We are now less than 18 hours from the NHL's official trade deadline. While they have been quiet thus far, the Los Angeles Kings are expected to make some noise between now and Wednesday afternoon. They made a total of four deals on Deadline Day between 2009 and 2011 but since then, nothing.
*In 2012, the Kings acquired Jeff Carter for Jack Johnson the day before that deadline so technically, that doesn't count.
But after their unsuccessful quest to defend their Stanley Cup crown last season, the Los Angeles Kings hope to add another piece to their puzzle before making their final push towards the playoffs and beyond.
Earlier on Tuesday, Sportsnet Hockey Central said that the Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins are the two teams gunning for the services of Tomas Vanek. Knowing the Penguins, however, they will likely land the Austrian if the race is indeed just between them and the Kings. After all, the Pens do have a knack for overpaying to get the player(s) they want. They did it with Jarome Iginla last year, defenseman Paul Martin a fw summers ago and with Marian Hossa in 2008. Besides, as reliable as a goal-scorer as Tomas Vanek is, TSN believes that if he will head to SoCal, it will be with the Anaheim Ducks instead. On Tuesday afternoon, the Ducks traded their first-line left-winger Dustin Penner to Washington. Vanek, like Penner, is a top-line left-winger. You do the math.
But the one name popping up the most in relation to the Los Angeles Kings is right-winger Matt Moulson who has already spent some time with the Kings.
From 2007 to 2009, Moulson played a total of 29 games for Los Angeles before being signed by the New York Islanders in the summer of 2009.
Moulson's first stint with the Kings was not a memorable one.
With the Kings, the native of North York, Ontario scored a total of six goals and four assists. It is fair to point out that Moulson played under Terry Murray while with the Kings. Murray, as good a coach as he was, was notorious for underplaying bright talent. Moulson is one example while Teddy Purcell is another.
He may not have fared too well with the Kings then but Matt Moulson, to his credit, has grown exponentially as a player. Heck, the Kings have grown exponentially as a team since parting ways with Moulson. So, unless Buffalo's asking price is reasonable, Moulson being given another shot in Los Angeles does not seem like such a bad idea. Plus, the 30-year-old will be reunited with his brother-in-law, Jonathan Quick.
TSN's Aaron Ward said on Tuesday evening that the Los Angeles Kings need to make a trade. After all, the Kings, according to him, are struggling to score. I disagree, While acquiring a goal-scorer or even another defenseman will help, the Kings don't exactly find themselves up against a wall feeling the pressure that they absolutely have to make a trade by Wednesday afternoon. Also, if Ward bothered to stay up past his bedtime, he'd know that the Kings have turned a corner since returning from the NHL's Olympic hiatus. The Kings are 4-0-0 since returning (winning five-straight overall) and while they haven't put on many offensive clinics, they have been better overall, especially in the departments of goaltending, defense and overall intensity.
Other names said to be on the Kings' radar include Marian Gaborik who, while very good, is injury-prone and frankly, I don't want to see this team take that kind of risk.
Two players most thought would never get moved, Ryan Miller and Roberto Luongo, have both been traded. That should give you some idea as to how unpredictable these next few hours are going to be - and the Los Angeles KIngs might very well be in thick of things come Wednesday.