LA Kings: Former first-round pick great fit for Winnipeg Jets

(Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)
(Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images) /

Former LA Kings first-round pick Derek Forbort has landed on his feet, signing on a one-year deal with the Winnipeg Jets.

Near the trade deadline last season, the LA Kings sent former first-round pick Derek Forbort to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2021. The draft selection had the opportunity to be elevated to a third-round pick in 2022 if a.) the Flames made it to the conference finals b.) if Calgary re-signed him.

Neither of those happened. And now the 28-year-old blueliner is reportedly signing with the Winnipeg Jets on a one-year, $1M deal.

The Kings hold seven picks in the first four rounds next season, as the organization has done a great job of acquiring draft capital through trading off veteran players. In the recent 2020 NHL Draft, the Kings had 11 picks entering draft day, but after trades, they came away with nine selections to bolster the future.

As for Forbort, the 28-year-old was limited by an offseason back injury and played in just 13 games before being traded. And then he played in seven with the Flames before the COVID pandemic shut everything down. He had just 1 assist combined last season.

He was the 15th overall pick in 2010 and never profiled to be a prolific scorer. Rather, he’s an enforcer in the defensive zone, accounting for 159 blocked shots and 180 hits during the 2016-2017 campaign. That year, he also logged a 0.1 OPS and 5.5 DPS.

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He has 6 career goals to his name, with 47 assists as well. As far as the fit with Winnipeg, Forbort will slot in nicely on the team’s third pairing, replacing Anthony Bitetto on the left side, who recently signed with the New York Rangers. Bitetto had 8 assists last year, but he lacks what Forbort brings in the shot-blocking department.

Good signing for Winnipeg here on an inexpensive deal.