LA Kings: Three players who will be traded during 2020-2021 season

LA KIngs (Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
LA KIngs (Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports) /

With a crowded roster, the LA Kings may be forced to trade away a couple of players during the 2020-2021 regular season.

The LA Kings roster for the upcoming 2020-2021 season is mostly set. And while the league has yet to determine a firm schedule, we know one thing is for certain. The prospect pool is coming. The NHL roster has a couple of opportunities to swap players out, but as the season progresses, the Kings are likely to see a prospect (or two) take over a full-time role.

Of course, the added wrench of the late OHL season and lack of body checking could promote expanded rosters for the NHL. If that’s the case, there’s a very good chance that both Quinton Byfield and Arthur Kaliyev are added to the team, potentially more depending on roster limits. The other caveat to this is will the league allow the entry-level contracts to slide another year even if Byfield and Kaliyev play in more than nine games?

Regardless, those two could be seeing regular playing time. Add Lias Andersson to the mix, as the Kings are expected to invite him to the team’s training camp. Whether he will return to Sweden before the regular season remains unknown, but the team may have to carve out a spot for him. Let’s look at three players who could be traded at some point during the regular season.

1. Adrian Kempe

Flashes of brilliance followed by inconsistency have been the definition of Adrian Kempe‘s time with the LA Kings. The organization was hoping for more after taking the Swedish forward with the 29th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. As a 21-year-old, Kempe had a breakout year during the 2017-2018 campaign, scoring 16 goals with 21 assists in 81 games.

Since then, it’s been a rollercoaster ride, but he looked poised to match that point total had the 2019-2020 season not been prematurely shutdown. Kempe is likely slotted in on the second or third line this season. But he’s going to be pushed by Carl Grundstrom, Kaliyev, Andersson, and any other centerman prospects converting to the wing.

Kempe still has two years left on his deal at a team-friendly $2M cap hit. Perhaps the LA Kings could swing another trade deadline deal to acquire additional draft capital and prospects.

2. Trevor Moore

What to expect from Trevor Moore from this season. That will be the major question surrounding the production along the left side on the fourth line. The 25-year-old has been phenomenal in the AHL but has yet to carry over that production to the NHL level. If the Kings send Moore down to the AHL, he’ll have to clear waivers first.

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Similar to Grundstrom, I suspect that Moore will get a long look this year. But again, he’s going to be pushed by several players along the left side. I’m not entirely sure what trade value Moore has at this time, but perhaps a fourth or fifth-round pick in next years or the 2022 draft is appropriate.

3. Matt Luff

Matt Luff had the most challenging road to the LA Kings roster. He was signed as an undrafted free agent, and it would appear that the 23-year-old will get an opportunity to showcase himself. The Kings re-signed him to a one-year deal back in early October.

During the 2018-2019 season, Luff played in 33 games at the NHL level scoring eight goals with three assists. But in 18 games the following year, he had a disappointing five points in 18 games. It’s now or never for Luff to earn a spot with the Kings’ roster.

He’s had little trouble being productive in the AHL, but like Moore, the production hasn’t consistently carried over. Luff will likely slide into the right side on the fourth line to begin the 2020-2021 season. But he’ll have Samuel Fagemo and other centerman moving to the wing, pushing him off the roster. If the Kings can get a fourth or fifth-round pick for Luff, the simple way to look at it is they turned an undrafted player into a fourth (or fifth) round pick.