Want to get into the top-10 at this year’s draft? Call the Los Angeles Kings. Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia reports that the Kings are “open for business” in regards to the eighth overall selection in the upcoming draft.
The Kings, who haven’t made it past the first round of the playoffs since winning the Stanley Cup in 2014, have amassed a huge number of picks over the last few years, making their prospect list longer than most. In 2020, they had five picks in the first three rounds including second-overall Quinton Byfield. In 2019, they had another five picks in the top three rounds, including fifth-overall Alex Turcotte. Now, with the team trying to move closer to contention, it seems they are ready to sacrifice some futures for current help.
To get an idea of what that eighth overall selection may represent, Luke Hughes occupied the spot in yesterday’s final draft ranking from Bob McKenzie of TSN. That ranking is based on polling of current NHL scouts, meaning there is a real chance someone as talented as Hughes is still available at that spot. Even if it’s not him, there is enough talent at the top of this draft to make the eighth pick pretty appealing.
Draft picks in the top five are rarely moved in the NHL, but trades involving picks 5-10 are a little more common. In 2011, Columbus sent Philadelphia the eighth overall pick in the Jakub Voracek–Jeff Carter deal. It ended up being Sean Couturier. At the 2012 draft, the Penguins received the eighth overall pick in a package for Jordan Staal and ended up selecting Derrick Pouliot. In 2013, it was the ninth pick heading from New Jersey to Vancouver for Cory Schneider, eventually leading to the Canucks selecting their captain, Bo Horvat. In 2017, the Rangers ended up with Anthony DeAngelo and the seventh overall pick for Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta, using it to pick Lias Andersson.
The results have been mixed, and almost always come down to the player that the team ends up picking. Even in the Pouliot and Andersson years, there were several NHL stars still on the board. Though late-round firsts have a much lower probability of success, the eighth overall pick carries plenty of value even in this uncertain draft year. If the Kings are really entertaining offers, they should be able to command a hefty price.