After finding out that defenseman Willie Mitchell would likely be done for the rest of the year, the Los Angeles Kings were in need of another defenseman, preferably a rental. The Kings got just that tonight as they acquired blueliner Robyn Regehr from the Buffalo Sabresin exchange for a pair of second-round draft picks.
Having just completed the trade minutes ago, it’s unclear as of now when Regehr will make his debut with his new team but we can all safely expect him to be donning the silver-and-black this week.
Only a few days ago, I asked whether the Kings acquiring Regehr from the Sabres would be a good idea and it was answered with a unanimous (not to mention emphatic) “no”. It is fair to point out, however, that the negative response wasn’t because no one in Los Angeles wanted the veteran defenseman but instead because it was initially reported that the Sabres wanted rookie Tyler Toffoli and no Kings fan was willing to see Number 73 leave town. I (along with countless other Kings fans, I’m sure) had faith that (Kings GM) Dean Lombardi would make the right move and as we just saw, he did.
The 32-year-old Regehr had a no-movement clause in his contract but waived it in order to be traded to the Kings where he will be reunited with head coach Darryl Sutter whom he went to the Stanley Cup Final with in 2004.
In 29 games this season, Regehr has registered two assists, a -4 rating and 21 penalty minutes. Of course, if you’re disappointed in the veteran’s lack of offensive output, don’t be. Regehr is a defensive defenseman and has shown that throughout his career especially this season where he has dished out 65 hits and blocked 50 shots. He’s also logged a decent 18:39 of total ice time per game which gives Los Angeles’ other D-men a little more time to catch their breath.
Jay Bouwmeester’s name was also included in trade rumours to Los Angeles but as helpful as he could have been, the $6.8 million he is owed next season was just enough to make an acquisition feel like buyer’s remorse – something the Kings cannot possibly feel with Regehr who is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Speaking of Bouwmeester, he was traded to the St. Louis Blues only minutes after the Regehr deal was finalized.
While there is an outside possibility that the Kings will part ways with goaltender Jonathan Bernier or one of their struggling forwards, don’t hold your breath in anticipation of another deal before Wednesday’s deadline. Of course, anything is possible but as of right now, the Kings look good having just acquired a talented veteran defenseman without giving up much and without committing to anything extra financially beyond this season.
On paper, the Robyn Regehr acquisition is an ideal one. Now, we’ll have to see if what’s on paper translates to on-ice success. As of tonight, however, the Kings pulled off a great deal and look just about ready to go for another Stanley Cup run.