The Los Angeles Kings have seemingly turned things around. Los Angeles fired head coach Todd McLellan after a rough slump leading into the NHL All-Star Game. So far, interim head coach Jim Hiller has overseen a run of six wins in their last eight games. As the NHL Trade Deadline nears, Los Angeles holds onto a playoff spot.

What is clearly evident is the team’s need for some sort of help. The Kings have stabilized for now, but what happens if the bottom falls out again? Of course, this team shouldn’t go crazy on the trade market. Their big-time move for Pierre-Luc Dubois has not worked out at this time. That should discourage them from an Earth-shaking move.

Although, it doesn’t matter even if they wanted to make a huge move. Los Angeles has next to nothing in terms of salary cap space. In fact, they currently have less than $2000 in available space, according to CapFriendly. They are projected to have less than $15K at the NHL Trade Deadline.

Los Angeles could certainly create a bit of cap space between now and then. However, they’d still need to great creative when trying to add to their roster. Let’s take a look at the dream NHL Trade Deadline scenario for the Kings with the league’s trade season nearing its conclusion.

Kings’ dream scenario

Los Angeles is fine on defense and in goal. Their goaltending has been quite the surprise this season, in fact. Starting goalie Cam Talbot has bounced back from a down season with the Ottawa Senators in 2022-23. And backup David Rittich has provided steady play when he gets on the ice.

However, the Kings have a major need in terms of forward depth. Los Angeles placed forward Carl Gundstrom on long-term injured reserve recently. Furthermore, veteran Viktor Arvidsson has hit IR after just four games back from an injury that kept him out until February 15.

So, Los Angeles has a simple dream scenario for the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline. They need to find some way to create cap space in order to add a winger. Preferably a winger who has some scoring touch. How the Kings create this cap space is up to them. They could place Arvidsson back on LTIR, for instance. All that matters is that they give themselves some breathing room.

San Jose Sharks left wing Anthony Duclair (10) reacts after scoring a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period at SAP Center at San Jose.
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Trade Deadline targets

Even with some added cap space, Los Angeles can’t go crazy. Simply put, they can’t acquire a Jake Guentzel or a Vladimir Tarasenko. They need to add a winger who can score some goals but isn’t making a huge amount of money. Luckily for them, the Kings have a few options.

One option comes from a Pacific Division rival. Edmonton Oilers winger Warren Foegele is currently having a career season. The veteran forward has tied his career high with 13 goals and is close to breaking his career high points total with 29. His $2.75 million cap hit can be broken down a bit more with the help of a third party broker. Foegele is a free agent at the end of the season.

Another option comes from a California rival. San Jose Sharks forward Alexander Barabanov is another pending free agent. However, he is having a bit of a down season. He has just nine points in 34 games this year. That said, the 26-year-old has a solid track record, having posted 32 points last year. Perhaps the Kings can help him rediscover his game.

Speaking of the Sharks, they have another potential target. Veteran forward Anthony Duclair has also struggled a little bit after a successful run with the Florida Panthers. That said, he made a run with Florida to the Stanley Cup Final last spring. And he has a track record that could lead teams to believe that a bounce back from Duclair is certainly possible.

Of course, all of these options likely require a third team to help make this work financially. In any event, adding one of these players could help the Kings with their push for the playoffs. If they can make something work, Los Angeles would certainly be much better off.