Player evaluation: Blake



This season: 71 games, 9 goals, 22 assists, minus-19 rating

Positives: At times this season, Blake was the Kings’ best defenseman. A slow start, mostly caused by his recovery from offseason hip surgery, gave way to a period of strong hockey, which Blake was unable to maintain, in part, because of other nagging injuries. When healthy, Blake remains a strong physical presence on a team that lacks physical defensemen.

Negatives: Not uncommon for 38-year-old players, Blake is injury-prone and slowing down. He didn’t come close to giving the Kings $6-million worth, but that contract was the Kings’ fault, not his. Still plays well in spurts, but might no longer have the energy to maintain it for an entire season.

Looking ahead: Despite some uncertain moments during the season, on both sides, it seems as though Blake would like to return to the Kings and that the Kings would like to sign him to a short-term contract, far below the $6 million he made in each of the last two seasons. Blake still has some value, particularly as the Kings attempt to work in a new, young crop of defensemen.

Contract situation: Unrestricted free agent.

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