Photo: Los Angeles Times
After the Washington Capitals put forward Devante Smith-Pelly on waivers on Wednesday, TSN insider Bob McKenzie reported that the team could have a deal in place to acquire veteran forward depth from the Los Angeles Kings. He also stated that the deal cannot occur until Smith-Pelly’s fate is sealed tomorrow at 12 PM ET. Smith-Pelly will either be with another NHL team if he is claimed on waivers or the Hershey Bears if he clears.
There is a lot of speculation the deal may be with LAK, maybe for a veteran depth F. Lots of possibilities: Carl Hagelin is UFA at end of season but carries $3.5M cap hit. Trevor Lewis and Kyle Clifford each have a year left after this season, Lewis at $2M and Clifford at $1.6M.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 20, 2019
Entering Wednesday, the Kings’ 52 points this season are last in the Western Conference and 30th in the NHL, only ahead of the Ottawa Senators’ 49. They have four expiring contracts among their forward group in the next two seasons: left winger Carl Hagelin (this season), winger Tyler Toffoli (next season), winger Trevor Lewis (next season), and left winger Kyle Clifford (next season).
Hagelin, 30, was acquired in a trade that sent forward Tanner Pearson to the Pittsburgh Penguins in November. In 38 games this season, Hagelin has only two goals, eight points, and an even rating, including only one goal, five points, and a -2 rating in 22 games with the Kings. In 526 career games with the Kings, Penguins, Anaheim Ducks, and New York Rangers, he has 90 goals, 230 points, and a +83 rating. His team has played the Capitals in every postseason that Washington has made the playoffs since he entered the league in 2011-12. He was on both of the Penguins teams that won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. Hagelin carries a cap hit of $3.75 million.
Toffoli, 26, has 12 goals, 27 points, and a -8 rating in 59 games this season and 120 goals, 249 points, and a +91 rating in 434 career NHL games, all with the Kings. He has at least 23 goals and 47 points, respectively, in each of the seasons where he has played in at least 70 games since 2014-15. Toffoli carries a cap hit of $4.6 million. He was also a key contributor in their 2014 Stanley Cup run, when he posted seven goals and 14 points in 26 games.
Lewis, 32, missed three months with a broken foot earlier this season and has two goals, five points, and a -7 rating in 21 games. In 595 career NHL games, all with Los Angeles, he has 63 goals, 144 points, and a -34 rating, including a career-high 14 goals and 26 points set in 68 games last season. Lewis was on both of the Kings’ championship teams in 2012, when he posted three goals and nine points in 20 playoff games, and 2014, when he recorded four goals and five points in 26 postseason games. He has a cap hit of $2 million.
Clifford, 28, has been known as a grinder throughout his NHL career and leads the Kings with 41 penalty minutes this season. In 49 games in 2018-19, he has seven goals, 13 points, and a team-high +6 rating. Though he was also on both of the Kings’ championship teams, Clifford’s seven goals this season is currently tied with his career-high and his 13 points are only two behind his career-high in points. Acquiring Clifford would not make any sense for the Capitals as they already have a tough guy who can produce in forward Tom Wilson.
The Capitals were about to place forward Dmitrij Jaskin on waivers today but did not do so as he could be involved in a potential trade. Since Smith-Pelly’s $1 million cap hit comes off the books, the team would have $1,978,820 remaining in cap space but would still likely have to trade a player to accomodate an acquisition. In addition to Jaskin, forward Andre Burakovsky has been involved in trade rumors all season long as he can become a restricted free agent on July 1 and would require a qualifying offer of at least $3.25 million, a hefty price for seven-goal, 17-point scorer.
The Capitals have until Monday at 3 PM ET to make a deal with the Kings and/or anybody else that they wish to deal with before the NHL Trade Deadline. Stay tuned.
By Harrison Brown