Three trades that shaped landscape of LA Kings rebuild

LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /
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LA Kings Carl Grundstrom
LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports) /

Trade #1: LA Kings trade Jake Muzzin for Carl Grundstrom, Sean Durzi, and 2019 first-round pick

Early 2021 marked a changing of the guards in terms of the LA Kings. In January, the team traded the ever-steady Jake Muzzin to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 21-year-old winger in Carl Grundstrom, defender Sean Durzi, and a first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. A few months later, the Kings hired Todd McLellan to be the leader of the organization’s rebuild, overseeing the development of Grundstrom, Durzi, and having a say in who the first-rounder would be.

At the time of the trade, Grundstrom had tallied 13 goals and 29 points in 42 games for the Maple Leafs’ AHL outfit. Once acquired, he played in 15 games for the Kings, scoring five goals and six points while also seeing time in Ontario. Last season, Grundstrom wasn’t as productive in his second stint with the Kings, but he’s off to a tremendous start in the 2021 season, scoring three goals and four points in 11 games while giving the team’s fourth line a much-needed boost.

Now 22, Durzi is a former second-rounder in 2018 but has yet to log a minute in the NHL. With the Ontario Reign in the 19-20 season, the Toronto, Ontario native tallied two goals and 14 points in 39 games. He’s an excellent facilitator of the puck from the team’s blue line, and that has proven to be consistent at every stop. After this season, Durzi has one-year left on his three-year entry-level contract before he hits restricted free agency.

The LA Kings will likely want to see what Durzi can potentially offer, especially with the taxi squad being implemented for the 2021 season, it would make a lot of sense to do so this year.

As for that first-rounder in 2019, the LA Kings selected some player named Tobias Bjornfot, who projects to be a steadying force along the blue line one day. The 20-year-old has logged four NHL games, three last season, and has already drawn rave reviews from players like Drew Doughty while being named one of the three best players for Team Sweden in the 2021 World Juniors.