Editor’s note: NHL free agency was fast and furious, and the moves that teams did (and did not) make set the tone for next season. All week, we’ll examine the Sharks’ Pacific Division rivals, and whether their free-agency approach put them in better, worse or the same position. Today, we dive into the LA Kings.
There's no way to sugarcoat it: The Kings took a serious nosedive last season into the cellar of the Western Conference.
With a dismal record both at home and on the road --and only winning month in the entire season -- it's no wonder their rivalry with the Sharks lacked so much oomph last season.
But LA is moving on from that, tapping San Jose's former coach Todd McLellan to stand behind their bench and making steps towards a rebuild. But have they done enough so far this offseason to signal a turnaround?
Here's a look at what the Kings have done since free agency opened up on July 1.
Players who signed
The Kings have added some pieces so far this offseason, although nothing that will fully change the look of the team.
LA got its biggest boost a week after the market opened when they re-signed RFA Alex Iafallo to a two-year deal. The 25-year-old was a rare player on the Kings' roster that improved his game last season and is expected to take on an even bigger role in the 2019-20 season.
The Kings also tried adding depth to their lineup by signing former Red Wings' forward Martin Frk and former Sharks d-man Joakim Ryan to one-year contracts. Neither player posted many points with their respective clubs last season, so it isn't entirely clear if they'll thrive on a new team.
Players who left
The Kings bought out the rest of Dion Phaneuf's contract in June, and the 34-year-old defenseman reportedly has received offers from other teams since the market opened. The loss shouldn't affect LA a ton , considering Phaneuf didn't produce much during his two campaigns there.
They did lose some depth, however, with winger Brendan Leipsic going to the Capitals on a one-year deal. How the team plans to fill in pieces of their lineup still remains to be seen.
There's a possibility there will be more moves on the horizon, since the Kings only have $9,440,606 in cap space and a couple of players due to hit free agency after next season. They could move Kings staple Tyler Toffoli, who often is mentioned in trade rumors and is coming off of a down season.
Better, worse, or the same?
So far, the Kings haven't done much since the market opened to signal any major change to the team. Even with the few tweaks, the core of the team is still very much intact.
While there's still plenty of time for LA to make more adjustments to its roster, the lack of flexibility under the cap could make that difficult. And if the bulk of the team is staying together, it doesn't appear that there will be any significant changes to how they perform in the Pacific Division next season.