Rasmus Dahlin is the young, dynamic defenseman the LA Kings need

LA Kings (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
LA Kings (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

LA Kings GM Rob Blake has made it clear he wants a young, dynamic, left defenseman. Rasmus Dahlin is the guy they are looking for.

It’s getting ugly in Buffalo.

The Sabres have absolutely cratered. At nearly the halfway point of this season, their 16 points have them dead last in the entire league.  Major changes will be needed, and you have to believe a fire sale is coming. The LA Kings are in a perfect position to take advantage of the Sabres woes and address a major need in their organization.

Jack Eichel has become a fixture in the rumor mill, but with a $10 million cap hit and the picks and prospects it would cost to land him, very few teams can accommodate Buffalo’s demands and his cap hit – although the LA Kings are one of those teams.

Of course, any team would want a young megastar like Eichel on their team, including the Kings. As nice as it would be to have Eichel, LA simply does not need him with their organizational depth at center.

The Buffalo Sabre that the LA Kings need is Rasmus Dahlin.

Drafted number one overall by the Sabres in 2018, Dahlin was hailed as a generational talent. He stepped right into the Buffalo lineup as an eighteen-year-old and scored 44 points in his rookie season. The following season in only 59 games played, he posted four goals and thirty-six assists for forty points and showed signs that would live up to the hype he entered the league with.

Like his entire team, Dahlin has struggled this season. He has only one goal, ten assists, and has a -24. This also the last season of his entry-level contract, so he hits restricted free agency this offseason. His contract demands will be unclear, although since he is a restricted free agent, the Sabres do have negotiating leverage.

The Buffalo Sabres need help throughout their lineup, and even though Dahlin won’t come cheap, the LA Kings have the assets to make it happen. On a recent episode of the Hockey Royalty Podcast, Dennis Bernstein from The Fourth Period and Kings of the Podcast stated he thinks it would take a package that includes Turcotte, Rasmus Kupari, and a first-round pick or multiple second-round picks. If this is what the Sabres will take for Dahlin, then LA Kings General Manager Rob Blake should make this deal in a heartbeat.

The LA Kings have built up what is arguably the best prospect pool in the NHL, and while this is very exciting for the franchise, they will soon have a massive logjam of prospects that will need NHL roster spots. With a need for center depth, the Sabres could do very well for themselves by landing Turcotte and Kupari.

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Turcotte is a given to go in any Dahlin trade scenario, but let’s say they pass on Kupari. Any other Kings prospects not named Quinton Byfield would have to be considered in play to shuffle off to Buffalo with Turcotte.

Draft picks will have to be included in this package as well. After years of seeing first-round picks get traded away, some Kings fans might not want to see another one be sent away. While understandable, what would the team be targeting with its first-round pick this year?

You guessed it – a defenseman.

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If the LA Kings do not make the playoffs this season, their first-round pick will become a lottery pick, which would make that pick even more enticing. Sure, the Kings could possibly get their blue-chip defensive prospect with this pick and simply not trade for Dahlin.

The problem with this is it’s time for the LA Kings to emerge from their rebuild, and they need a proven commodity like Rasmus Dahlin more than they need another prospect to develop for the future.

Keep in mind the Buffalo Sabres only have five picks in this year’s draft, and the LA Kings have nine (seven in the first four rounds) – although these numbers could change after this season’s trade deadline.

If Buffalo GM Kevyn Adams is seeking to stockpile draft picks, the Kings can certainly afford to throw in additional draft picks with their first-round pick – perhaps a scenario where the Sabres would take a lower-tier prospect to go with Alex Turcotte in lieu of more draft picks.

With all of this, please understand there is no word out of Buffalo that Dahlin, Eichel, or anyone else is on the trading block – yet. At this point, it is all speculation, but if the possibility that Rasmus Dahlin can be acquired comes up, the LA Kings need to pursue that deal full throttle.

Yes, it seems like a longshot the Sabres would trade their young, highly coveted defenseman, but if Wayne Gretzky can be traded, anyone can.