future Hall of Famer.

The clock is ticking. What do you think Blake does?

Poll

What will Rob Blake’s trade deadline moves be?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Nothing
    (20 votes)
  • 27%
    Minor moves but no big names/long-time Kings
    (48 votes)
  • 16%
    Preparing a Trevor Lewis Eulogy
    (29 votes)
  • 43%
    Big move no one sees coming
    (76 votes)
173 votes total Vote Now

Kings Things

Embarrassing is the only way to sum up yesterday’s game. [Jewels from the Crown]

Post-game notes and reactions from Willie Desjardins, Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, and Trevor Lewis. [Kings Insider]

No one on the roster did much to make themselves attractive to potential trade partners. [The Athletic]

With the trade deadline weighing heavily on the team, the Kings put forth one of their worst efforts all season. [Los Angeles Times]

Kings assistant coach Dave Lowry played on the Florida Panthers during their 1996 Stanley Cup run. Here’s a great deep dive with Lowry into what that time was like. [Kings Insider]

Elsewhere

Five up-and-coming black players ready to make an impact in hockey. [NHL]

Hilary Knight talks about her favorite training gadgets, how she prepares for games, and what it’s like being on SNL. [Sports Techie]

The New York Rangers say goodbye to Mats Zuccarello. [Blueshirt Banter]

With the US/Canada women’s rivalry series over, what lessons can be learned for the next time these games happen? [The Ice Garden]

Kim Davis, the NHL’s Executive Vice President for Social Impact, Growth Initiatives & Legislative Affairs, talks about the league’s efforts to make sure that “hockey is for everyone” becomes a true statement. [USA Today]

How do traded players get set up with their new teams so quickly — sometimes with just seconds to spare before taking the ice in a new jersey? [The Athletic]

A heartfelt letter to the seniors of Merrimack College’s women’s team, as they suit up for their final games, four years after they were the pioneers on the brand new team. [The Eagle-Tribune]

Andrew Zadarnowski of Eyes on the Prize sat down with Mike McKegney, the first black player drafted by the Montreal Canadiens, to talk about his hockey career. [Eyes on the Prize]

Warroad girls’ coach David Marvin leads his undefeated team to the state tournament finals, but still struggles with the recent death of his son. (Note this article contains discussion of suicide, including the method used.) [Minnesota Girls Hockey Hub]

The Connecticut Whale have made big moves in advance of the NWHL finals, including bringing back veterans Jessica Koizumi and Shenae Lundberg. [The Ice Garden]

Evening Entertainment

If you’re looking for a blowout rout, look no further than the Calgary Flames/Ottawa Senators matchup. Who’s even left on the Senators at this point, other than a besieged Craig Anderson? No idea, but it’s likely that they won’t fare very well against the red-hot Flames. That one’s on at 4:00 pm Pacific time and can be watched via the NHL’s streaming service.