After a bunch of small, analytically savvy moves to kick off the deadline, Marc Bergevin has continued his trend of adding size and sand paper to the Canadiens. In return the Kings get a conditional fourth round pick in 2018, so there isn’t a major loss happening in this trade right now.
There were many rumblings early this morning that the Habs were looking to add a bit more size at the deadline, King certainly fits that bill at 6’4’’ and 232lbs.
At first glance it looks like King will be a highly useful player for the Canadiens fourth line, and with eight goals and seven assists he can hopefully prop up a group that has had difficulty scoring recently. Coming in at 50.2% CF he’s an average possession player, which is about all you can ask from a fourth line player.
A quick glance at his numbers with his various linemates, shows they’re often better with him off their line than with him there. However, it’s highly unlikely that King would be slotted into the Habs top line like he was at some points during his tenure in LA.
Montreal adds another depth forward for some reason. LA turns a bottom 6 pending free agent into a draft pick. pic.twitter.com/HzRg9yGAEm— Matt Cane (@Cane_Matt) March 1, 2017
Of concern here is that King doesn’t seem to drive play, and on a Kings team that generates shots at a decent clip, he was the lowest producer on his team. This isn’t exactly what Montreal is looking for, as they need scoring help in their top six.
In LA he played up and down their line up this year, but will be best suited to eating minutes against bottom line competition. What is unclear now is what the Habs are planning to do with the glut of fourth line players occupying their roster right now, Michael McCarron can be demoted to the AHL, but that still leaves Steve Ott, Torrey Mitchell, Brian Flynn and Sven Andrighetto battling for spots.
In terms of special teams King was one of LA’s most used forwards on their penalty kill, a unit that ranks top five in the NHL at 84.1%. Under Claude Julien the Habs have seen their PK become much more consistent, but adding in another major piece in King could help bolster that for a late season run. It’s also another body in case of injuries. There’s no guarantee he’ll be in a regular spot, but having an experienced veteran ready to step in during pressure situations is a good problem to have.
King brings a massive amount of playoff experience to Montreal, as he was a part of both of Los Angeles Stanley Cup victories in 2012 and 2014. Marc Bergevin has always valued experience and having seen LA’s dominance during his time in Chicago it’s not surprising he went after a piece of their team. Along with Andrew Shaw, Bergevin has bolstered the roster with Stanley Cup champions, if he wanted to change the character of the franchise, and bring a winning mentality then that has been accomplished with this deal.
So in the end of it all, Montreal ships out a future draft pick for a solid penalty killing forward, who can chip in the odd goal from the fourth line. Much like the Ott deal it’s not a backbreaker by any means, it’s just another trade that doesn’t fully address the actual flaws facing Montreal right now.
With this signing the Canadiens have about $2.5 million left in cap space at the deadline. With rumours swirling around Radim Vrbata, and Matt Duchene it’s clear that Bergevin has a few moves left up his sleeves before 3 p.m.