The Kings made some, uh, weird moves this trade deadline. While they arguably got better draft position, and only gave up Erik Cernak, they didn’t really improve besides at an area they already were pretty strong at. Peter Budaj, who relinquished his role as starter (after staring the year planning on splitting starts in the AHL with Jack Campbell) when Jonathan Quick returned, got shipped out despite filling in admirably for 53 games. But for Ben Bishop...hey, that’s an upgrade anyway you slice it.
Los Angeles also shipped out UFA to be, Dwight King. Understandably they wanted to get something for him. It was for a fourth round pick, in 2018. It was mild amounts of movement for a team that was leaning towards “sell”.
But this team has been lacking offensive firepower all year. Upgrading your backup goalie temporarily and ditching a bottom six forward doesn’t address that at all. But wait! They acquired a new forward. Jarome Iginla!
Iginla has been linked to L.A. for years now, with the hard on Dean Lombardi has for him, and with Darryl Sutter having coached him back when the Flames were an actually dangerous team. Had the Kings done this move back in, say, 2011 instead when they wound up acquiring Dustin Penner, or even in 2013, hey this makes a load of sense.
It’s been a long time coming though, and Iggy isn’t the same player from even last year when he potted 22 goals. He has 8 goals this year. 4 goals are at even strength. He’s still getting a good amount of 5v5 minutes, but he gets actual production from a load of power play time. This is while being part of a Colorado Avalanche team that’s been a garbage truck on fire crashing into a orphanage on fire level of awful.
There’s a chance Iginla reignites and scores a boatload of goals here near the end of the season to get back to the levels he was near just a season ago. 14 goals in under 20 games seems a bit much of a stretch, but weirder things have happened. I just wouldn’t count on it.
To start at least, Iggy will be playing alongside Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik. This is a slightly bigger role than he’s had in Colorado this season, so maybe he does click. He’s also 39, has spent a lot of time in the sin bin, and was given opportunities to play with Colorado’s better players while not posting much and then saw his role slip.
The whole idea reeks of last year’s Vincent Lecavalier experiment. Vinny had been falling down depth charts for a few years, and was barely a capable NHL center, let alone a top six one. His offensive instincts were still there, but a limited supporting role was where he was realistically at (i.e. 4C or a depth offensive winger). Iginla is certainly ringing of deja vu, and I think the Kings should be more realistic with him as well (depth offensive winger again).
For a team desperately needing an injection of offense though, it’s worth a shot. It’s just really questionable this shot does much, but here’s to hoping.
Prediction: Iginla scores a hat trick and we all lose our shit. Except the Kings lose 5-3.