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NHL Notebook: Could LA Kings general manager Rob Blake be on the hot seat and why the NHL’s trade market is so quiet

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 month ago
It’s been an up-and-down season for the LA Kings, starting with a stunning 16-4-3 record in their first 23 games.
It left them second in the Pacific Division on December 7th, and well in position to ride through the rest of the season. However, that came crashing down to earth as a 7-11-7 stretch to the NHL’s All-Star break forced the hand of Kings general manager Rob Blake to fire head coach Todd McLellan.
Despite a 4-2 loss to the Oilers on Monday night, the Kings have gone 6-3 under interim head coach Jim Hiller, managing to keep their heads above water. It’s all left some wondering if Blake, now in his sixth year as GM and 10th in the organization, is on the hot seat.
And on Tuesday’s edition of Daily Faceoff LiveTyler Yaremchuk and Frank Seravalli discussed just that:
Tyler Yaremchuk: Rob Blake has made his move on the coaching end and we know the temperature gets dialed up on GMs after a coaching change so I just wonder as we inch closer to the deadline maybe things are starting to get a little hot there sitting in the GM spot for the Kings. Not that a change is going to happen but once you make that move for a coach it’s kind of on you from that point on.
Frank Seravalli: Well consider what the goal was at the year to start, it wasn’t to just make the playoffs but it was after losing to the Edmonton Oilers two playoffs in a row, “we need to win and advance.” They’re not in a prime position to do that, and even though they’ve got some significant improvement like Quinton Byfield and there are a lot of positive signs, the Dubois trade has really set them back in a big way. Then you look at the Faber trade and what that’s meant to Minnesota, Fiala has been fine but Faber and a first was a lot, there’s been some sidesteps along the way and going from rebuilding to a contending team and I think some of those questions are valid. I do wonder if there will be repercussions in the summer and the off-season.
Again, you asked the point about the goaltending, it looked fine at the start and David Rittich has kind of held it together, but in 2024 he’s 7-4-3 with a .911 save percentage, a guy they had no faith or trust in during training camp. He’s taken over for Pheonix Copley, and Cam Talbot but they’ve also spent way less on goaltending than anyone else and that has come back to bite them. It’s a fascinating spot to be in, if not a really uncomfortable one.

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Crickets in the trade market…

After Elias Lindholm got dealt to the Vancouver Canucks and Sean Monahan to the Winnipeg Jets, fans and those around the league alike were hoping it would spark more moves sooner, rather than later.
Well, the exact opposite happened.
Since those deals broke on January 31st and February 2nd, there’s been all of one deal: Alex Nylander heading from Pittsburgh to Columbus with a draft pick for Emil Bemstrom. Yawn.
On Tuesday’s edition of Daily Faceoff LiveFrank Seravalli said NHL GM’s view the market as thin:
Frank Seravalli: It’s a quiet market, and a lot of managers think that it’s a pretty thin market as well, so I think that’s part of the holdup. I think they view maybe a small handful of true difference makers, I think they’ve been kicking tires on a bunch of other players that have term, and short of that, it’s like “Well, is this guy a perfect fit for our bottom six? What does this depth defenseman look like and how different is he from what we already currently have?” There’s been a lot of that stuff going on.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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