Originally, the trade was reported to include a conditional 2018 fourth-round pick heading west in exchange for King, with the condition that if he signed an extension with the Habs, the pick would become a third-round selection in 2018. Now, it has become known that there is another path that would allow that scenario:
The wording is a bit different from “contract extension,“ perhaps to cover a workaround that would see King sign a professional tryout with the Habs for next year rather than a standard player contract outright.
The success of the Habs in the post-season is also a factor in the transaction, as the Canadiens advancing to the Conference Final this spring will also result in the team giving up a third-rounder instead of the initial fourth.
Getting that far in the post-season would make that pick somewhere between 28th to 31st in the third round — 121st to 124th overall — so it would hold less value for the team. The same would also be true for the original fourth-round selection (going to somewhere in the #152 to #155 range), which is a less appealing return for the Kings, and hence the added condition.