Kings Finally Acquire Good Player, Trade Zykov for Kris Versteeg

The Kings have acquired Kris Versteeg from the Carolina Hurricanes. The Kings gave up Valentin Zykov and a conditional fifth-round pick for the right winger.

As far as rentals go, this one isn't too bad. The Kings were hurting for wing depth with Marian Gaborik injured (and not necessarily coming back for the first round of the playoffs), so Versteeg will help right away. Even when the Kings are at full strength, Versteeg should still be a superior option to the likes of Trevor Lewis or Dwight King on the third line.

Versteeg is best known for his amazing transaction history (Blackhawks--Maple Leafs--Flyers--Panthers--Blackhawks again--Hurricanes--Kings is an eventful past for a 29-year-old), but he's been a productive player at a majority of those stops. This past year in Carolina Versteeg has been an effective play driver (56.6% Corsi, +5.16% relative), while scoring at a reasonable second-line clip (1.65 points/60). It must be said that Versteeg was pretty bad during each of his last two playoff runs with the Blackhawks (especially in 2014, when he posted a 41% Corsi and scored 2 points over 15 games), but I prefer to look at the larger regular season samples, and there he's been fine.

All in all, I'd say I slightly prefer Versteeg to Teddy Purcell, who just fetched a third-round pick. Unlike the rest of LA's in-season acquisitions, Versteeg should help.

Kings fans may be disappointed to give up Valentin Zykov--who just a couple years ago was being acclaimed as the "real deal" and LA's top prospect--but the truth is that the Russian winger's star was falling fast. Zykov posted good but not great point totals in his draft year, the kind of scoring numbers that indicated he might be a good top-six forward if everything broke right, but more likely would not be. Unfortunately, over the next two years, Zykov stagnated in the QMJHL, going from 1.12 points/game to 1.19 points/game to 1.09 points/game. Zykov's first brush with the AHL has thus far gone poorly, with only 14 points in 43 games.

To make the NHL almost any prospect needs to show significant improvement in the next two or three years after he is drafted, and Zykov was not doing so. Notice how he was stuck at #8 in Jewels From The Crown's Top 25 Under 25 Rankings, even as LA's farm system weakened considerably around him.

It's not impossible that Zykov will turn it around late--he has good tools, and LA management did always rave about his personality and work ethic. But odds are it wasn't going to happen.