LA Kings have reportedly expressed interest in Patrik Laine

LA Kings Rumors (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
LA Kings Rumors (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /

According to reports, the LA Kings are among the teams that have expressed interest in Patrick Laine. Does it make sense?

The 2020-2021 season will be all about evaluating the talent that the LA Kings have in their prospect pool. But of course, that doesn’t mean that Rob Blake will sit idle leading up to the draft. Per reports from David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period, the Kings are among the teams that have expressed interest in winger Patrik Laine.

“Several teams have spoken with Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff,” Pagnotta said. “And talks are expected to pick up more steam over the next week. The Carolina Hurricanes, Montreal Canadiens, Los Angeles Kings, Columbus Blue Jackets, Philadelphia Flyers, and Anaheim Ducks are among the teams with varying degrees of interest in Laine.”

Varying degrees leave it somewhat vague. Whether that’s having serious conversations to acquire the Winnipeg Jets’ forward or just checking in is something that remains to be determined. Laine, 22, was drafted second overall in 2016, but the Jets seem hellbent on moving him this offseason.

He scored 28 goals with 35 assists for 63 points in 68 games last year. The Kings have a plethora of centerman in their prospect pool, but are light on wingers, relatively speaking. Laine will be a free agent after the end of next season and comes at a $6.8M cap hit.

He’s two years removed from a 44-goal, 26-assist season at age 19, and Laine would help the Kings with their scoring woes. LA is expected to see a lot of new faces on their roster this season, but the addition of Laine before the NHL Draft would be indicative that the Kings plan to go with Quinton Byfield with the second overall pick.

Prematurely looking at the top-six lines, Dustin Brown could move to left winger where he has played before, allowing Laine to play at his natural right-winger position on the top line.

Doing so would shift Alex Iafallo down to the second line with Gabriel Vilardi and Martin Frk. Then, the third line would consist of Kempe-Lizotte-Carter, giving the Kings – at least on paper – a formidable top three lines.

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It’s unclear what the Kings would have to give up to acquire Laine, but the only way I would feel comfortable in pulling the trigger is if Laine was willing to sign a long-term extension.