Heading into the 2020 NHL Draft, the Los Angeles Kings have a total of 11 picks. Three of those selections will be in the second round. Having one of the top-rated and deepest prospect pools in the NHL, the Kings don’t necessarily need to make all three selections in the second round. So, what are their options with these second-round selections?
The Los Angeles Kings Draft Second Round Picks Present Them With Many Options
Option One: Use Them
The obvious first option presented to Los Angeles would be to make the selections. Just because the Kings do not need to make three selections in the second round, it doesn’t mean they can’t. The picks they own are 35, 51, and 60. It should be noted, however, that pick 49, originally owned by the Arizona Coyotes, has been voided due to their fitness testing scandal. This would technically make pick 51 the 50th overall selection in the draft and pick 60 the 59th.
Now, the Kings have made it fairly clear that after selecting second overall, they would like to draft a defenceman with their next pick. As of now, that would be pick number 35. Last Word On Hockey has German winger Lukas Reichel ranked at 35. The closest defencemen near that spot would be 32nd ranked Jeremie Poirier, 34th ranked Helge Grans, and 38th ranked Ryan O’Rourke. while these defencemen are all solid players, none of them have the potential to be the number one defenceman that the Kings pool is missing.
At 51, Last Word On Hockey has right-handed defenceman, William Villeneuve. Villeneuve could be a good fit, as the Kings lack right-shot defencemen in their pool, but not in the NHL. If they wanted to go the forward route with this pick, other options could be 52nd and 53rd ranked centres Vasili Ponomaryov and Jean-Luc Foudy. 50th ranked Antiono Stranges could also be a good fit if he is available.
Ranked 60th, Last Word On Hockey has winger William Cuylle. Another intriguing name to look for would be 61st ranked Joel Blomqvist, a goaltender. Since Rob Blake has become the Los Angeles Kings general manager, he has taken at least one goalie in each of his three drafts. Having three second-rounders, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him use one on a goalie.
Option Two: Trade-Up
When looking at the Los Angeles Kings prospect pool, the biggest hole they have is a high-end defenceman prospect. While Tobias Bjornfot is great, he likely isn’t a future number one. At some point, the team will need to replace Drew Doughty, and as of now, they do not have someone who seems capable of filling his skates. This leads to the notion of the team trading up.
Realistically, the only defencemen in the draft class who seem like they have the potential to replace Drew Doughty would be Jamie Drysdale and maybe Jake Sanderson. Each of these players will likely be taken in the top 10-12. So, trading up to get one would be very costly. Even if the Kings were to trade all three of their second-rounders, they would still likely need to add on established NHLers (which they don’t have enough of to spare) or some prospects.
Due to the price of trading up to take a player like Drysdale or Sanderson, the Kings might be better off settling for a lower calibre prospect. By trading a combination of second-rounders, the Kings could likely get somewhere into the mid-’20s. At that range, the best options for them could be one of Kaiden Guhle, Braden Schneider, William Wallinder, or Justin Barron. Even picking in the mid-’20s though, some of, or possibly none of those defencemen could be available. If they were to grab one of them, it would help their issue on defence. But, it still wouldn’t be enough to replace Doughty down the road. It would provide them more depth than star power, which is where they already are to begin with.
Option Three: Trade Into Next Year’s Draft
When looking at the 2021 draft class, it’s loaded with high-end defencemen. Between Brandt Clarke, Carson Lambos, Owen Power, Luke Hughes, or even Daniil Chayka; there are plenty of options. If the Kings could swing a trade with a team to get into next year’s top-10, it would put them in a very good situation. To do this, however, it would be costly. They would likely need to package several 2020 second-round picks, their 2021 first-round pick, and some prospects. Even then, they would need to wait until they see where that pick ends up by the end of next year. If it isn’t as high as where they want it, they would need to package even more assets. To just spitball a little, the team has two selections in both the second and third rounds next year if they want to use some of those as a sweetener.
Option Four: Trade for a Roster Player
Rob Blake has made it clear that the Kings have a hole on the left side of their blueline. Drew Doughty needs a new partner. While there is a chance the Kings could re-sign Ben Hutton, it seems more unlikely than it does likely. They could go the free-agent route to fill this hole, but their options are slowly going away. After being rumored to have interest in Joel Edmundson, his rights were traded to the Montreal Canadiens, who then signed him. This makes the trade route more intriguing, as there are simply more options.
If the Kings can send over one or a package of second-round picks and prospects, they could obtain a solid, preferably young, left-handed defenseman. After acquiring Mike Matheson, the Pittsburgh Penguins seem to be overloaded with left-handers on their blueline. If the Kings could pry away one of Juuso Riikola or a more costly Marcus Pettersson, it would be a great fit for their team. The Montreal Canadiens are in a similar situation to Pittsburgh. One of Brett Kulak or Victor Mete would make a great partner for Doughty if the Kings could scarf up enough assets to get them.
While it’s less probable, another player that could fit well with LA would be Shayne Gostisbehere. Still just 27 years old, Gostisbehere is back on the trade block for the Philadelphia Flyers. Being a left-shot D and needing a change of scenery, coming to the west coast could be exactly what Ghost needs.
Los Angeles Kings Draft Overview
With all of their second-round picks, the Kings really have four main options. Those options are to use them, trade up, trade into next year, or trade for immediate help. Possibly one of the biggest issues in the organization right now is to find a long-term replacement for Drew Doughty. Realistically, the only one of the four options that could solve that problem would be trading into next year’s draft. While this is the best option, it is also the most difficult to pull off. The Kings will be presented with some difficult choices leading up to the draft. They need to decide what to do with all of their second-round picks.