The Los Angeles Kings have the worst record in the NHL right now at 3-7-1. Trade interest in top players comes with that territory. The newest name that has GM Rob Blake’s phones ringing is veteran defenseman Alec Martinez. TSN’s Darren Dreger recently talked on TSN Radio 1290 about the growing market for the talented two-way defender, hinting that there is “a ton of interest”.
However, Dreger did state that his feeling in speaking with Blake was that the GM was not yet ready to pull the trigger on a major trade. Martinez is one of several players – Jake Muzzin, Tyler Toffoli, Tanner Pearson, and Trevor Lewis being others – that the struggling Kings could deal away before the season ends. Yet, Blake is being patient with his team right now and, in Dreger’s opinion, is not ready to become a seller this early in the season. Dreger also notes that L.A. is dealing from a position of weakness right now due to their slow start and are likely receiving offers for Martinez not yet equivalent to his true value.
Yet, Martinez remains one of the most likely names to move out should Blake reach his boiling point and finally respond to trade interest. At 31 years old, Martinez is on the downside of his career and his decline in production last season is even further evidence. He also carries another two years of term on his current contract beyond this season at a $4MM cap hit. The cap-strapped Kings could certainly benefit from dumping his salary, but are likely to land some intriguing assets in return as well. As Dreger notes, the time doesn’t seem right just now, but as long as the Kings continue to struggle, a move is unavoidable and Martinez very well could be the first major departure.