The Los Angeles Kings have been eliminated from the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs after dropping Saturday's Game 6 matchup against the Edmonton Oilers, and now a long offseason awaits.
L.A. had a great mix of youth and veterans in its lineup during the 2022-23 season, including Stanley Cup champions in Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar, but it wasn't enough for the Kings to make a deep playoff run.
The Kings are now met with questions about how they can build a Stanley Cup-winning squad, so it's time to take a look at L.A.'s free agents, some draft targets and what to expect this summer.
Unrestricted free agents: Vladislav Gavrikov, Alexander Edler, Joonas Korpisalo
Restricted free agents: Zack MacEwen, Rasmus Kupari, Gabriel Vilardi, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Jacob Ingham
The most important players L.A. will need to re-sign this summer are Joonas Korpisalo and Vladislav Gavrikov.
After trading Jonathan Quick to the Columbus Blue Jackets, who then flipped him to the Las Vegas Golden Knights, at the 2022-23 season's trade deadline, the Kings need to retain Korpisalo in 2023-24 and beyond.
Korpisalo started 11 games for the Kings in 2022-23 after being acquired from the Blue Jackets, and he posted a 7-3-1 record, 2.13 goals-against average and .921 save percentage. He was a solid backup to Pheonix Copley, and it's possible he can return to starting next season.
L.A. also acquired Gavrikov at the trade deadline from Columbus, and he notched three goals and six assists for nine points in 20 games with the Kings. He was also a plus-12, which is the best mark of his career.
It shouldn't be too expensive for the Kings to retain Korpisalo and Gavrikov, either, so they should have a solid chance at keeping both in town.
2023 Draft Targets
The Kings don't have a first-round pick in the 2023 NHL draft, but they have several selections on Day 2 that they can use to bolster their prospect pool.
L.A. traded its first-round pick to the Blue Jackets for Gavrikov and Korpisalo.
Here's a look at their selections this summer:
- One second-round pick
- One third-round pick
- One fourth-round pick
- One fifth-round pick
- One sixth-round pick
The Kings need to make some upgrades across the board, so it's unclear who they might target with their second-round pick. With Kopitar and Doughty aging, it's possible they'll select both a forward and defenseman with their first two picks.
If the Kings lose Gavrikov in free agency, they'll need to replace him by signing another top-tier defender this summer, and John Klingberg, Matt Dumba and Dmitry Orlov will be among the top available.
Klingberg spent the 2022-23 season with the Anaheim Ducks and Minnesota Wild. The offensive-minded defender notched 10 goals and 23 assists for 33 points in 67 regular-season games, adding one goal and three assists in six playoff games.
The 30-year-old will be looking for a long-term deal this summer after failing to nail down a similar pact last offseason, and it remains to be seen whether the Kings would be willing to commit to him long term.
Dumba, a dynamic, big-minute defenseman, has spent his entire 10-year career with the Wild. In 79 games during the 2022-23 season, he notched four goals and 10 assists for 14 points and was a minus-eight.
It's reasonable to believe the 28-year-old will also be looking for a long-term commitment.
Orlov spent the 2022-23 season with the Washington Capitals and the Boston Bruins. He notched seven goals and 29 assists for 36 points in 66 games, adding six assists through his first six playoff games this season.
The 31-year-old wanted a long-term deal with the Capitals before being traded to the Bruins this year, and it won't be surprising if he's still searching for that type of deal in free agency.
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