The Los Angeles Kings made two notable moves at the trade deadline, but did they do enough to reemerge as legitimate contenders down the stretch?
Earlier in the day, the Kings traded Hudson Fasching and Nicolas Deslauriers to the Buffalo Sabres for Brayden McNabb and two second-round picks. McNabb has spent the majority of his time in the AHL, but the 23-year-old is 6’5’’ 200 plus pounds.
He is a guy that can be a little overaggressive from time to time but the Kings like the aggression he plays with and think that it will be easier to tame his aggression than it would be to teach somebody else how to play with that aggression.
He does not appear to be somebody who will factor in down the stretch for the Kings too much this year, but he is the hard-hitting pure defenseman that the Kings have been looking for. Fasching and Deslauriers were two of the Kings most promising prospects, but all signs point to McNabb being a top-two pairing type of defenseman for many years to come.
Defense and goaltending have not been the Kings’ problem this year. The problem has been their 28th ranked offense. They also made a deal to address that. In a deal a little later in the day, the Kings acquired Marian Gaborik from the Columbus Blue Jackets for Matt Frattin, a second-round pick and a conditional third-round pick.
This trade could end up being the steal of the trade deadline. Frattin is a guy who has a ton of potential but has not managed to really fit in with the Kings since being acquired in the offseason trade that sent Jonathan Bernier to Toronto. He has not played in the last five game, and the Kings appeared to have no space for him.
Gaborik has only played in 22 games this season for Columbus coming off of injury, but has already scored 14 points. He appears to be healthy now and it has been announced that he will start on the first line tonight with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams. Kopitar is an excellent playmaker and Williams is a proven threat on the other wing. A line like that allows Gaborik a solid chance to see a lot of shots.
He has scored 40 goals three times in his career and 30 goals seven times. He missed Only played in 47 games last season, so injuries are obviously a concern. The Kings did not give up too much to get him, so even if it does turn out to be a bust, it was worth the trade.
There were some bigger names being throw around for the Kings, like Thomas Vanek, and Matt Moulson. However, those two would have needed a much bigger return for their teams to pull the trigger. Both of those guys could have also turned out to be rental players.
All in all, the acquisition of Gaborik will prove to be a huge one for the Kings and their offensive production should improve immediately. The Kings are already on a five-game winning streak and their defense and goaltending right where they need to be. We should see the Kings begin to climb up the standings into one of the top-four spots.