The Los Angeles Kings continue to surprise this season as they have quickly and quietly become a Stanley Cup threat out of the Western Conference. General manager (GM) Rob Blake continues to make bold in-season moves for the franchise, and look for the savvy executive to continue his tinkering ways this summer as changes will be coming in California.
Here’s three Kings players who aren’t expected back next season:
The Kings have a surplus of defensemen and especially on the right side, leaving Sean Walker as a prime trade candidate this offseason.
The 28-year-old blueliner is signed through next season at a reasonable cap hit of $2.6 million. He holds zero trade protection and can be moved at will. Walker has battled some injury concerns these past couple of seasons and in 2022-23, has recorded 11 points in 60 games. He’s a great depth defenseman who can move up into a team’s top four should an injury occur or if his performance indicates.
With the likes of blue-chip prospect Brandt Clarke on the way next season, and youngster Jordan Spence arriving this season, Walker is set up to be the odd man out once the offseason hits this summer. Add in the fact Mikey Anderson’s contract extension begins in 2023-24, which will pay him $4.1 million annually, and the math isn’t adding up at all for Walker. Look for Blake and the Kings to work out a trade, and it likely could come at the NHL Entry Draft.