If this season has proven anything, it’s that enforcers are still a necessary part of today’s game – Kurtis MacDermid of the LA Kings would be a great fit for the New York Rangers.
As we head toward the offseason, which will feature the NHL Draft, Expansion Draft, and Free Agent Frenzy, we can expect some trades to be made as well. The LA Kings and NY Rangers could once again hook up in a deal that could help both clubs.
Kurtis MacDermid was not exactly the most popular player this season among the LA Kings fanbase – at least not on Twitter. His defensive struggles have been well documented and analyzed. Many (including myself at times) have bemoaned the fact that he was in the lineup over guys like Tobias Bjornfot, Austin Strand, and Kale Clague.
There is a method to the madness.
MacDermid brings something that those three do not, and that would be a deterrent to cheap shots or any other shenanigans from tough guys or instigators. Take a cheap shot at Anze Kopitar or any of the other Kings, and you will most certainly answer to Mr. MacDermid.
Fortunately, a cheap shot against the LA Kings players requiring an answer from MacDermid is a rare occasion. Yes, there is even more emphasis in today’s NHL on speed and skill than ever before, but the fact of the matter is, hockey at its core, is a physical and sometimes violent sport. A guy like Kurtis MacDermid on your team is a great deterrent against cheap shots – the opposing team certainly has second thoughts about it when No. 56 steps on the ice.
As valuable as a deterrent as MacDermid is, the LA Kings roster is expected to look very different next season. General Manager Rob Blake, it seems, will be a busy man this offseason and will be open to making deals. While it wouldn’t be a franchise-altering deal by any stretch of the imagination, Blake and Rangers GM Chris Drury should talk a deal for MacDermid.
Let’s face it. The New York Rangers are in desperate need of an enforcer. The Tom Wilson incident on May 3rd highlighted that need, but Wilson isn’t the only physically aggressive player they’ll face and need to match up against if they plan on rising to the top of the Eastern Conference.
The Islanders have Matt Martin and Russ Johnston, the Penguins have Brandon Tanev, the Lightning have Pat Maroon, and the Capitals have more than Tom Wilson to contend with. None of these players are as over the top as Wilson is, but they still bring a physical element that must be dealt with – especially come playoff time.
He isn’t the only “tough guy” in the league, so why should the Rangers trade for Kurtis MacDermid specifically? The answer is quite simple – as a defenseman, MacDermid would join one of the strengths of the Blueshirts.
The NY Rangers have a very impressive group of defensemen. Led by Adam Fox and Jacob Trouba, and they also have promising youngsters K’Andre Miller and Ryan Lindgren, with Nils Lundkvist on the way. The Rangers can afford to add in MacDermid with such a strong group – even with his defensive liabilities.
The Rangers could pair MacDermid up with just about any of their defensemen and not lose a lot defensively. The beauty of this is what they would lose in that department would be made up by filling an intangible void that needs to be addressed.
What would the LA Kings be able to get in return?
Realistically, they could expect a lower-round draft pick, which would be fine given the draft luck the team has recently had in the lower rounds. LA has some promising young defensemen of their own they need to make room for, so moving MacDermid makes sense. Sure, the Kings would be losing an enforcer, but they still have former Ranger Brendan Lemieux and also Boko Imama waiting in the wings.
With MacDermid signed for next season at only $875,000, he would be a very affordable option for the NY Rangers to get some grit into their lineup. The salary cap will remain flat once again, and that should be reason enough for Rob Blake and Chris Drury to have a conversation about Kurtis MacDermid.