LA Kings: Three players to consider selling before April 12 deadline

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

With the Arizona Coyotes streaking toward the playoffs, and the LA Kings trending in the wrong direction, the latter is looking like sellers.

When the LA Kings look back on the abbreviated 2021 season, being swept twice by the San Jose Sharks will certainly be a point where one could argue that was the turning point in the season. Until then, the Kings were flirting with the fourth and final playoff spot in the West Division.

Entering Monday’s game with the Coyotes, it basically boils down to a must-win situation, as seven points separate the two with just 20 games to go for the Kings. The St. Louis Blues are 0-5-1 in their last six games, and teams like Arizona and San Jose have taken advantage of that, with the latter just three points out of a playoff spot.

A month ago, I would have said that Jonathan Quick could have been a candidate to a contending team at the April 12 trade deadline. The 35-year-old future Hall-of-Famer owns a .874 SV% and 3.25 GAA over his last four starts. It’s probably best the Kings just hang onto him and leave him exposed for the Seattle expansion draft.

With just a week until the trade deadline, though, these three LA Kings could be in different uniforms soon.

1. Alex Iafallo

Iafallo will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the league year, and while the two sides have a mutual interest in continuing this marriage on a multi-year deal, the 27-year-old could bring a decent haul back to Los Angeles. The Eden, New York native has nine goals and 23 points in 35 games this season. He’s generally produced well, playing alongside Anze Kopitar on the Kings’ top line, but long-term, Iafallo looks like a second or third-line winger. What does his production look like then?

2. Adrian Kempe

Inconsistency has been the buzzword surrounding the 24-year-old over the last few seasons. He’s the definition of a streaky player, but when he’s hot, he’s hot. Still, the LA Kings would like to have more from a former first-round pick. Kempe has 12 goals and eight assists in 36 games this year, and a major point of emphasis has been for him to shoot the puck more. He’s up to a 13.2 shot percentage, the second-highest of his career, but he has just one goal in his last five games. Perhaps a fresh start elsewhere would be best at this point.

3. Andreas Athanasiou

One of the most productive players outside the Kings’ top line, Athanasiou has seven goals and 14 points in 28 games. The 26-year-old has been limited to just 28 games this year due to a positive COVID test. He took some time getting his sea legs back, but don’t forget that he was part of a trade package that netted two second-round picks a year ago. And while an argument can be made that the LA Kings don’t need any more draft picks. Perhaps it’s a matter to use some of these picks as leverage for a dynamic, left-shot defenseman?