LA Kings: Four defensemen worth trading 2021 first round pick for

LA Kings Rumors (Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
LA Kings Rumors (Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /
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LA Kings Trades Zach Werenski
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Zach Werenski

Columbus will be an interesting team to watch over the summer. It wasn’t too long ago that they swept the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Following their second-round loss to the eventual Cup champion St. Louis Blues, Columbus saw both Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky walk in free agency.

Despite swapping the disgruntled Pierre-Luc Dubois for Patrik Laine, the latter didn’t provide much hope for the franchise under recently fired head coach John Tortorella. Finishing with an 18-26-12 record, the Jackets are closer to another rebuild than they are a playoff run.

One guy the LA Kings should inquire about is Zach Werenski.

He’s 23 years old and fits the age bracket identified by Rob Blake. He has one year left on his deal before becoming a restricted free agent. Werenski comes at a $5M cap hit, but there is obviously some long-term team control if the Kings were to make this trade.

"Columbus’ Zach Werenski, 23, might be a possibility as the Blue Jackets brace themselves for what seems like an annual purge of prominent players. They already traded center Pierre-Luc Dubois and saw Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky, Matt Duchene and others bolt in the summer of 2019. – DailyNews/Knoll"

Werenski and Seth Jones have made quite the duo for Columbus, and the former put up pedestrian numbers on a struggling Columbus team — seven goals and 20 points, but he was limited to 35 games. Werenski was shut down at the beginning of April and is scheduled for sports hernia surgery.

It could end up playing favorably for the Kings, given Wereski’s injury situation, but he’s a proven 40-point player in his previous four NHL seasons.