Steadily, the re-build in Los Angeles has taken shape. The team has draft picks abound over the next few years, and a league-leading prospect pool that will allow the team plenty of cheap talent and tradable assets.
Even with the near league-minimum contract Evolving-Hockey’s contract projection model sees Trevor Lewis signing in the off-season ($971,600 with a different team, $1,033,000 if re-signing to be precise), it’s hard to see where the veteran forward would fit into a plan like that. Lewis confirmed to The Fourth Period that he would not be re-signing with the Kings for next season:
Trevor Lewis will not be re-signing with the Kings and is heading to free agency.— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) September 26, 2020
"It's definitely different, a little tough to think about. I grew up here, been here my whole career. It'll be different, but I'm excited. Change is always good. I'm excited to see what happens."
Lewis was drafted 17th overall by the Kings in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and signed with the team right away. After just one OHL season, he jumped into the AHL at the end of the following year. It wasn’t long before the star forward made the jump to the big leagues, debuting with the Kings in December 2008.
In 12 years with the Kings, Lewis played in 674 games scoring 70 goals and 93 assists for 163 points — and winning two Stanley Cups. Unfortunately, injuries began to plague him starting in the 2017-18 season, right as he began to hit his peak as a two-way player.
Last year, in the final year of his 4-year, $2 million average annual value contract, Lewis put up just 6 goals and 6 assists over 56 games. Age and injury catching up to him have made Lewis an extra average player, but to his credit: aside from five horrible minutes on the man-advantage last season, not much a liability, either:
Just as the Kings want to put that money into their young talent, so will teams across the league, especially while the cap gets tighter and expectations continue to rise for this year’s draft class. Without the nostalgia factor, is there a place for Lewis in the league? Might he retire as a King?
Lewis remains hopeful, telling The Fourth Period: “I think veteran leadership is very important. Dallas added Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry, the addition of Pat Maroon in Tampa. Going back to when I started, I got to learn to from Matt Greene, Jarret Stoll and Justin Williams, the list goes on and on and I’d love to pass that leadership on.”
If anything, his averageness and small cap hit work in his favor and there may be a few teams who feel they gotten just a hair too young willing to give him a try for a year. Not to mention that he’ll never have this much rest before a season again. Maybe another team gets a bargain in October with a happy and healthy Trevor Lewis.
Whatever his future, he will always be remembered for being among the best of the Kings during the best of times. It’s a shame that injuries have slowed him down, but ultimately he got to live out his dream in Los Angeles. Not everyone gets to say that 12 years into their career.