Pacific Division Notes: L.A. Kings pull the trigger on surprising trade, Flames trending towards selling
Photo credit:© Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis8 months ago
It felt like Trade Deadline Day came early, as teams came together on Tuesday for 10 different deals.
The Oilers made a couple of trades, ultimately sending Jesse Puljujarvi, Tyson Barrie, Reid Schaefer, and two draft picks in order to add veteran defender Mattias Ekholm. The Toronto Maple Leafs made three trades and wound up reuniting with Luke Schenn, while the New York Rangers finally pulled the trigger and acquired Patrick Kane from the Chicago Blackhawks.
And then, late at night, the Los Angeles Kings got into the mix. Following their 6-5 win over the Jets in Winnipeg, the Kings traded long-time goaltender Jonathan Quick along with their first- and third-round picks in this summer’s draft to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Vladislav Gavrikov and Joonas Korpisalo.
According to Frank Seravalli, the trade dampened the mood following L.A.’s big win over Winnipeg…
Quick, of course, is one of the three remaining members of the Kings that won the Stanley Cup back in 2012 and 2014. He’s in the final season of the 10-year, $58 million contract that he signed to stick around in Los Angeles after they won the first of those two championships and, now at 37 years old, he likely expected to spend his entire career with the Kings.
But while Quick played a key role in helping the Kings get back into the playoffs last year, he’s struggled mightily to an .876 save percentage through 31 appearances this season. The Kings’ goaltending situation has been a mess, as Cal Peterson was sent to the AHL and third-stringer Pheonix Copley has become the No. 1 option. L.A.’s trio of Quick, Petersen, and Copley have combined for an .884 save percentage, which ranks second-last in the league, and the team ranks 23rd in terms of goals against.
Nobody was taking Petersen’s contract, which has two more years left on it at $5 million annually, so Quick’s contract was the obvious choice to send out the door. The hope for L.A. is that adding Korpisalo, who has a .911 save percentage on a horrendous Columbus team, along with a shutdown defender in Gavrikov, will help them keep the puck out of the net.
Another interesting aspect of this trade is what it means for Jakob Chychrun. There seemed to be a trade between the Arizona Coyotes and Kings a few weeks ago that would have seen Chychrun moved to Los Angeles but it never happened.
The Oilers, Kings, and Washington Capitals moved first-round picks for defenders on Wednesday, so where will Chychrun wind up?
Things have finally started to move in the ultra-tight Pacific Division, which features four teams separated by just four points. The Oilers and Kings made big splashes, the Vegas Golden Knights added some forward depth by trading for Ivan Barbashev, while the Seattle Kraken have stood pat thus far.
Sitting on the outside looking in are the Calgary Flames. They currently rank ninth in the Western Conference, five points behind a clump of three teams who occupy the final playoff spots.
The Flames lost a frustrating game on Tuesday night, as they threw 57 shots on goal and Linus Ullmark stopped 54 of them. The Boston Bruins wound up scoring late in the third period to tie the game and then they won in overtime, handing Calgary their seventh loss in their last 10 games.
The playoffs are certainly within reach for the Flames but Elliotte Friedman noted that general manager Brad Trelving could opt to do some retooling…
The Flames have a group of players who are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents following the 2023-24 season who could net them nice returns if they do opt to sell. Mikael Backlund, Elias Lindholm, Tyler Toffoli, and Chris Tanev would all be attractive options for contending teams, especially if Calgary retained money on any of their deals.
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