January 15, 2018 | 11:09am ET



Drew Doughty, defenceman


The Los Angeles Kings, currently third in the Pacific Division behind the Vegas Golden Knights and Calgary Flames, though they have two games in hand of Calgary, are beginning to explore their options with the trade deadline six weeks away.

One of the areas the team would like to bolster is its blueline. With centre Jeff Carter expected to return to the lineup next month, the Kings will receive a big boost in the offensive category, which might lead them to focus primarily on adding a defenceman before the Feb. 26 deadline.

Kings GM Rob Blake and his staff are evaluating options, though it’s unclear if they have specifically pinpointed and begun to pursue one or two of them.

Detroit Red Wings defenceman Mike Green, Vancouver Canucks rearguard Erik Gudbranson, Buffalo Sabres blueliners Josh Gorges and Zach Bogosian, currently injured, and Arizona Coyotes defencemen Jason Demers and Niklas Hjalmarsson are among those believed to be available.

Green, who has a full no-trade clause, Gudbranson and Gorges, who owns a 15-team trade list, can all become unrestricted free agents July 1.

Hjalmarsson has a 10-team trade list and Demers owns an eight-team no-trade list.

[View a full list of players with a NTC/NMC]

Some speculation suggests the Kings are interested in Green and Bogosian, who does not own any no-trade protection. The team has a flexibility of playing Alec Martinez at either the left or right position, so the team is not overly concerned with the position of the defenceman they might acquire.

On Friday, it was reported the veteran blueliner and former King Jack Johnson of the Columbus Blue Jackets had asked the team for a trade, but sources close to the organization suggest he may not be a fit for Los Angeles.