LA Kings: Three depth signings to help with scoring woes

(Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

As the free agency period opens on Friday, the LA Kings may be in the market for a depth signing to help with the scoring woes. Here are three to consider.

Despite the LA Kings boasting the best prospect pool in the league, despite what Craig Button says, the team finished second to last in the league in scoring. The Kings’ top two lines aren’t scaring anyone, and next year will be about evaluating what talent lies in the prospect pool.

That said, Rob Blake indicated in his post-draft media press conference that the team is going to address some depth in free agency, with the potential for something bigger to happen. However, it should be noted that after the Olli Maatta trade, LA has approximately $13.6M in cap space.

Does that mean signing Taylor Hall? Absolutely not. But there are some options out there in unrestricted free agency that could help the team score more goals next season. Let’s look at three players to target on a one or two-year bridge deal.

1. Tyler Ennis, LW/RW

Ennis made just $800,000 last year, and he could reasonably be signed to a two-year deal at a $2M AAV. The Sabres’ former 26th overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft tallied 16 goals with 21 assists between Ottawa and Edmonton last year.

The 31-year-old can provide a boost to the Kings power play as well, having tallied 5 goals with 5 assists on the man advantage last year. In a larger sample size with Ottawa, Ennis registered a 50.0 Corsi-for percentage and a 51.6 expected-goals-for percentage.

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2. Nick Cousins, C/LW

Up against the salary cap, Las Vegas opted not to hand out a qualifying off to forward Nick Cousins. He is coming off a $1M AAV contract and should be relatively inexpensive to sign. Cousins is 27 and might be looking for a longer deal, but between Montreal and Vegas last year, he scored 10 goals with 15 assists for 25 points in 65 games.

Like Ennis, he can be used on the power play, scoring 3 goals with 2 assists last year. And between the two clubs, he accounted for a 54.6 Corsi-for percentage.

3. Bobby Ryan, LW

Hey, why not, right? I’ll be upfront, and it’s the least likely of these three happening, but let’s press on. The Senators bought out Ryan’s contract, and he’ll make a nice payday for the next four years playing for someone else. The 33-year-old could be a relatively inexpensive sign on a one-year deal as he looks to re-establish himself as a premier scoring winger in the league. He was the recipient of the Bill Masterton trophy after seeking treatment for alcohol abuse mid-season.

Ryan returned at the end of February and scored a hat trick in his second game back. While he might be looking for a longer deal, the COVID-shortened season could end playing to the advantage of the Kings here. He’s averaged approximately 20 goals per season and could push either Carl Grundstrom or Trevor Moore to the AHL for the season.


The trade for Lias Andersson muddies the waters here in terms of where he fits it in and what Rob Blake might do in free agency, but with one year remaining on his deal, the Kings are likely to give him a long look this season. That said, don’t be surprised if LA makes a move as the free agency period opens up today.