Kings acquire 2024 second-round pick in exchange for defenseman Sean Durzi

Happy Saturday Insiders……we have a trade to announce.

The Los Angeles Kings acquired a 2024 second-round pick from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for defenseman Sean Durzi. The second-round pick is the original Montreal pick, acquired by the Coyotes in 2021 as part of the package traded for forward Christian Dvorak. The Kings picked up a second-round pick in next season’s draft, after moving their own pick in the deal with Philadelphia earlier this month, which saw the Kings move goaltender Cal Petersen and the defenseman Sean Walker at the Flyers. The Kings previously lost three picks in the 2024 draft, with their third-round pick included in the deal that acquired Vladislav Gavrikov and Joonas Korpisalo from Columbus and the fifth-round pick moved in exchange for forward Zack MacEwen. The Kings now have five selections in the 2024 NHL Draft as of this writing, including picks in each of the first two rounds.

Instant analysis
The LA Kings’ overhaul continues, as Durzi becomes the last member of the 2022-23 roster to be retired this offseason.

The premise of the deal seems simple enough. The Kings solidified their Top 4 earlier this month when they re-signed defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov to a two-year contract extension, locking up each of their top two defensive pairs for the 2023-24 season. The Kings also have two young right-handed defensemen ready for the NHL, Jordan Spence and Brandt Clarke. At the start of the offseason, right-handed defenders occupied the deepest position in the system. With Drew Doughty and Matt Roy under contract, RD1 and RD2 are stable with high-quality NHL talent and behind them were several near-NHL caliber players. The Kings are also now a salary cap team and every dollar counts. Both Spence and Clarke are carrying hits under $1 million this season and both seem ready, or at the very least deserving of the chance to prove they are ready, for a more regular role in the NHL. When you take all of these factors into consideration, the move sends a player who is a bit further along in his development, and as such earns more money, for a highly valued second-round draft pick, while also opening up a opportunity for at least one of Spence or Clarke at the NHL level. It also recovers a draft asset for a team that eliminated five or more third-round picks in the 2022, 2023 and 2024 NHL Drafts……or provides another strong asset that could be used in another trade.

On the other hand, the Kings are losing a unique and talented player in Durzi. It’s not a situation where the Kings didn’t like Sean Durzi. They certainly did, and he played along the stretch and in the playoffs compared to others who were available, because the Kings appreciated a lot of things he brought to the roster. He is, however, in the same mold as Spence and Clarke, as an offensively gifted right-handed defender. The Kings believe in both Clarke and Spence and this move indicates they believe either of those players can fill the role vacated by Durzi, likely indicating third pairing minutes and second play duty from power, for half the space against the salary cap. The move frees up just under $1 million in salary cap space for the Kings, who have yet to add a goaltender to the roster, with several RFAs to sign.

Durzi wasn’t a perfect player – he had the propensity to make a mistake that had the brightest spotlight on him, but he was also a dynamic puck thrower who could create an offense with his passing ability both forcefully equal and to the benefit of man. He was also a high character player who defended his teammates and although he was not a great player, he tried to bring physicality into his game. A stat that puts Durzi’s game in perspective – on a 1/60 base in a 5-on-5 game, he led all Kings defensemen in goals, assists, points and giveaways. Durzi is a good NHL player who can create offensively. He also had flaws in his game which led to goals against the other way.

From the team’s official release –

The Los Angeles Kings traded defenseman Sean Durzi to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Montreal’s second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft.

Durzi, 24, finished the 2022-23 season with 38 points (9-29=38) in 72 games and one goal in six playoff games. The 6-foot-0, 195-pound defenseman has played in 136 career NHL games, scoring 12 goals and 53 assists for 65 points and adding four points (2-2=4) in 13 playoff games. He also played 91 career games with the Ontario Reign, the Kings’ main affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL), where he tallied 50 points (11-39=50).

Durzi was acquired by the Kings in 2019 along with forward Carl Grundstrom and a 2019 first-round pick (defender Tobias Bjornfot) in exchange for defenseman Jake Muzzin from the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Mississauga, Ont., native was originally picked by the Leafs in the second round (52nd overall) of the 2018 NHL Draft.

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