The Montreal Canadiens are looking for a veteran right-handed defenseman, and according to an NHL source, the Los Angeles Kings may be looking to sell one; making them perfect business partners.
Montreal Hockey Now reported last month that the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens Kent Hughes was in the hunt for the right-handed defenseman who could bring a veteran presence into the locker room and help bring the youngsters who will rotate in and out of the lineup.
An NHL source familiar with the matter confirmed to Montreal Hockey Now that the Kings are currently looking to resolve their impasse on right defense and that could be an attractive proposition for the Montreal Canadiens, who are looking for veteran help on the blue line.
“They have a top 4 NHL RD playing in AHL,” the source said regarding the situation in Los Angeles. “They definitely have a surplus.
The Kings currently have a left-handed defenseman on their roster right now with injured Alex Edler, and that has created a balance issue within the organization. Due to the traffic jam on the right side, rookie Brandt Clarke and second Sean Durzi, two right-handed defensemen, are forced to play on the left side.
Additionally, the Kings have Jordan Spence and Helge Grans in the minors with Ontario reigning, the former likely being the 4-gauge defenseman in question who is stuck in the minors. Spence proved last season that he could hold his own in the NHL and is currently with the Reign due to his waiver exemption and fear of exposing any of their veterans to waivers.
But this blockage is not limited to this season.
Along with having Drew Doughty signed through 2029, the Kings also have Sean Walker and Matt Roy signed through the 2023-24 season, meaning there won’t be much room for players. like Spence or Grans to break the formation consistently in the immediate future, unless a term person is moved.
Enter the Montreal Canadiens.
It was confirmed that the Canadiens and the Kings had discussions prior to the NHL Trade Deadline last season, and I spent a lot of time scouting both the main roster and the Los Angeles farm team during that time.
With the Montreal Canadiens possessing the lowest NHL betting odds to make the Eastern Conference playoffs, don’t expect the club to go big game hunting here for one of Los Angeles’ top prospects. However, targeting a veteran like Sean Walker, who can provide that veteran presence on the right side of defense, would likely be more in GM Kent Hughes’ aisle; and that would be a big help for the Kings at the same time.
The Kings have seemingly finished rebuilding and will be looking to maximize the first years of Doughty, Fiala, Philip Danault and the perennial Anze Kopitar and may look to shed excess to bolster their last six and add secondary scoring and some playoff experience. The Canadiens currently have an excess of forwards and, if they can make the salaries work, they could be an attractive partner for the Los Angeles Kings, allowing both clubs to resolve their impasses conclusively.