The LA Kings should pursue a trade for Patrik Laine. Here are several reasons why a trade for the 22-year-old makes sense.
Early last season, the LA Kings were shutout in back-to-back games. They lost to the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 on October 15 and followed that with another shutout loss to the Buffalo Sabres 3-0. While this stretch seems like another low point during a time of “retooling,” it points to a larger problem the Kings have endured for years.
While getting outscored by a 5-0 aggregate in two straight games at Staples Center is frustrating, outshooting their opponent by a combined total of 78-47 during those two games, well, #ThatSoKings.
Luckily for the Kings, there is help rumored to be available. Patrik Laine.
Two months ago, rumors circled that teams had reached out to the Winnipeg Jets checking on the availability of the 22-year-old right-winger, and one of those teams was the Los Angeles Kings. Rumors surrounding Laine and other movement across the NHL have tempered down with the delay in the season. According to ColoradoHockeyNow.com, those rumors have sparked back up.
Patrik Laine is one of the best pure goal scorers in the NHL. Since entering the league in 2016, he is seventh in goals with 138. The talented goal-scoring ability Laine brings is exactly what the LA Kings have been spent years searching for.
First of all, at only 22 years old, he’s still young and developing. He would be the fourth-youngest player on the current roster in comparing him to a somewhat young Kings team. That’s perfect for the current position of “retooling” the Kings are in.
The Los Angeles Kings have the cap space for him. Currently, they would be going into next season second-most in cap space, with over $13 million in total cap space, according to CapFriendly.com. Laine has one year left on his deal with a cap hit of $6.75 million until he becomes a restricted free agent, giving the Kings plenty of room to fit the Finnish sniper.
It seems that the Kings would never escape the perils of salary cap doom, but that’s not the case anymore. They have plenty of room for a big contract. Kopitar and Doughty are signed long term, almost all of their young talent is still on rookie deals, and with the nightmare contract that was the Ilya Kovalchuk deal coming off the books after next season, there is room to add a big deal now and going forward.
Laine is the efficient scorer the Los Angeles Kings need. As noted, the Kings have no problem getting shots. Since 2015, the Kings are fourth in Corsi; a stat used to define the team’s total shot attempts divided by their opponent’s. The problem is, and what seems like it has been for a while now, is putting those shots in the net. Now being Corsi darlings should spell success for the Kings; it’s their shooting percentage that is holding them back.
Since 2015, they have a team shooting percentage of 7.7 percent, putting them 30th in the league. Patrik Laine’s shooting percentage since he has entered the league is 15.1 percent. That number would be better than any Kings player during that time, besting Anze Kopitar‘s number of 14.0 percent.
So, if the Los Angeles Kings can control play and generate the number of shots that they have been able to generate for close to ten years now, why not bring in a player who can turn that quantity into quality?
Is it the right time?
Most weren’t expecting the Kings to be big players in any big acquisitions until the 2021 offseason. But, looking ahead to the free agency market, pickings could slim, with Taylor Hall figuring to be the only prominent UFA to hit the block.
Of course, any deal for Laine would require a large return, and the Kings have the assets to bring that type of deal to fruition. General Manager Rob Blake has been quiet on any trades or moves that the Kings are looking at, but after the draft, he stated the Kings would “possibly explore something a little bit bigger.”