With Jeff Carter moving to Los Angeles on Thursday evening, King's captain Dustin Brown has become the focus of trade speculation in the NHL.
The speculation largely comes from the thought that as former teammates with Philadelphia, Carter and Mike Richards are going to want to reunite on a line. Currently, Brown is Richards' right wing, and many experts think that spot is now reserved for Carter. There is a flaw in that theory however, they both play center and in Philadelphia they almost never played together.
But that doesn't mean that they couldn't play together, it just isn't a foregone conclusion.
Now, with Anze Kopitar, Richards and Carter the Kings are almost too deep at center. All three are top six forwards and they will have a hard time giving all three guys enough ice time without one of them moving to the wing.
Moving Brown may very well be the answer to their problems, but he is one of four forwards on the Kings who have contributed anything on offense this year. He is also the team captain. The Kings made the move to get Carter because their offense is woeful (league low 129 goals through 61 games) so turning around a shipping Brown out doesn't make much sense.
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But, Dustin Penner just got a whole lot more superfluous, which is hard for a guy who has just 19 points in 44 games and has missed time for a pancake related injury. The Kings have gotten basically nothing out of him since acquiring him from Edmonton at last year's deadline for Colten Teubert, a first round pick and a conditional second round pick.
Though they would get nowhere near that package for him right now, Penner is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, so the Kings need to move him now if they want to salvage anything from his tenure.
Brown is undoubtedly a better chip than Penner is, but if the reason for the Kings moving Brown is to free up space on the ice and under the cap as opposed to bringing in more assets then moving Penner serves the same purpose without hurting L.A. nearly as much.