Well, there you have it. The big move every Kings fan and their mother has been clamoring for since this ship started to go down a few weeks ago. The Kings swap Jack Johnson (the humanity!) and a 1st Round Pick (ugh), for sniper and Mike Richards drinking buddy Jeff Carter. Carter was acquired by the Blue Jackets this summer in exchange for Jakub Voracek, a 1st rounder and a 3rd rounder. Did the Kings a get a better deal than the Jackets did? Hard to say but the Kings add a piece they desperately needed.
I ran a quick poll on twitter the other day on whether fans would rather trade Johnson or Doughty. I know, lunacy, but there were a good number of Kings fans saying that Donuts should be the man to depart. It turned out about %60 felt Johnson should go, %30 felt Doughty should, and %10 were so enamored with both that they couldn’t stand the thought of either happening. Well, it happened.
Kings. Need. Goals. Jeff Carter has a history of scoring those things. He’s now reunited with his cohort Richards and hopefully will get some chemistry going. The Kings top-6 looks much sexier (not in a literal sense, although I’m sure some might feel that way) with Carter’s name in the fold. Carter can play the wing or center (like they need more of those). Carter is not a playmaker, he’s a GOAL SCORER. Have I mentioned the Kings need goals?
Losing Johnson isn’t good per se, however, he still had the ugliest plus/minus of all the Kings defenders (or players for that matter). Some will argue he was more physical than Doughty but the stats say other wise (Doughty has 21 more hits in 5 less games this season). And who can forget the famous Doughty hip-check? (The good one that connected with Taylor Hall, not the crappy one that missed Logan Couture and led to a goal-against in the playoffs last year. I digress.)
Despite Johnson’s departure, the Kings are deep at defense. This means Voynov gets a bigger role and Martinez is back as a regular. Does this look so bad?
Mitchell – Doughty
Scuderi – Voynov
Martinez – Greene
Not to me. Aside from that, the Kings have Muzzin, Deslauriers, Hickey, etc. waiting in the wings. Drewiske has NHL experience to be a fill-in and some other names that are a few seasons away are intriguing as well.
There goes Jack Johnson. He was just coming into his potential as a defenseman and the Kings will be on the brunt end of whatever that turns out to be. Johnson was having a good year, his best yet. Taking a guy who eats up his type of minutes in the situations he played in is a tough pill to swallow. Will it affect the play of the other guys? This is one of the best d-corps in the league and it would be the worst time of year to mess with that chemistry.
Will Carter click with the offense or will it be Marco Sturm/Dustin Penner all over again? Will we discover that L.A. is simply the Bermuda Triangle where goal-scorers go to die?! Will Carter and Richards reignite their boozerific ways and burn Manhattan Beach to the ground? (Short aside: I highly doubt that if the partying is that big a deal for these guys that they wouldn’t be doing it without each other. What, we’re supposed to believe when they’re split up they just sit at home like old school marms and darn their socks? Get real.)
The Kings give up another big draft pick. How will this affect the team down the road? Is the future being forsaken for the present?
Now that this has happened, what’s next for Lombardi? Does this one move make the team a playoff contender again? Does Lombardi add another experienced defenseman as a #7? Does he find a 3rd line guy who can maybe pot a few goals as well? Will Lombardi have to implement “Dry Island 2″? Will Rocky be able to save Bullwinkle from the evil clutches of Boris and Natasha?!
More importantly, what will become of the Columbus “Village of the Damned” contingent?
About the Author
Written by Eric Cooney
Eric Cooney was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina, and lives in Los Angeles, CA. He shares his thoughts on the NHL as one man who is a northerner, southerner, east coaster, and west coaster. Follow him on Twitter @EricCooney