By Pierre LeBrun, Eric Stephens and Charlie O’Connor
The Los Angeles Kings have acquired middle Zack MacEwen from the Philadelphia Flyers for ahead Brendan Lemieux and a 2024 fifth-round draft decide, a league supply informed The Athletic. Here’s what it is advisable know:
- MacEwen has 4 targets and 5 assists by 46 video games performed this season.
- Lemieux has three assists by 27 video games performed this season.
- The Kings are 35-20-8, sitting in second place within the Pacific Division. The Flyers (23-28-11) are in seventh place within the Metropolitan Division.
The Athletic’s prompt evaluation:
Why the Kings made the deal
This small transfer by the Kings appears to be extra about carving out a bit extra cap room to place themselves for one more commerce earlier than the deadline. Lemieux, who missed time attributable to a lower-body harm, had been overtaken as a lineup possibility by Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Carl Grundstrom’s return from harm as one other part-timer for coach Todd McLellan basically sealed his destiny.
While it’s extra of a player-for-player “hockey trade” on the floor, the commerce of Lemieux’s $1.35 million cap hit for MacEwen’s $925,000 provides common supervisor Rob Blake one other $425,000 to work with. Blake’s capacity to maneuver Jonathan Quick and his $5.8 million cap quantity with none wage retention created a cushion he didn’t have all season as including Vladislav Gavrikov and Joonas Korpisalo nonetheless left him with $1.7 million within the optimistic. MacEwen might be depth and maybe nothing extra. Or possibly a serviceable larger physique if he’s wanted. — Stephens
Are the Kings carried out making strikes?
Not essentially. Another space Blake might additional strengthen the membership is by including one other confirmed bottom-six middle. Blake Lizotte has carried out an admirable job centering the third line as Quinton Byfield was moved to the wing on Anze Kopitar’s line. Rasmus Kupari has emerged as an efficient penalty killer, however the 22-year-old has had combined leads to five-on-five play within the 4C position. Blake might look to improve there and push Lizotte again to the fourth line, the place he’s typically terrific.
After buying and selling Quick, Blake mentioned he was focusing on depth in several areas as different potential strikes. “But, again, it has to be the right fit and it has to allow us to get better,” he mentioned.
Being 11 factors away from Calgary within the ninth-place spot within the Western Conference permits him to solid a watch on boosting his membership additional for the playoffs relatively than simply pushing to get in. — Stephens
MacEwen’s time with the Flyers ends
The Flyers have introduced that they’re open for enterprise, and meaning promoting any items not seen as “part of the future” for belongings. MacEwen, whereas solely 26 years outdated, was not seen as a future piece — extra of a depth ahead at greatest. So out he goes, for a package deal centered by a fifth-round decide. MacEwen has been out for over a month attributable to a damaged jaw suffered in a combat with Marcus Foligno, however he’s been training with the membership for a couple of week and was formally faraway from IR on Friday morning. Just hours later, he’ll go away Philadelphia for Los Angeles. — O’Connor
Lemieux’s future in Philadelphia
And then, there’s the participant in Lemieux, who will slide proper into MacEwen’s vacated spot on the depth chart. Given his physicality, he definitely matches the John Tortorella “tough to play against” mandate, and presumably, he’ll get an extended look over the ultimate 20 video games of the season for the Flyers. But as a pending UFA, the Flyers aren’t dedicated to him past that. The fifth-round decide is the important thing to this deal, with Lemieux being extra of a “why not give him a shot?” sort of addition. — O’Connor
MacEwen was picked up by the Flyers off waivers in 2021 after three seasons with Vancouver. He’s tallied 27 factors (13 targets, 14 assists) by 176 profession video games.
Lemieux joined the Kings in 2021 by way of commerce by the Rangers, the place he spent two-plus seasons after beginning his NHL profession with the Jets. He has 63 factors (31 targets, 32 assists) in 257 profession video games performed.
The commerce deadline is Friday at 3 p.m. ET: Follow right here for reside updates.
(Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea / USA Today)