Which Free Agent Defensemen Should The Kings Be Targeting?

Who the fuck is Mike Mottau? Read on to find out! (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The problem lazy bloggers (read: me*) who only really give a shit about one team run into is that I don't know a whole helluva lot about other teams. I mean, I know random people from NHL On the Fly and my brother's random screeds.  Usually I just fake it by looking at a picture of whatever player I'm talking about and then comparing them to some sort of animal, but occasionally I get stuck having to analyze people I haven't really seen.

*You know when they do that thing where they write "read: ____?"  Is that "read" present tense, as in, "You should read this as ___," or is it past tense, as in "You should have read that as ___?"  Meg and I argued about that for like an hour one time.  Then we went and had sex with our girlfriends (read: each other).

So, when I'm trying to decide which free agent defenseman the Kings should look at, how do I do that?  Generally, I rely on the person who knows the players the best: their coaches.  Now, we all know head coaches have their own personal biases and safety nets that make no rational sense, but you can get a general idea at what type of player someone is by looking at their ice time.  Besides, you'll feel like less of a schmuck than if you were to look up everyone's CORSI rating, their GA/60 ON/OFF, and their zone start when they sign with someone else the next day.

Before we do that, though, let's think about what type of player we're looking for.  The Kings lost these two players and these minutes from last year's team:

Player TOI PP TOI PK TOI GP
Sean O'Donnell 18:44 :04 3:01 78
Randy Jones 18:10 2:04 :41 48

 

So the Kings are lost their 4th and 5th defenseman based on minutes.  They lost their top penalty killer in Sean O'Donnell and their 4th power play defenseman* in Randy Jones.  The Kings are also without Matt Greene until at least October, and he was their 2nd penalty killer last year.  The Kings need someone who can skate with Jack Johnson and help him defensively, so we're looking for a top-4 guy.  They need someone on the penalty kill; Johnson and Doughty can both play it, but the Kings can't rely on them too heavily since they're already playing so much.  If this person can play the power play then great, but the Kings can probably fill that role internally with their plethora of defensive prospects.

*Doughty, Johnson, and then Stoll.

 

OK, now we know what we're looking for.  First, let's start by listing the free agents still left (thanks, Mirtle):

Player Age Former Team
TOI SHTOI PPTOI GP
Bergeron, M-A  29 MTL 15:03 :10 2:58 60
DiPenta, Joe   31 BUF AHL
Eriksson, Anders  35 NYR 14:29 :30 1:28 8
Exelby, Garnet   28 TOR 10:05 1:22 :02 51
Fitzpatrick, Rory   35 FLA AHL
Hnidy, Shane   34 MIN 13:32 :29 :43 70
Johnson, Aaron  27 EDM 19:40 1:47 1:47 19
Johnsson, Kim   34 CHI 16:24 :53 1:53 8
Jones, Randy   29 LAK 18:10 :41 2:04 48
Koistinen, Ville   28 FLA 7:50 :20 2:23 17
Krajicek, Lukas  27 PHI 16:58 :12 1:18 27
Lilja, Andreas   35 DET 14:08 1:24 0:00 20
Mara, Paul  30 MTL 18:43 2:10 1:39 42
McCarthy, Steve   29 ATL AHL
McKee, Jay   32 PIT 15:26 2:45 :02 62
Meyer, Freddy   29 NYI 16:46 1:51 :04 64
Mitchell, Willie   33 VAN 22:36 4:04 :11 48
Mottau, Mike   32 NJD 22:15 2:18 :37 79
Pothier, Brian  33 CAR 21:00 1:50 1:58 20
Popovic, Mark   27 ATL 14:47 1:50 0:00 37
Preissing, Tom   31 COL AHL
Schneider, Mathieu   41 PHO 20:49 :55 3:55 25
Schubert, Christoph   28 ATL 15:46 2:14 :04 47
Ward, Aaron   37 ANA 14:26 1:36 1:04 17
Witt, Brendan   35 NYI 15:14 2:16 1:58 42

 

Alright, let's cut it down a bit.  Let's get rid of the AHL guys, we know they're not going to cut it.  Let's also get rid of the guys who didn't at least play 20 games last season and the guys who didn't play 15 minutes a night too, because they're either injury-riddled or pine riders.  And c'mon, Davis Drewiske got at least 15 minutes a night last year; if you can't get that as a defenseman then you're pretty shitty (or you can and you're shitty and you're Davis Drewiske).  The only guy I'll leave in is Andreas Lilja since he came back from a concussion and I have a soft spot for him since he's so damn pretty.  We're left with:

