As training camp officially began Sunday morning at Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, a friendly, familiar face was on his way out the door. It’s a business, now back to it.
Talks within Kings’ brass have been nothing but aggressive, and it’s been no bluff. Here’s the deal: last season wasn’t enough.
Kevin Westgarth has been traded to the Carolina Hurricanes for Anthony Stewart and a pair of future draft selections. The Kings receive a fourth-round draft pick in 2013, and a sixth-round draft pick in 2014.
Anthony Stewart, the 25th overall selection in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Florida Panthers, didn’t make it to Florida’s roster until 2008, where he played just one season. Since then, Stewart was a member of what would be the final Atlanta Thrashers roster in history in 2010-2011, and then spent last season with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Stewart, a physical fourth-line forward, played 77 games with the Hurricanes last year, potting 20 points with nine goals and 11 assists. He tacked on 30 PIM and 92 hits to his stat-line.
If you’re going to make an early move, you couldn’t have made a safer acquisition that has so much upside to it than today’s gem pulled by Dean Lombardi.
Before anything further, it must be said the Kings lost quite possibly the strongest, most positive personality in their locker room today. Kevin Westgarth didn’t play a whole lot, he didn’t score a bunch, and often took it upon himself to protect the roster’s golden boys when he had the opportunity – and that’s not fun work.
Yet, he had one of the most positive attitudes on the roster. Westgarth was a treat for fans at practices in El Segundo, or during warmups at road games – always recognizing LA’s colors from a distance, and shooting you a head bump or a puck.
If you were to ever take a peek into the Kings’ locker-room, Westgarth’s voice was always well-heard. Even though he was arguably the least-skilled on the roster, and his playing-time was far from consistent, he was always speaking verses that implemented confidence and positivity.
And to note his involvement and importance off the ice, Kevin Westgarth represented the Kings in the NHL‘s CBA negotiations throughout the lockout.
On the ice, Westgarth played in a total of 90 regular season contests in a Kings uniform over the span of three separate seasons. In that time, the fourth-line enforcer dropped one goal, four assists, and 153 penalty minutes.
Kevin Westgarth was so in touch with fans, he spotted and overwhelmingly acknowledged a family from Manchester, New Hampshire that was attending a Kings practice in El Segundo last season, during a trip they made to watch their hometown prospects play in Kings uniforms.
Talk about a 3,000-mile trip being made worth-while.
Speaking of traveling…
Road Trippin‘: The NHL finalized their condensed schedules for each club Saturday, and they’re staying simple. The Kings, along with all other 29 clubs, will play the majority of their season against division opponents, and all contests within their own conference.
Even though the Kings open on home-ice at Staples Center, they’ll be skating away from Los Angeles for a heavy majority of the first third of the season. Out of the Kings’ first 15 games, only four are scheduled in home confines.
This, because of scheduling conflicts with the two NBA clubs Staples Center also hosts, and the Grammy Award Show - which annually chases the Kings, Lakers, and Clippers out of their home barn for the majority of February.
The Kings will see Pacific Division opponents for 18 of their 48 contests, and the remaining 30 will be dates with all other clubs in the Western Conference.
The full 2012-2013 Kings schedule can be seen here.
It’s all West this season, without Westgarth.
That was ugly as sh*t.
It’s crucial that Kevin Westgarth‘s career doesn’t end up like that of Raitis Ivanans.
Shit, if it does, he’s got a Princeton degree to his name. That’s got to be worth something.