The Los Angeles Kings will have plenty of options to improve the team over the next two offseasons. General manager Rob Blake has some high-end young talent in the prospect pipeline. Gabe Vilardi should be in the lineup for the opening game of the 2020-21 season, while talented forward Arthur Kaliyev will also challenge for a roster spot.
L.A. has the second overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft and should add an impact forward, such as Quinton Byfield or Tim Stutzle. The Kings have good young players in the system upfront but need to add some pieces to the back end if they want to challenge for a playoff spot over the next few seasons.
“Less than a month ago, when we examined one of the Kings’ pressing needs — the left side of their defense — Krug wasn’t on it, simply because it was a modest shopping list. At 29, he will be able to get longer-term and more money, befitting his resume and skill set. Evolving Hockey projected his contract at $7.28 million per year for 5.3 years.”
Krug had 49 points (nine goals, 40 assists) for the Bruins during the regular season, and it seems like he wants to be adequately paid for his services. He said he has taken shorter-term deals throughout his career and wants to be compensated for the value he brings. Boston GM Don Sweeney doesn’t seem too optimistic that they can get a deal done.
“I would be the last person to begrudge any player trying to make the best decision for [them] and their family,” Sweeney said, “and in a perfect world, it’s with us, but we know that the world is anything but perfect right about now.”
The Kings can afford to bring in Krug at north of $7 million. L.A. has roughly $19 million in cap space (without signing their RFAs), so money won’t be an issue. Krug would immediately be the best left-handed shot d-man on the roster and help anchor one of the power-play units.
If Blake wants to go a bit cheaper, he can kick the tires on Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Joel Edmundson. The 27-year-old had 20 points last season and had a Corsi For of 50.8%. Edmundson made $3.1 million this past year and will be line for a bump in his pay.
Edmundson might be the better option if Blake wants to conserve cap space for the 2021 offseason. With Ilya Kovalchuk’s buyout coming off the books, and Dion Phaneuf’s hit coming down by $3 million, the Kings are projected to have just over $34 million in space next year, per Cap Friendly.
Blake can use the 2020-21 season to gage what he has in the younger players and go shopping for high-priced veterans next offseason.
Who do you think L.A. should target out of Krug and Edmundson in free agency?