The Kraken could land a quality player from the Los Angeles Kings
In the lead-up to the Seattle Kraken’s NHL Expansion Draft, we here at the Kraken Chronicle will look at all 30 teams and who could be taken from each. In this edition, we take a look at the Los Angeles Kings.
The Seattle Kraken are counting down the days until the NHL Expansion Draft on July 23. One team that is slightly under the radar coming into the Kraken Expansion Draft is the Los Angeles Kings. Here’s a dive into three intriguing options for the Kraken and why Seattle GM Ron Francis could potentially take these players.
Dustin Brown (Forward, Age: 36)
Brown is not going to be the first choice from the Kings for Francis. He is 36 entering the 2021-22 season and has a cap hit of $5.875 million for one more year. His total salary for this season is just $4 million, so it’s a sizeable contract for someone who hasn’t scored 60 points in a season since 2017-18.
This is about clearing salary cap space if you are LA. Kings GM Rob Blake is trying to make this team is younger and moving on from Brown would help immensely. It is easier said than done considering the impact Brown has on this franchise. However, this is as good of a time as any to let him go.
For the Kraken, there are some decent selling points when it comes to Brown. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion, having been the captain of both teams. He is an American, having played on both the 2010 and 2014 Olympic teams. Finally, he’s an extremely hard worker, who will never take a shift off. If Seattle is looking for a leader (albeit, an expensive one at that), Brown is certainly a quality option.
Kale Clague (Defenseman, Age: 23)
Clague is an intriguing piece that could be left exposed by the Kings. He’s 23 years old and has played in 22 NHL games, scoring no goals with six assists. Los Angeles drafted him 51st overall in 2016 and since then, it’s been a slow process getting him to the NHL.
Part of that is due to how crowded the Kings defensive core is. But, it’s also partially because Los Angeles is not trying to rush any prospects to the NHL right away. Clague has performed well in the AHL, scoring 66 points in 124 games over three seasons with the Ontario Reign. With those stats, it’s why we haven’t seen Clague in the NHL much.
Clague is an RFA this summer so should the Kraken take him, they would need to sign him to a new deal. I can’t see it costing Seattle an exorbitant amount of money so he would be an affordable option. If the Kraken decide to go young and inexpensive on the blueline, Clague is a solid selection.
Carl Grundstrom (Forward, Age: 23)
Taken six spots behind Clague in the 2016 NHL Draft, Grundstrom is another intriguing forward piece that Seattle could take. Most notably, Grundstrom won the 2018 Calder Cup with the Toronto Marlies, scoring 14 in the playoffs as a rookie. He was traded to Los Angeles as part of the Jake Muzzin trade and is still adjusting to playing in the NHL regularly.
Grundstrom carries a one-way deal worth $750,000 this season, meaning he’ll need to clear waivers if Seattle wants to send him down. However, he played in 47 games last season, so he is getting accustomed to playing in the NHL more and more. That includes scoring 11 points, which is more than he had in his last two seasons combined.
Grundstrom’s not the fastest guy, nor the best skater for that matter. But Grundstrom has great instincts and a high IQ player that he doesn’t need to be in the top six to be useful. He’s definitely an option for the Ron Francis and the Kraken come July 21st.
All of the players mentioned are fascinating for the Kraken. This doesn’t even include Jonathan Quick, Trevor Moore, and Sean Walker, who are players Seattle could also be interested in. In the end, the Kraken should snap a quality player from the Kings as the two teams get set to see each other frequently in the Pacific Divison next season.