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The NHL Entry Draft implications of a Dwight King extension

There’s more to this potential negotiation than just the player’s abilities.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Montreal Canadiens Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

After a busy trade deadline for the Montreal Canadiens, a look at the numbers and career peformances pointed toward Dwight King being the top acquisition among a group of depth additions.

The cost to acquire him suggested that Marcc Bergevin and his pro scouting staff felt the same way, as they exchanged a fourth-round pick in 2018 with the Los Angeles Kings in order to acquire him, with the possibility of that becoming a third-rounder if certain conditions were met.

The first condition to improve the draft choice was one Bergevin surely expected to be met: King playing in half of the Canadiens’ playoff games on the way to the Eastern Conference Final. Unfortunately for the Habs. they couldn’t even get out of the quarterfinal stage.

In the six games that were played, the expected performance from King was never displayed. A lack of physical engagement allowed the opposition to easily break any cycle attempts by what was deployed as a forechecking trio, and he and line were hemmed in their own zone unable to obtain the puck more often than not.

On a few occasions he found himself on the third, and even second line in an attempt to add some size and intimidation to open up space for more skilled players, but his footspeed always had him trailing the play and being more of a hindrance to the Habs’ offence than a help.

The status of the draft pick is still up in the air however, as the second condition simply requires King to be on the Canadiens’ reserve roster at some point between the official start of the 2017-18 season on July 1, and November 15. As long as King signs on with the organization — whether in the NHL or AHL — the Habs give up a higher pick than the original cost.

The question will be whether Bergevin believes not only if King is a player he wants on his 23-man NHL roster next season, but also whether his presence is worth the difference between a third-round selection and a fourth-round choice in next year’s draft. With those added considerations for finalizing the team for next year, the management staff would have to have been quite satisfied with King’s performance, and confident in his ability to help the team going forward.


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