Kings trade Alec Martinez to Golden Knights for more draft picks
Not even six years have passed since Alec Martinez sped down the left side of the ice, glided toward the back post, and tapped in the championship-clinching goal for the Kings in Game 5 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final.
Yet, with Martinez’s trade to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021 being made official Wednesday afternoon, only six members of the franchise’s most-recent title-winning squad remain with the team.
“Alec has been an important part of the organization for a number of years and was a key member of our Stanley Cup teams,” Kings general manager Rob Blake said in a release, parroting the same sentiment he offered about Kyle Clifford, Jack Campbell and Tyler Toffoli — all of whom were traded this month.
“We thank Marty for everything he’s done for our organization, our fans, and our community.”
Kings fans gathered in L.A. to watch the team’s Stadium Series game against the Colorado Avalanche. It’s been rough lately but they recall better years.
Two weeks ago, Blake said he wanted to add both picks and prospects ahead of the NHL’s Monday trade deadline. With four days remaining, the third-year GM has already acquired plenty of both.
After acquiring Vegas’ 2020 second-round pick and St. Louis’ 2021 second-round pick (which Vegas had previously traded for), the Kings have 20 draft selections over the next two years, including three second-round picks this summer. Their prospect pipeline, considered one of the NHL’s best at the beginning of the season, has also been bolstered by the addition of 20-year-old Tyler Madden through the trade Monday of Toffoli to Vancouver.
The Kings’ NHL roster is already trending younger, with six players age 25 or younger having played in at least 40 games this season. Their minor-league affiliate in Ontario is competing for an American Hockey League playoff spot with a team partially built around players under 21, including highly anticipated center prospects Gabe Vilardi and Jaret Anderson-Dolan.
To make room for the next wave, the Kings could make more deals in the coming days.
Jeff Carter, 35, is the most prominent player involved in trade rumors.
The alternate captain’s contract, which doesn’t expire for three more seasons, is worth a hefty $5.27 million in annual average value. For that reason, some have classified Carter as difficult to move.
But on Tuesday, Sportsnet (Canada) reporter Elliotte Friedman speculated that Philadelphia could be considering Carter, who was drafted by the Flyers and played there from 2005-11.
Carter has had a bounce-back year this season, tied for the team lead in goals (17) and tied for fourth in points (27). But he has a minus-21 rating and is far from the 30-plus goal scorer he once was.
Forward Trevor Lewis, 33, has served as a solid role player this season despite two stints on injured reserve. Defenseman Derek Forbort, 27, has appeared in only 10 games since recovering from a serious offseason back injury but has played top-pairing minutes at times in his career. Along with fellow defensemen Joakim Ryan and Ben Hutton, Lewis and Forbort will be unrestricted free agents on July 1.
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