According to multiple reports from top NHL insiders like TSN’s Bob McKenzie and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Los Angeles Kings are making a HUGE push to acquire a goal scoring winger this offseason and general manager Rob Blake reportedly has some high priced targets in his sights.
Up first, on his latest installment of the TSN Bobcast, McKenzie reports that the Kings have expressed interest in Pittsburgh Penguins sniper Phil Kessel.
“There’s been a lot of talk out of Pittsburgh about Phil Kessel’s situation,” said McKenzie. “Jimmy Rutherford the other day was quoted in the Pittsburgh papers and The Athletic and some other spots trying to calm the waters just a little bit, it started to take on a life of its own right after the I Penguins were eliminated when it was suggested in Pittsburgh media – quite correctly – that Kessel is eminently available.”
“Kessel… I think they would move him. But I’m not sure that that’ll necessarily happen. That said, the Los Angeles Kings are believed to be one of a number of teams that have some interest in Kessel.”
McKenzie didn’t stop there with the Kings rumors though, throwing Carolina Hurricanes winger Jeff Skinner and Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty into the mix, as well.
“And that was another thing I was going to bring up in terms of some of the gossip. The L.A. Kings are looking for scoring wingers. Jeff Skinner in Carolina is somebody they have some interest in, Max Pacioretty in Montreal would be someone.”
Friedman echoed a lot of McKenzie’s sentiments in his latest appearance on the NHL Network, reiterating that the Kings are making a strong push for Skinner, in particular.
“I think Jeff Skinner will be one,” noted Friedman. “He has a no-move clause. He just changed agents. There’s a lot of intrigue going on there.”
“We’ve talked before, I think the Kings are a team that have been interested. I think Florida potentially is a team that could be interested. I think Florida after just missing the playoffs, I think there’s some interest in them to adding a couple of pieces. I think Jeff Skinner, with one year left on his contract, he’s one that I would do.”
As with any hypothetical trade in the NHL, it all comes down to the ask and the return. It’s clear that Blake and the Kings have options on the trade front, but could the trade ask for a player like Kessel, Skinner or Pacioretty prove to be too costly? You have to figure that the team will also review free agent options like Toronto Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk and Vegas Golden Knights sniper James Neal.