Player Age Former Team TOI SHTOI PPTOI GP
Bergeron, M-A 29 MTL 15:03 :10 2:58 60
Hnidy, Shane  34 MIN 13:32 :29 :43 70
Johnsson, Kim  34 CHI 16:24 :53 1:53 8
Jones, Randy  29 LAK 18:10 :41 2:04 48
Krajicek, Lukas  27 PHI 16:58 :12 1:18 27
Lilja, Andreas  35 DET 14:08 1:24 0:00 20
Mara, Paul  30 MTL 18:43 2:10 1:39 42
McKee, Jay  32 PIT 15:26 2:45 :02 62
Meyer, Freddy  29 NYI 16:46 1:51 :04 64
Mitchell, Willie  33 VAN 22:36 4:04 :11 48
Mottau, Mike  32 NJD 22:15 2:18 :37 79
Pothier, Brian 33 CAR 21:00 1:50 1:58 20
Schneider, Mathieu  41 PHO 20:49 :55 3:55 25
Schubert, Christoph  28 ATL 15:46 2:14 :04 47
Witt, Brendan  35 NYI 15:14 2:16 1:58 42

 

OK, we're left with a pretty eclectic mix of play- wait, hold on:

Player Age Former Team TOI SHTOI PPTOI GP
Bergeron, M-A 29 MTL 15:03 :10 2:58 60
Hnidy, Shane  34 MIN 13:32 :29 :43 70
Johnsson, Kim  34 CHI 16:24 :53 1:53 8
Jones, Randy  29 LAK 18:10 :41 2:04 48
Krajicek, Lukas  27 PHI 16:58 :12 1:18 27
Lilja, Andreas  35 DET 14:08 1:24 0:00 20
Mara, Paul  30 MTL 18:43 2:10 1:39 42
McKee, Jay  32 PIT 15:26 2:45 :02 62
Meyer, Freddy  29 NYI 16:46 1:51 :04 64
Mitchell, Willie  33 VAN 22:36 4:04 :11 48
Mottau, Mike  32 NJD 22:15 2:18 :37 79
Pothier, Brian 33 CAR 21:00 1:50 1:58 20
Schneider, Mathieu  41 PHO 20:49 :55 3:55 25
Schubert, Christoph  28 ATL 15:46 2:14 :04 47
Witt, Brendan  35 NYI 15:14 2:16 1:58 42

 

OK, much better.  Looking at the list, two names popped out at me: Willie Mitchell and Mike Mottau. Now that we've narrowed down who we want to look at, how do we find out more about them?  Look them their stats, draw our own conclusions?  Pbbt, fuck that shit!  Why do the work when the other, legitimate bloggers of SBNation have already done all the work?  I'll go check out Nucks Misconduct and In Lou We Trust and then tell you what they think.

Pretty much everyone loves Willie Mitchell.  Mitchell is a prototypical defensive defenseman and I hope you know him because he's an amazing player.  Look at that penalty kill average: over 4 minutes a night!  He's the only defenseman in the league to crack 4 minutes a night last season.  Mitchell's coming off a concussion, though, and missed the 2nd half of last season.  If he's healthy, he'd be a fantastic pick-up for the Kings.  I think Mitchell's going to want to sign a one-year deal to prove he's still an effective player, though, and if I were him I'd be looking at a team that's more of a contender for that one year.  If we got him, though, I'd never stop jizzing cheering.

Oh, and Willie Mitchell once did this.  I guess he's the one who gave Jonathan Toews a pig nose.

Mike Mottau... I'm honestly not sure why he hasn't been signed yet.  He's a pretty effective player and actually led the New Jersey Devils in even strength time on ice last season; they were missing Paul Martin, obviously, but they still had a pretty good defensive core.  Mottau is left-handed but he played on the right side with Colin White last season and would fit well alongside Jack Johnson.  The guys from In Lou We Trust were kind of lukewarm on Mottau, which makes sense when you consider he doesn't do anything great and he's over 30.  Personally, I think Mottau is fairly underrated; he's just kind of there, but a defenseman who is just there is actually pretty valuable.  Why isn't he signed yet?  Is he Jewish or something?

So yeah, the Kings should sign one of those two.  Fuck, sign both of them.  Maybe someone else that can hold the fort until Greene gets back (Schneider, McKee or Witt?), but we can probably live with Drewiske and a prospect 'til then. 

Now that I've done all this, I look forward to welcoming Paul Mara as the newest addition to the Los Angeles Kings!

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