The Los Angeles Kings are in third place. That’s not something anyone expected to read this season, but after winning their last six in a row, the Kings look to not only be in contention for a playoff spot but perhaps even the West Division crown. They sit just two points behind the division-leading Vegas Golden Knights and one behind the St. Louis Blues, though all three teams have different amounts of games played. Los Angeles GM Rob Blake is starting to see the payoff from the incredible prospect pool he has accumulated, with players like Gabriel Vilardi, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, and Mikey Anderson all making strong contributions this season.
Rob Blake of the Los Angeles Kings is another one looking for a defenseman…25-and-under, he specifically wants a dynamic, left-shot defenseman. When you look at the Los Angeles Kings they do have an abundance of forwards, particularly at center ice. I’m reminded of the big trade that involved the Columbus Blue Jackets a few years back and the Nashville Predators. Ryan Johansen for Seth Jones. If something like that could be worked out for Rob Blake and the LA Kings, he’d do that in a heartbeat.
Taking out the obvious note that anyone would do Jones for Johansen right now if they were the one getting the defenseman, Dreger seems to be implying that Blake isn’t just looking for a depth defenseman to fill out the roster. Instead, the Kings may be looking for a more impact name and be willing to move another high-potential forward in the process. Remember at the time of the deal, Johansen was coming off a 71-point season with the Blue Jackets and had 26 through the first 38 games in 2015-16.
Interestingly, another young Nashville defenseman has been in the rumor mill lately, as Dante Fabbro was not ruled an untouchable. The 22-year-old is a right-shot though, so perhaps that wouldn’t be on the radar for Blake in Los Angeles. His teammate Mattias Ekholm shoots left but doesn’t fit into the 25-and-under club, meaning he’s probably off the list too.
Dynamic young defensemen aren’t on the block often, so Blake may be waiting a while. What this does signal though is that the time for a tear down may be behind the Kings as they look to compete instead of rebuild.