Kraken Expansion Draft - LA Kings
Happy Wednesday everyone. As many of us wait with baited breath for election results, how about you all take a moment to relax and take a look at the LA Kings expansion list.
Today I am joined by Kings fan and commenter tkecanuck341. Do your thing.
LA KINGS PROTECTION LIST
Anze Kopitar - C
Alex Iafallo - LW
Adrian Kempe - C
Lias Andersson - C
Drew Doughty (NMC) - RD
Sean Walker - RD
Kale Clague - LD
Matt Roy - RD
With a NMC, Doughty requires protection. Kopitar and Petersen are no-brainers for protection. I would go so far as to say that Kempe, Walker, and Roy are also fairly certain to be protected. After that, there are some question marks. If Iafallo extends, he will be protected, but since he's in the final year of his contract, the Kings may choose to trade him as a rental rather than extend him. For purposes of this exercise, I will assume they re-sign him.
So here are the remaining players that will be considered for protection:
Forwards: Andersson, Frk, Grundstrom, Wagner, Lizotte, Moore, Amadio
Defense: Clague, MacDermid
NHL players that will certainly be left unprotected:
Forwards: Brown, Carter, Luff
So the question becomes whether you protect seven forwards and three defensemen or go the 4F/4D route.
If they go 7-3-1:
Forwards: Kopitar, Iafallo, Kempe, Andersson, Grundstrom, Wagner, Lizotte
Defense: Doughty, Walker, Roy
Andersson's acquisition makes things interesting. I think the final slot could go to any of the guys listed here. A lot depends on how each of these guys perform next season. Since I have to choose now, I'll be optimistic and go with Andersson, assuming he will live up to his potential. If he underperforms this year, or if Grundstrom, Wagner, or Lizotte have otherwise exceptional seasons, then that might change. I purposefully didn't include Frk because I think it would be a mistake to protect a 28-year old player who barely cracks the NHL roster with only a year remaining before he's a UFA. However a 30+ goal season from him, while highly unlikely, could catapult him into a protection slot as well.
As we learned from the Vegas expansion draft, defensemen go for a premium. Vegas took defensemen with all of their picks after taking the required allotment of forwards and goalies. I think Seattle will do the same. For this reason, I think the Kings will go with the 4-4-1 route, and that's the one I'm going with here.
Thanks so much for the write up!
Woohoo, our first 4-4-1 list. This leaves some more interesting names available so let's break it down.
Jeff Carter - Older veteran who has slipped in production over the past couple seasons but has shown he can still produce some offense in a complimentary role. Still put up 17 goals last season.
Dustin Brown - A similar situation as Carter. Older player who still put up 17 goals last season. Both Carter and Brown are UFA after the 2021/2022 season.
Carl Grundstrom - Talented 22 year old forward who hasn't been able to stick in the NHL yet. Scouting reports call him a solid complimentary option on a skill line. \
Mike Amadio - 24 year old right shooting centre who has bounced between the AHL and NHL over the past few seasons. Much more likely caps out as a bottom six option than a true top six player.
Blake Lizotte - 22 year old diminutive centre stands at only 5'7 but uses his skill and speed to stand up to the opposition. 23 points in 65 games in his first NHL season.
Austin Wagner - 23 year old left winger fell off offensively this past season (falling from 12 goals to 6). Still a young player and certainly has NHL size and ability.
Jonathan Quick - Including because I'm sure someone will ask. Quick has declined over the past few seasons and is currently 34. I'm happy with my goaltender options and don't see a need to select Quick too.
A number of exciting young options to look at from the Kings but Lizotte currently has the highest ceiling in my opinion. Though he ranked 11th in EV time on ice, Lizotte ranked 4th in EV assists and with a 6.9 SH% it's clear he can bring more offense. Lizotte may be small but he is aggressive on the forecheck and was used in a secondary role both on the PK and the PP.
In addition Lizotte took 622 faceoffs, winning 312 of them. Producing over 50% in the dot as a rookie is impressive but made doubly so by such a small player.
Lizotte is a highly interesting option for Seattle and could be used almost anywhere in their lineup.