Update: the Kings acquired Fredrik Modin right before the deadline. Analysis of what that move means is below the stuff about Halpern. Also, line combos! I'm obsessed.
The Kings have acquired Jeff Halpern in exchange for Ted Purcell and a 3rd rounder they had from Florida. I shot an e-mail to Cassie from Raw Charge to ask about Halpern, and unlike most other women she actually responded to it. Here's what she said:
Halpern's a solid center. He won't be flashy, and he may not score a lot of goals, but he's a fantastic leader on and off of the ice. And he's a good faceoff guy. He's an American from Maryland who went to Princeton University, and is one of the few Jewish players in the league, if that matters. He was also captain for a while for the Washington Capitals.
Halpern was playing about 16 minutes a game for the Lightning, basically serving as their Jarret Stoll. That's actually a pretty good comparison; Halpern is kind of like Jarret Stoll, except worse and older. That's not a bad thing to have on the 4th line. The move helps the Kings solidify their bottom-six and gives them another veteran voice in the locker room. Halpern isn't going to be the reason the Kings win in the playoffs, but he's not going to be the reason they lose.
The acquisition of Jeff Halpern gives the Kings a few more options with their forwards. As of right now it looks like the line of Alexander Frolov-Michal Handzus-Jarret Stoll will be together for a while (or at least they will be if they create 2 goals like they did last night), so the Kings needed another center to replace Stoll. Enter Jeff Halpern. Halpern can either replace Brad Richardson on the third line or he can replace Marc-Andre Cliche on the 4th. I think we'll see Terry Murray stick with Brad Richardson on the third line for a while but he won't be afraid to mix and match depending on how the Kings are doing; if they're ahead, Halpern will get more ice time and if they're behind, it'll be Richardson. Or they can move Clune off the third line and roll a Richardson-Halpern-Meat Train line. Actually, that probably looks the best. Do that.
In the end, Jeff Halpern isn't the sexy pick but he's a good player that can fill many roles. He can play on the power play (although we won't need him), he can play on the penalty kill, and he can lead in the locker room. He's not the hero we want, but he's the hero we need. Am I saying Halpern is Batman? Yes. He is Batman.
Also here's hoping he lights Jonas Hiller up the next time we play Anaheim, then kisses the Star of David around his neck and starts crying unctrollably.
Update: the Kings have also acquired Fredrik Modin from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a conditional 7th rounder. Modin is a formerly good player that has been beset by injuries. He is also an assistant captain on the Jackets. Players of his ilk are like catnip to Dean Lombardi so it's no surprise the Kings picked him up. Modin is a left winger, is defensively responsible, and has a pretty terrific slap shot. He's another depth player that can provide a little scoring punch for the Kings and hopefully give the top players a little rest down the stretch. Assuming he stays healthy, which is not exactly a sure thing at this point.
The Kings now have the following forwards to mix and match (some players listed twice if they can play more than one position):
Left Wingers: Ryan Smyth, Alexander Frolov, Fredrik Modin, Richard Clune, Oscar Moller, Brad Richardson, Raitis Ivanans (7)
Centers: Anze Kopitar, Michal Handzus, Jarret Stoll, Brad Richardson, Jeff Halpern, Oscar Moller, Marc-Andre Cliche (7)
Right Wingers: Dustin Brown, Wayne Simmonds, Justin Williams (assuming health), Jarret Stoll, Richard Clune, Peter Harrold (6)
How do the Kings organize all this? I have no idea. Terry Murray has a lot of toys to play with right now. Best I can come up with right now:
Should be an interesting game tomorrow.