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INSTANT REACTION: Rob Blake’s Trade Deadline Interview

A highly biased set of instant reactions will follow...

2019 NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

Yesterday, Kings general manager Rob Blake addressed the media about an hour after trade deadline where 32 deals went down involving 55 players. It went like this:

It was nice to hear some straight forward talk from Blake today. In his most candid, least double-talking interview in recent years, he finally let us into his world and what we can expect moving forward.

Only a few days ago it seems, Blake ripped the rebuilding band-aid off and jettisoned “King for Life” Kyle Clifford to the Toronto Maple Leafs (along with backup goalie Jack Campbell) for a couple a draft picks and a local kid with speed from Thousand Oaks. I must say that I wasn’t too kind the following day, and probably won’t be until Blake can prove he can put a competent roster together. From up high at Staples Center, the consensus is that nearly anyone can trade established players for draft picks. What they turn into is the key. However you look at it, the Kings pulled in some decent returns for players they no longer value long-term in “The Plan.”

Here’s the Kings haul in the 2020 trade deadline:

*-Conditional pick

Breaking Down Blake-speak

Regarding What’s Next:

“The ‘Phase II’ is that some of these guys have been in the American League for the year and they’re getting their experience. You saw it with Gabe here recently. I would suspect you’ll see it with a defenseman, eventually, within the next little while here, so they’ve had their time to groom in the American League. Ideally you wish you had a little bit of time with them, again that’s what we’re looking to do here near the end.”

Instant Reaction... It won’t be pretty, but Staples Center AHL is in full effect. For example, Drew Doughty has 912 games of NHL experience while the rest of the Kings’ D Corps has 747 combined games of NHL experience. Poor Quickie and Cal.

Regarding Martin Frk, waivers and a potential playoff run with the Ontario Reign:

“I read a lot on the 10-game situation* and everything. Even if we went past the deadline and he played in a game, even if we paper-trailed him and played him again, he would still need waivers. He’s got two years left. A team could’ve claimed him but wouldn’t have been able to use him in the playoffs, but we weren’t going to risk that. I think once we did those deals last week, we knew that Martin would be up here for the remainder of the season.”

* - Situation meaning the the CBA Article 13.2 (b) where players require waivers once they have accrued 10 games or 30 NHL days of service since previously clearing waivers.

Instant Reaction... 109.2 mph slapshots don’t grow on trees and at $725,000 the Kings weren’t going to risk losing him for a potential run at the Calder Cup.

[Regarding Jeff Carter] Question: “Did you have any calls today regarding roster players, specifically Jeff Carter?”

“Uhhhhhhhhh... Did I have calls on him? Inbound [calls], no. Like I said, there was lots of discussion but most of it surrounding out unrestricted free agents.

Instant Reaction... All of the “Carter will retire if traded” talk surely tanked a potential trade to a contender. Hopefully we won’t have to hear this Carter trade talk ever again. Two years is enough. How many years did we all hear Alec Martinez was being traded?

Question: “Can you envision Lewis or Hutton coming back?”

“I think you can envision any of that. Particularly. I don’t see anything set in stone that we wouldn’t. But again, that will take place over time.

Instant Reaction... No one wanted these guys for two years and probably the Kings won’t want them either.

Regarding Gabe Vilardi:

“I don’t know if I’m prepared to talk about it [the plan for Vilardi the rest of this year] right now. As of now, he’s assigned down. We liked what we saw out of him here. It’s a tough three-in-four nights, matching up. The excitement of his first game, bringing his family in, matching up against Colorado’s speed, matching up last night with McDavid and Draisaitl, it’s a tough match-up for him. Todd protected him a little bit there last night obviously. I think we like what we saw out of Gabe. We’re going to be in a similar situation with some other guys this year, too.” [Q: “Will he stay down?”] “We’ll see how the roster takes place throughout the week.”

Instant Reaction... C’mon Rob. Be better in your confidence building. He had a great first game and was excellent on the dot. The Kings haven’t had a good second option on faceoffs since Jarret Stoll left. How hard would it have been to keep it 100 per cent positive instead of stumbling through an awkward reply?

Regarding the non-AHL young guys:

“Its important for those guys [Amadio, Lizotte] to show what they can do in the next 20 game. A lot of times, when I speak of young, I’m talking about Gabe, Mikey Anderson. But we have another young group in the middle. Those guys have a lot to prove”

Instant Reaction... Rob has no problem moving on from Amadio and Lizotte if need be.

Regarding the traded players who won Stanley Cups:

“These guys that have been here an won championships, whether it is one or multiple, they should be remembered and thanked for everything they have done for this organization. It’s not easy here the last few months here because you’re dealing with some very important in the history of the LA Kings. But we are moving forward.”

Instant Reaction... Tributes found here: Tyler Toffoli and Alec Martinez

The Plan:

Coming out of training camp for the 2018-19 season:
Average Player Age: 28+ years old
Contracts with AAV of $4 million or more: 10
Prospect Rank: 20th or higher
Draft Picks (2019 through 2021): 20

Ending the 2019-20 season:
Average Player Age: under 27 years old
Contracts with AAV of $4 million or more: 5
Prospect Rank: 1st or 2nd
Draft Picks (2019 through 2021): 30

Kings 2020 Draft Picks:

Round One - 1 pick (their own)
Round Two - 3 picks (their own, Vancouver, Vegas)
Round Three - 2 picks (their own, Columbus - via Ottawa and Toronto)
Round Four - 2 picks (their own, Calgary)
Round Five - 2 picks (their own)
Round Six - 2 picks (their own)
Round Seven - 2 picks (their own)