The Los Angeles Kings Would Like to Acquire: Jiri Hudler
If a divisional trade can happen, this might be the one.
If you want to stop reading this article now, I won't blame you. Jiri Hudler, in no uncertain terms, is a major reason why the Los Angeles Kings missed the playoffs last season. In Game 81 of 2014-15, Hudler assisted on Calgary's first goal, scored the game-winner, and drove the stake into LA's heart with an empty-netter. That capped off a career year for the Czech, who scored 31 goals, beat his career high in points by 19, and stole the Lady Byng from Anze Kopitar for good measure. Of course, Hudler and the Flames also had to learn that all good things must end, and this year they've plunged together. That's why Hudler (who's on a 50-point pace this year) is on the block, and that's why a team which is hungry for a top-six winger might be able to grab Hudler. Enter LA.
The Kings' big 2012 and 2014 moves involved grabbing a skilled, underachieving winger and (at least in 2014) praying for rain. For that reason alone, Hudler seems plausible. He's not someone that the Kings would normally envision in their lineup, though, as a 5'10" forward with skill. It could work, though. Pair him with Anze Kopitar and Milan Lucic and he provides an interesting contrast! Put him with Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli and he can be Tanner Pearson, but slightly better! There will be a steeper curve, but the Kings have until April to figure it out.
As for the return... Calgary might try to sell teams on a first-round draft pick based on Hudler's awesome 2014-15. But unless he's returning to 20% shooting levels soon (and he probably isn't), that 2016 second-rounder might be enough. The Kings could probably close the deal with a prospect, but they'll be loathe to give said prospect to a division rival, though. The only way this trade works is if Calgary is comfortable that LA won't re-sign Hudler (they won't) and if LA is comfortable that they guy they're giving to the Flames won't be a significant loss. Doable? I'm not sure.
If other teams don't overpay wildly for Jiri Hudler, he could be an asset in the Kings' top six, but he won't be as appealing as more physical wingers who are also available. Try for the bargain-bin deal.