Ellerby can subdue D’s alibiy
Activity in the Kings’ front office is in full-swing.
Friday’s move pulled by Dean Lombardi unclogs an overpopulation of players in the organization at the centerman position, and gives a much-needed solid body to this roster’s terribly beleaguered defense.
The Kings have acquired defenseman Keaton Ellerby from the Florida Panthers in exchange for a fifth-round draft selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Ellerby, who stands at a height of 6’4″ and weighs in at 220 lbs, provides some much needed size and stay-at-home presence that was lost in the Kings’ defensive scheme earlier this season.
Injuries to Matt Greene (out indefinitely) and Willie Mitchell (cleared by doctors but still questionable on all accounts) have left some holes in the Kings’ back-end that are certainly hampering defensive strength. It boils down to the plays and contributions that may not stand out when being a spectator.
Both Greene and Mitchell were shot-block hounds, combining for 251 stunted opportunities off the sticks of opposing players last season. They were also both staples on the Kings’ penalty-killing unit. This team is missing big bodies in the defensive zone, those which can log grueling minutes and clog the defensive zone.
With Keaton Ellerby, the Kings have added a player that can help subdue the loss of the two injured big-bodies.
Andrew Campbell, who had been called-up from the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs, will remain with the Kings’ affiliate with Ellerby’s addition.
What may be most impressive is how Dean Lombardi materialized this trade. Lombardi pulled the first trigger Wednesday, dealing the disgruntled Andrei Loktionov to the New Jersey Devils for a 5th-round pick in this upcoming summer’s 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
Ellerby was then a healthy scratch in the Panthers’ contest against the Winnipeg Jets Thursday night. This hints that Dean Lombardi already had the trade in the works – if not internally finalized. Ellerby had played in all of Florida’s prior nine contests this season.
So, in turn, Lombardi flipped the fifth-round draft pick he received for Andrei Loktionov, and used it to acquire a player that fills a role that the Kings are suddenly, and sorely weak at.
Now that’s a work of art from a General Manager. Let’s see if this roster can benefit from the move.
Keaton for a beatin’
Keaton Ellerby is expected to join the roster today for practice in Detroit, Michigan in preparation for the Kings’ date with the Detroit Red Wings Sunday at Joe Louis Arena.
It’ll be a matinee affair in Hockeytown, so the puck will drop over eggs and coffee in Southern California, slating a 9:30AM start. We’ll have some pre-game notes here at KingsCast prior to tomorrow’s contest.