On March 22, 2023, Bleacher Report’s Adam Gretz published an article detailing what he believes every NHL team should do in the coming offseason, specifically when free agency opens on July 1st. Heading into the Trade Deadline, it was widely known that the Los Angeles Kings needed goaltending help and left-handed defenseman help.
Well, General Manager Rob Blake made the Columbus Blue Jackets a one-stop shop and addressed both of those needs with left-handed defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov and goaltender Joonas Korpisalo. The only downside to both of these deals is that both Gavrikov and Korpisalo are pending unrestricted free agents, which means that both of them could walk for nothing come July 1st.
With the way that the Kings are playing now and the benefits that both of these players have added to the lineup, it would make sense to re-sign both of them, if they desired to come back. But, with that decision still an unknown, it doesn’t hurt to explore other options on the market as well.
In this particular case, Adam Gretz believes the Kings should target Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock.
Alex Stalock is a 35-year old netminder from St. Paul, Minnesota, who has been a career journeyman in the NHL. Since being drafted in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft with the 112th overall pick by the San Jose Sharks, Stalock has played a total of 173 NHL games and 8 career NHL playoff games (3 with the Sharks, 5 with the Wild).
The 6-foot, 200-pound netminder has been one of the few bright spots for the Chicago Blackhawks this season. The Blackhawks are most definitely in full-rebuild mode as they traded one of their own franchise cornerstones, Patrick Kane, to the New York Rangers just before the trade deadline and currently hold a 24-41-6 overall record.
Their record currently places them at eighth in the Central Division and in prime position to have a swing at Connor Bedard in the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery. With only 54 points on the year, the possibility of the playoffs seems otherworldly at this point, which means that Alex Stalock’s offseason will begin sooner than others.
This season with the Blackhawks, he has recorded a .915 save percentage with 573 total saves, the most he’s had since 2019-2020 when he was with the Minnesota Wild. Stalock also has recorded two shutouts this season and holds a 2.84 goals against average, which ranks him 24th in a field of 50 goalies who have touched the ice this season.
For a team that is a bottom-feeder in the league this season, Stalock has played above the team’s performance, which is why Adam Gretz linked him to the Kings. Here is what he said, specifically:
"“The Kings have arrived as legitimate Western Conference contenders and have made big moves in each of the past two offseasons to add to their roster. Their biggest need this year is going to be in goal, but the answer to that need likely needs to be affordable. Alex Stalock has been very good this season in a bad situation with Chicago. What could he do behind an actual good team?”"
Adding Alex Stalock to the fold certainly wouldn’t be a long-term solution, but could help aid the goaltending situation while the Kings look for a long-term fix.