LA Kings: Three players to target after Lightning re-signed Sergachev

Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Kings Rumors Mikhail Sergachev
Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

Retaining Mikhail Sergachev puts the Tampa Bay Lightning over the salary cap. The LA Kings should target these three players to improve the roster.

The NHL’s free agency frenzy came and went with the LA Kings acquiring only Olli Maatta to shore up the defense’s left side. I was clamoring for the organization to offer sheet Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev.

Before the club re-signed him on Wednesday, Tampa had just under $3M in available cap space. Offer sheets are rarely used these days, but Sergachev, at 22 years of age, is an incredible talent that would have been an enormous upgrade on the left side of the blue line.

The Kings may be able to revisit Sergachev when he hits the open market in three years, still at age 25, but for now, they might be able to upgrade their roster in other areas due to Tampa’s ongoing salary cap issues. Sergachev’s contract extension put the Lightning approximately $2M over the league’s $81.5M salary cap.

The club still has restricted free agents in Anthony Cirelli and former LA King Erik Cernak. It’s difficult to imagine one or both players returning next year unless Tampa makes a significant corresponding move.

Of course, the LA Kings enter the 2021 season under the assumption that the campaign will be an evaluation year. There appears to be a couple of roster battles that will need to be sorted out in training camp, whenever the league officially sets the start date for the upcoming season.

Having said that, there are a few proven players on the Lightning’s roster that could have an immediate impact on Los Angeles.