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Over The Boards

Mailbag: Draft-day trade possibilities, Kings rebuild, Marleau's future

NHL.com's Dan Rosen answers weekly questions

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

Here is the June 5 edition of Dan Rosen's weekly mailbag, which runs every Wednesday. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.

 

What's your overall impression of draft day in Vancouver in terms of trading? Lots of fireworks or crickets? -- @tealforreal_96

You can't just look specifically at the two days that take up the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena (June 21-22). The time period to focus on is from the end of the Stanley Cup Final to the start of the free-agent signing period, which would be June 13-30 if the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins play a seven-game series. Game 7 would be June 12. The free-agent market opens July 1. There were 30 trades last year in that allotted time period, which was June 8-30, but 16 of those involved either pick swaps only or prospects for pick swaps. They were minor. There were a handful of bigger trades involving players like forwards Max Domi, Alex Galchenyuk, Elias Lindholm and Mike Hoffman, defensemen Noah Hanifin, Dougie Hamilton and Brooks Orpik, and goalie Philipp Grubauer. Two years before we had the fireworks on June 29 of Taylor Hall getting traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Adam Larsson, and the P.K. Subban for Shea Weber trade between the Nashville Predators and the Montreal Canadiens. 

It's hard to say what will happen after the Cup Final ends, but we'll see dealing and some bigger names involved, perhaps some fireworks too. Names I've speculated on in previous mailbags are Subban, Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat and J.T. Miller, Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Phil Kessel, Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba and Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Some of those are cap related, like Subban, Trouba and Tampa Bay's forwards. With Kessel and Nugent-Hopkins it's more about fit and remodeling rosters. There are others to consider too, such as Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Nikita Zaitsev, Minnesota Wild forward Jason Zucker, Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and Predators center Kyle Turris. There is enough there to create a lot of energy and excitement at the start of the offseason.

 

With the selection of Todd McLellan as coach, what type of game and player mix do you think the Los Angeles Kings will be working to build? -- @UJski

Speed with size. That should be the Kings new motto. Get fast, stay big. Anze Kopitar is big (6-foot-3, 225 pounds) and he's not going anywhere, but he needs some speedy wingers to help drive his game to be better than it was this season, when he had 60 points (22 goals, 38 assists) in 81 games, down from 92 points (35 goals, 57 assists) in 82 games last season. Drew Doughty can still skate and move and cover 200 feet, but a bigger yet mobile defenseman by his side would make Doughty more dangerous and allow him more freedom to be a playmaker too. That's just two examples. The Kings have a long way to go toward building a roster that can win in the NHL today. They have some assets to work with, including forwards Adrian Kempe, Austin Wagner, Mike Luff, Carl Grundstrom and Jaret Anderson-Dolan. Kempe, Wagner, Luff and Grundstrom are all at least 6-foot. Anderson-Dolan is 5-11. They're all 22 or younger. But the Kings need more. They need higher-end NHL players, not prospects. And they need to have size and speed. That's the only way they rebuild into a contender. 

Video: McLellan on becoming the Kings' next head coach

 

There have been a lot of rumors about Patrick Marleau possibly going to the Kings or Arizona Coyotes. Which of those teams fits him best and are there other teams that would go after him? -- @TJRinger1

I like the Coyotes better for Marleau because I think they're closer to being a playoff contender and he could assist in the development of their young players into leaders, including forwards Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz. I also think the up-tempo style we've seen from the Coyotes fits Marleau's game. He'll be 40 on Sept. 15, but he can still skate. As I mentioned in the above answer, the Kings will want to play that style, but I think it's going to take them some time to get there. Arizona could also take Zaitsev from the Maple Leafs as part of the trade. The return to Toronto could be any number of assets, but I would think the Maple Leafs wouldn't want to take on much salary in return and they'd like to get at least one of Arizona's quality young players from a list that includes forwards Christian Dvorak, Lawson Crouse and Christian Fischer. Keller, forward Barrett Hayton and defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph should be untouchables from the Coyotes perspective. These are many of the same players I mentioned two weeks ago in a potential Coyotes trade for Kessel. If they can get Zaitsev out of the trade with the Maple Leafs, it's worth doing.

Video: FLA@TOR: Marleau nets quick wrister off Kadri's feed

 

Do you think Steve Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings will be aggressive in free agency? -- @punmasterrifkin

I predict patience from Yzerman as the Red Wings new general manager. I don't think he'll be aggressive in free agency because the need for a splash doesn't outweigh the need for the Red Wings to build it right so they can become a contender for several years. The caveat to this is the potential for Yzerman to use the rarely used offer sheet. I've heard around the League that nobody would be surprised if he tried to get Lightning center Brayden Point to sign an offer sheet. But I also think the Lightning will match it so it's probably not going to go very far. 

When he was introduced as executive vice president and general manager on April 19, Yzerman repeatedly mentioned how building the Red Wings back into a contender will take time. He likes the foundation put in place by former GM Ken Holland. The plan will be to build around forwards Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Bertuzzi, Filip Zadina and Michael Rasmussen. He likes defensemen Filip Hronek and Jared McIssac too. 

Video: What does Yzerman need to do to improve Detroit?

Yzerman's plan is likely the same as it was with the Lightning. He let it build slowly in Tampa Bay. He had Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman, but he eventually added Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Johnson, Palat, Killorn and Point, making them a part of the core. He infused veterans like defensemen Anton Stralman, Dan Girardi and Braydon Coburn, and forward Ryan Callahan, albeit in a trade for Hall of Famer Martin St. Louis. He could allow goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy to develop properly because he acquired Ben Bishop. Eventually he added Miller and defenseman Ryan McDonagh, and the next wave of younger players started to come through too, making the Lightning what they were this season, the best in the regular season.

 

If the New York Rangers are really involved in trying to acquire Trouba or sign Erik Karlsson, what do they do with their glut of defensemen? Do you think Brendan Smith can be traded for a bad forward contract? -- @surlysailor

I think Trouba is and should be their target. At 25 years old and with 408 games played, Trouba fits into the age range and experience the Rangers are looking for. They need a top pair right-handed defenseman who can play a shutdown role. They need size on the back end and Trouba is 6-foot-3, 202 pounds. The problem there are 30 other teams who want the same thing and the Rangers will have to give up assets to get him before they re-sign him. However, they're in position to trade the No. 20 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft back to the Jets. They received that pick from Winnipeg in the trade for center Kevin Hayes on Feb. 25. If Winnipeg wants it back in a trade for Trouba, I don't see why the Rangers would scoff at that, especially considering they are also picking at No. 2, had three first-round picks last year and two the year before. Trouba is also a pending restricted free agent, but the Rangers have the cap space. There are ways of getting around their glut of defensemen without taking on a bad contract in a trade. 

Smith showed versatility this season when he was moved up to play forward. That could make him a more valuable player to the Rangers and give them a reason to keep him. I think they could trade pending RFA defenseman Neal Pionk. He's 23 years old and he's a righty who can move the puck and play on the power play. He'd be sought after. If I'm the Rangers, I'd rather re-sign Tony DeAngelo, who is also a pending RFA, and use him as my second- or third-pair right-handed defenseman if they got Trouba. Adam Fox would be the other righty in the top six. But where does that leave Shattenkirk? That's a great question that needs to be resolved because at 30 years old he just doesn't fit with the Rangers and the model for their roster right now. A trade would be ideal. A buyout is an option. When it's all said and done, if the Rangers got Trouba they could have a defense with Trouba, DeAngelo and Fox on the right side, Brady Skjei, Marc Staal and Libor Hajek on the left. That has potential.

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