The Los Angeles Kings‘ draft history has been solid. They’ve had some large misses in the previous, however total have been in line with their skill to draft. Where they’ve been much less profitable is buying and selling away their draft picks. It’s at all times a danger in buying and selling away expertise, and the Kings haven’t at all times discovered success when rolling the cube.
It’s simple to overlook that Finnish heart Olli Jokinen was a Kings draft choose — the group took him with the third total choose in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. Despite being such a excessive choice, and an honest rookie marketing campaign that noticed him publish 21 factors in 66 video games, the franchise determined to commerce him in a blockbuster deal throughout the 1999 offseason. He was traded to the New York Islanders alongside Mathieu Biron, Josh Green, and a first-round choose in that yr’s draft in change for Zigmund Palffy, Bryan Smolinski, Marcel Cousineau, and a fourth-round choice in that yr’s draft.
The return for Jokinen would show to be mediocre. Palffy was a powerful participant who led the group in scoring twice throughout his four-year stint with the group, and Smolinski was a strong contributor to the group’s middle-six. However, with each gamers solely spending 4 seasons with the group, it’s laborious for me to contemplate the deal something greater than mediocre.
If the Kings’ return was mediocre, then the Islanders’ return was horrible. None of the belongings alongside Jokinen materialized into a lot success for the group, and the Islanders wasted him as nicely. After just one season on Long Island, they traded him in what was a very terrible deal. The group would deal him and Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers in change for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha.
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It’s in Florida the place Jokinen established himself as a truly elite center. He would finally captain the group for 4 seasons and posted a career-high 91 factors throughout the 2006-07 season. He continues to be the franchise’s all-time main aim scorer and solely lately misplaced his spot on the highest of their factors chart. He retired in 2015, having performed for 10 totally different franchises with 1,231 video games and 750 factors.
In 2009, there was plenty of hype in the Kings group and fan base surrounding their fifth total choose, Brayden Schenn. He was going to be the right one-two punch up the center with Anze Kopitar. Unfortunately, Kings followers by no means bought a lot of an opportunity to see Schenn play for his or her group. They traded the younger heart after solely taking part in 9 video games for the group. Fortunately for Kings followers, the commerce he was concerned in would play an enormous half in the group choosing up their first Stanley Cup. In 2011, the Kings traded him to the Philadelphia Flyers alongside Wayne Simmonds and a second-round choose in the 2012 Draft in change for Mike Richards and Rob Bordson.
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Richards being the massive piece of this deal would play a major function in the Kings 2012 Cup win and was a strong contributor in their 2014 run. The short-term good points from Richards had been nice, however the long-term influence of this deal has been terrible. Richards would solely final 4 seasons in LA and by no means posted greater than 44 factors in a season. Adding to his lack of success on the ice, private points off the ice led to his contract being terminated in 2015. Considering the commerce helped the group win two Cups, it’s laborious to name the commerce a foul deal, however having given up a lot for Richards, the group seemingly would’ve needed extra return from the previous Flyers captain.
Schenn has developed into an excellent second-line heart since leaving the Kings group. It took him a few seasons to determine his recreation out, however in the 2015-16 season, he had his breakout, scoring 59 factors in 80 video games. After one other strong season in which he posted 55 factors in 79 video games, the Flyers traded him to the St. Louis Blues. He and Jori Lehtera had been dealt in change for a first-round choose in the 2017 and 2018 drafts. His first season in St. Louis was a large private success as he put up a career-high 70 factors in 82 video games.
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His second season with the Blues is probably going his most memorable one, although, as he helped the group hoist their first-ever Stanley Cup. He has been a really versatile participant for the Blues taking part in each wing and heart. His versatility and strong 200-foot play make him a implausible top-six ahead that may fill any function requested of him.
Colin Miller wasn’t an enormous title when the Kings drafted him in the fifth spherical of the 2012 Draft. However, after two implausible seasons with the Manchester Monarchs, followers had been excited to see him go well with up for the Kings. But, earlier than getting the prospect to play for the group, the Kings traded him. In 2015, they moved him, Martin Jones and a 2015 first-round choose to the Boston Bruins for Milan Lucic in what is likely one of the worst trades I’ve seen the Kings make in current reminiscence. Lucic would spend only one season in LA — he did play nicely, posting 55 factors in 81 video games — earlier than signing with the Edmonton Oilers in 2016. The return on this commerce was simply atrocious for the Kings, paying an enormous value for one season of a declining Lucic.
Miller would spend two strong seasons in Boston earlier than being claimed by the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft. It was in Vegas the place he established himself as a strong two-way defender in the NHL. In his first season with the group, he led Vegas defensemen with 10 targets and 41 factors in 82 video games. He would comply with that up with a decent 29 factors in 65 video games the subsequent season. Miller was then traded to the Buffalo Sabres for a second-round pick in 2021 and a fifth-round choose in 2022. His time in Buffalo was much less spectacular, although few gamers impressed throughout his tenure. The Kings made a mistake with the Lucic deal, and Miller’s strong play since then has solely added salt to the wound.
The Kings’ historical past of buying and selling first-round picks isn’t too unhealthy, and the present administration group appears dedicated to creating their present expertise. Eventually, they’ll seemingly need to commerce a few their draft picks from the final couple of years. If historical past repeats itself relating to Kings trades, the group ought to be okay, however there’s nonetheless room for enchancment.