U&B: Are Kings fans aware that the last two times they’ve acquired players from Columbus at the deadline, they have gone on to win the Cup?
"RR: Jeff Carter was exactly what the Kings needed in 2012 that helped propel them to the Stanley Cup Finals. In 2014, it was a smaller deal but certainly fascinating that each time CBJ and LA have done business together, it has resulted in resounding post-season success. Much like 2012, the Kings got exactly what they needed this year in a goaltender and a left-handed defenseman, and the road to the second round is looking fairly easy at this point, so it does leave one to wonder if the Kings stay hot then it could take them a long way again."
U&B: Realistically, how far are the Kings away from serious contention? What pieces are they missing?
"RR: I would say their window is about 1-2 years away. Right now, there is an interesting mix of veterans and up-and-comers. Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty have been lifelong Kings and were here for both Cups and Phillip Danault provides a lot of experience as well. But, guys like Quinton Byfield, Brandt Clarke, Francesco Pinelli, and even Alex Turcotte are all going to be huge for LA in the coming years. Rob Blake has done a phenomenal job slowly ushering out the old regime by filling up the roster with impressive young talent. As you can see, they are going to make the playoffs this year. But, as far as a legitimate Stanley Cup run, I’d say a few more years for the young guys to develop. If they could get a #1 starting-caliber goaltender, I think that’s the biggest need right now. The tandem of Korpi and Pheonix Copley has been great, but it doesn’t feel like that’s the long-term solution. They did get highly-touted goalie prospect Erik Portillo from the Buffalo Sabres before the deadline and realistically he could be in the AHL next season, so the future of the Kings is very bright."
U&B: Big Jaret Anderson-Dolan fan here; where does he fit in long-term?
"RR: JAD is a big fan favorite. I think he could find himself easily in the bottom six for another year or two, but certainly has potential to move up to the top six. Being only 23, he’s got so much time to develop on what is an already impressive skill set. Being that he’s an RFA at the end of the season, I don’t see a world where Rob Blake doesn’t re-sign him."
It was an interesting conversation with Cameron. We can look to the Kings as an example of what kind of team the Blue Jackets could be in 2-3 years with the “reload” rather than a true rebuild. The Kings did not do a complete tear-down rebuild, instead using mostly their own picks and moving out pieces that no longer fit – while keeping important veteran pieces around.
If that sounds familiar, it’s exactly what the Blue Jackets are hoping to do. The Kings have a strong prospect pool that is full of NHL ready players – as well as a roster that is already seeing those prospects start to come to fruition. Jaret Anderson-Dolan is one example; the Kings picked him in the second round and have let him come along at his own pace. The Kings are a young team looking to gain playoff experience this season, their Cup window is only creeping open. Maybe in a few years, we can see these teams facing off for the ultimate prize.