Veteran forward Ethan Moreau is scheduled to complete a physical today, which would be the last hurdle before the Kings can make his 1-year contract official. The deal has been reported in various places at $600,000.
Moreau’s history suggests that passing a physical is no slam dunk.
3 p.m. update: Moreau has passed his physical and is expected to finalize the contract tomorrow.
The former Edmonton Oilers captain, who turns 35 on Sept. 22, never established a role for himself with the Columbus Blue Jackets last season because of three separate injuries. The first, on Oct. 20, came when Moreau was struck by a slapshot and broke his hand. That cost him 17 games. The second, on Jan. 4, came when he was diagnosed with rib cartilage damage after an on-ice collision. That cost him another 17 games. The third, on March 22, came when he blocked a shot and bruised his foot. That cost him the final nine games of the regular season.
On the surface, all three injuries seem to reflect poor luck rather than poor physique. But even if Moreau gets a clean bill of health, the cynic can argue it won’t matter – read Exhibit A here:
The optimism about Moreau sounds more than a bit out there in Columbus, where Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Post-Dispatch writes, “The Blue Jackets wanted to claim Moreau rather than let him become a free agent on Thursday, sources said, where he’d be seeking a two- or three-year contract. He is seen as a perfect compliment on the Blue Jackets’ third line with center Sammy Pahlsson. The Blue Jackets can certainly use his size, intensity and veteran presence in the dressing room.”
Bottom line: Moreau will be greatly defying the odds by staging a comeback season at his age with his injury history.
That was a year ago. Moreau’s final stats — 37 games, one goal, five assists, and a minus-9 rating — seemed to prove those early odds were correct.
Assuming he passes his physical, what are the odds of Moreau making a dent with the Kings?
Naturally, the answer will depend on his health. Here’s an excerpt of a story that ran in the Columbus Dispatch last season – after the rib injury, but before the foot injury:
Moreau has endured four shoulder surgeries, three on his left shoulder and one on his right. Both legs have been broken (tibia in the right, fibula in the left). He had surgeries on both hands (broken bone in the right, nerve damage in the left), suffered broken ribs, a torn groin muscle, and survived a scary stick-to-the-eye incident in February 2009 that could have ended his career.
There are others, Moreau hinted, but he wasn’t offering them up.
Asked how many stitches he has had, Moreau said, “At least over 100 in my face.”
Asked whether he has ever had a concussion, Moreau laughed and looked away. When the question was changed to diagnosed concussions, Moreau said, “Nope, none.”
One other Moreau factoid, courtesy of oilfans.com: There’s a Wayne Gretzky connection. Try to follow along …
The Kings sent Jimmy Carson to Edmonton in the Gretzky trade.
Carson was traded to Detroit in a multi-player deal that brought Joe Murphy to Edmonton.
Murphy was traded to Chicago for Igor Kravchuk and Dean McAmmond.
McAmmond was traded to Chicago in a mutli-player deal that brought Moreau to Edmonton.