Part three: the conclusion
The LA Kings will go into this offseason with approximately $25 million in cap space available, with only Iafallo, Athanasiou, and Roy as their remaining free agents expected to fetch at least $3 million AAV with their new contracts.
With the team’s biggest needs being an offensive-minded left defenseman and a first-line left-wing, the team has the cap space to get both – what’s available will determine how they go about acquiring them.
The top left defense unrestricted free agents that project will be available are Alexander Edler, Marc Staal, Alex Goligoski, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and Alec Martinez. While all are fine players and many LA Kings fans would welcome Martinez back with open arms, none of these players fit the bill of “young, dynamic, left defenseman.”
That need will have to be filled via trade.
The top-line left wing is a different story. If the Kings decide against filling this void in-house, several high-profile unrestricted free agents could be available. Names like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Mike Hoffman, Jaden Schwartz, Kyle Palmieri, Gabriel Landeskog, and Alex Ovechkin (although it’s unlikely at least the last two will be available) do not have contracts for next season yet.
At some point through next season, the LA Kings will have to figure out how to #playthekids as well. Most of them will probably start the season in Ontario, but they need to be integrated into the big club if the Kings plan to ride their prospects back to Stanley Cup contention.
The roster at the end of next season will, of course, could look different from the one at the start of the season – just how different remains to be seen.