Internally, the Los Angeles Kings have considered the possibility of trading from their defense, a position at which they have identified depth, for a forward, highlighted as a potential area of need one year after the team tied for 24th in the league with an average of 2.43 goals per game.
Pierre LeBrun raised this topic during an episode of TSN’s Insider Trading last night, saying that “if [the Kings] feel as the season goes on that they need to upgrade tangibly to their top nine forward group, they could put out either Jake Muzzin or Alec Martinez on the trade market to see what that fetches.” Click on the link for the full context of such considerations; L.A. discussions begin two minutes into the video.
Not that LeBrun needs any sort of confirmation or reinforcement, but this aligns closely to what I had heard over the off-season, not from a more pinpointed personnel standpoint, but from a general trading-from-depth-for-an-area-of-need standpoint: Los Angeles, as learned over the off-season, has considered internally that it could move a defenseman for a forward, should it come to a conclusion at a later date that it needs to reinforce its forward group after an assessment of their output, weighted by a meaningful enough sample size.
This isn’t anything imminent, but something to consider as the weeks tick off the NHL calendar and a greater understanding of the offense takes place. Right now, Los Angeles ranks 11th in the league with a healthy 3.20 goals-per-game average, but there is not yet enough of a sample size available to influence such a significant organizational decision.
Travis Yost of TSN.ca wrote an interesting column about early sample sizes yesterday, borrowing a Bob McKenzie “rule” that dictates, “Don’t believe anything you see for the first two weeks, take note after three, and book it after four.”
Thirty games is a fairly long time. By the NHL calendar, that’d take us into mid-December. I think it speaks to the general uncertainty and volatility of the league – teams can, by talent and/or sheer randomness, go through incredible winning and losing streaks at any point in the season. That, along with player movement, team health, the omnipresent rule of regression, and many other variables we are blind to in this simple analysis can greatly impact a team’s fortune.
Keeping this in mind, there’s some important blue line context to share that relates to Slava Voynov, whose contract with SKA expires at the end of this season. This isn’t any sort of breaking news, but any evaluations of the defense also include peripheral consideration about Voynov. At this point there have been no concrete decisions made on that future, or how to handle the processes that would have to be undertaken for him to return to the NHL. Again, this is old news, but any hypothetical Voynov return would first have to go through United States immigration, and, should that major hurdle be cleared, the player would have to take part in an NHL process that would require a proceeding in front of Gary Bettman, and such propositions are too vague to assess at this point. Voynov has been under suspension by the league since his 2014 domestic violence arrest, so this is a topic that is still the better part of a year away from taking any sort of shape.
-Lead photo via Hannah Foslien/Getty Images