DAB Trade Series: The Los Angeles Kings

The second the New Jersey Devils’ season ends, all of us fans turn into armchair GM’s to start discussing the trades that we wish real general manager Ray Shero would make. So us here at Devils Army Blog are taking the opportunity of this offseason that began way too soon to star looking at who the Devils should trade for from other teams. Disclaimer: these are real, actual, legitimately viable trades, so don’t expect any “let’s trade Drew Stafford for Connor McDavid” type fantasy here.

For today’s team, we’re switching coasts and heading to the bright lights of Hollywood; more specifically the stadium lights of Staples Center to look at trade candidates from the Los Angeles Kings. Ever since their win over the Devils in the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, a minor rivalry has developed. At the end of this past season, both teams also finished at the bottom of their respective conference, so the Devils and Kings are once again on a similar footing of sorts.

Since winning the Cup in 2012, and following up against the hated Rangers in 2014 (thank you for that one LA), the Kings have since become victims of their own success. They signed up their core long-term and for big money in hopes of a dynasty. It paid off with that second cup win in 2014, also helped by the trade deadline acquisition of Marian Gaborik, but since then they’ve slowly gone downhill before finally bottoming out this season.

Ilya Kovalchuk
Kings’ left wing Ilya Kovalchuk (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

The first player the Devils should definitely trade for should start with a package of Taylor Hall, Kyle Palmieri, Nico Hischier and the franchises next five first-round picks, and that would be for a little-known Russian winger named Ilya Kovalchuk. Okay, obviously kidding about that one, but here’s two players the Devils should definitely try to pry away from Los Angeles without paying a King’s ransom (see what I did there?)

Alex Iafallo

On a desolate, low scoring and aging Kings team this past season, Alex Iafallo was a bright spot. He often played as a top-line left winger and played in all 82 games this season to the tune of 15 goals and 18 assists for 33 points. Unlike most of the Kings’ roster, age is also on his side as he’s only 25 years old. The United States-born player was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Kings so it can be argued they have low investment in him already. It’s harder to part with a player you had to use your own finite number of picks and time for development. But Iafallo instead made the jump from NCAA hockey at University of Minnesota Duluth to training camp with the Kings rather seamlessly, never going through the farm system and NHL.

Being one of the only good and productive players with potential on the Kings roster isn’t going to make him easy to part with. A good comparison, not for the type of player he is but for the situation the Los Angeles Kings are in with him, would be the New Jersey Devils of a few seasons ago and Adam Henrique. After losing Zach Parise and Kovalchuk, the Devils team was barren of talent and aging, much like the current Kings. Our own bright side was Henrique and the expectations we had for him. The lack of talent around him made Henrique disproportional to the rest of the team, and made Devils fans over evaluate his own talent. That, and that beautiful sentimental goal against the Rangers that will forever give us an emotional attachment.

Point being: we all knew what Henrique was worth, but because we had very little else to look forward to in players developing in our system, we wanted to keep him for more than he was worth. Unless some team came and offered a wildly uneven trade proposal (literally on the level of Hall for Larsson), no Devils fans would wish to part with Henrique during the dark, pre-rebuild years of 2014-2017. We should expect the Kings to think and act the same, but a package of two second round picks and a productive middle of the lineup forward might be enough to get them talking.

Photo via NJ.com

Kurtis MacDermid

Kurtis MacDermid plays defense for the Kings, although he was demoted and sent down to the AHL during the season, and has been playing in their system since 2015-16. He has played parts of the last two seasons at the NHL level, between this year and last. Youth is also on his side, as he matches Iafallo in age at 25.

Don’t expect MacDermid to be the next offensive-defenseman superstar like PK Subban or Brett Burns, as throughout his 45 career games, he’s only scored five points by the way of one goal and four assists. What makes MacDermid intriguing is his size, with his huge frame clocking in at 6’5” and 233 pounds. The only current Devils’ defenseman to even come close to that size is Mirco Mueller at 6’3” and 210 pounds. How long has it been since the evils had a large and in charge defenseman? That role is perfect for MacDermid.

Another thing that Iafallo shares with MacDermid is that they were both signed as undrafted free agents, meaning the cost to get them is measured less in draft picks and development. But since defensemen take longer to develop than forwards, perhaps the Kings have a bit more patience with MacDermid despite his dual playing time between AHL and the NHL. Considering it’s time the Devils admit that trading for Mirco Mueller was a good idea that didn’t pan out, they should at least make a run for MacDermid. If New Jersey can grab him for a mid-round pick, it could be a steal.

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