Earlier this week, Kings GM Rob Blake held a conference call with reporters, including Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider and provided a few tidbits of note. For starters, he strongly suggested that they will be targeting some help for the left side of their defense corps when transactions can resume:
I think that would be one area of need that we would look at, whether it’s the free agent market or the acquisition market, and most likely on the left side.
That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. As things stand, their left-side defensive depth under contract for next season effectively begins and ends with Kurtis MacDermid. Ben Hutton and Joakim Ryan are slated to become unrestricted free agents this offseason while veteran Derek Forbort was dealt at the trade deadline. While it’s possible that Hutton or Ryan could return, it’s still an area that will need to be addressed.
More news and notes from Blake’s discussion:
- The team has started contract talks with prospect Arthur Kaliyev. The winger was dominant with OHL Hamilton for the second straight season, picking up 44 goals and 54 assists in just 57 games to sit fifth in league scoring before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the season. As he’s 18 and was drafted out of junior, he’s ineligible to play in the AHL next year which limits his options to playing with Los Angeles or rejoining the Bulldogs.
- Blake mentioned that if regular season play resumes, center Jeff Carter would not be ready to return. Previously diagnosed with a lower-body issue, the GM clarified that it’s more of a core injury that will likely hold him out for a couple more months at least. His output dipped to just 27 points in 60 games this season; the 35-year-old has two more years left on his deal with a cap hit of just over $5.27MM.