The NHL’s trade deadline is at noon Monday (Pacific time). Last year, Kings general manager Dean Lombardi pulled off a major move to get veteran winger Marian Gaborik from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Gaborik scored a team-leading 14 goals during the playoffs, helping to guide the Kings to their second Stanley Cup championship in three seasons. Can Lombardi swing another deal that will benefit the struggling club? There was a rumor early Monday that the Kings would attempt to deal suspended defenseman Slava Voynov, but that was shot down quickly.
Last week, Lombardi acquired puck-moving defenseman Andrej Sekera from the Carolina Hurricanes for a draft pick and a prospect, a move designed to fill a void created when Voynov was suspended indefinitely Oct. 20 by the NHL over a domestic violence charge at his Redondo Beach home. The addition of Sekera means the Kings are prepared to move on without Voynov.
Andrej Sekera, the newest member of the Kings’ defense corps, made his debut Friday against the Ducks at the Honda Center. It was all but lost in the Kings’ 4-2 defeat to the Ducks, but Sekera was scoreless in 21 minutes, 32 seconds. He did not record a shot on goal and was on the ice for Ryan Kesler’s goal for the Ducks. He also was on the ice for a second-period shift that lasted an astounding 3:41 as the Ducks pressured the Kings and kept them hemmed in their own zone.
Sekera played alongside Robyn Regehr, reuniting with his frequent defense partner when both were with the Buffalo Sabres. The Kings acquired Sekera on Wednesday from the Carolina Hurricanes, giving up a conditional draft pick and a prospect in order to gain speed, skill and depth on defense with Alec Martinez sidelined by a concussion and Slava Voynov suspended indefinitely by the NHL because of a domestic violence incident in his Redondo Beach home Oct. 20.
The Kings assigned defenseman Derek Forbort to their American Hockey League team in Manchester, N.H., on Friday. Forbort did not play in a game for the Kings, but was used in case of emergency, what with Alec Martinez sidelined indefinitely by a concussion and Slava Voynov suspended indefinitely by the NHL because of a domestic violence charge.
The Kings on Wednesday afternoon acquired the puck-moving, offensive-minded defenseman they’ve lacked since Slava Voynov was suspended indefinitely by the NHL over a domestic violence charge involving his wife in October.
They gave up a prospect and a draft pick in order to get Andrej Sekera from the Carolina Hurricanes, another bold move by Kings general manager Dean Lombardi in a week that’s already seen two players signing long-term contract extensions.
Sekera had 19 points, including 17 assists, in 57 games for the Hurricanes this season. He has 155 points in 470 career games in the NHL, playing the most recent 131 contests with the Hurricanes. He also played with the Buffalo Sabres during a nine-year career.
To get Sekera, a 28-year-old Slovak, the Kings sent prospect Roland McKeown and a conditional draft pick to Carolina. McKeown, 19, was the Kings’ second-round pick (50th overall) in the 2014 draft. The pick was acquired in the deal that sent Linden Vey to Vancouver.
Tuesday, Lombardi signed physical forward Kyle Clifford to a five-season contract extension worth an average of $1.6 million. Monday, Lombardi signed another hard-nosed forward, Jordan Nolan, to a three-season extension worth an average of $950,000.
Lombardi was scheduled to speak with reporters later this afternoon.
Damien Cox of Canada’s sportsnet.ca, one of the best in the business, offers a few thoughts about the state of the Kings leading into the March 2 trade deadline. It’s worth a look. Here’s the link: http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/deadline-decisions-can-kings-afford-to-boost-blueline/
Defenseman Derek Forbort was supposed to join the Kings in time for Monday’s game against the Blue Jackets, and perhaps make his NHL debut in place of an ill Robyn Regehr. Instead, Forbort spent part of his day sitting on an airplane on the tarmac at Logan Airport in Boston.
Forbort watched the snow fall and fall and fall some more. The plane returned to the gate after 90 minutes and his flight was canceled. Instead of skating with the Kings, Forbort returned reluctantly by taxi to Manchester, N.H., home of their American Hockey League team.
“I was about to drive (to Columbus),” he joked.
Forbort finally joined the Kings on Wednesday, recalled from Manchester. There was no snow in El Segundo as the temperature soared past 80 degrees. Forbort said he wore jeans and a long-sleeved T-Shirt and felt “overdressed” because of the warm weather.
The Kings summoned Forbort because their defense corps is depleted. Alec Martinez has a concussion, Robyn Regehr has a lingering illness and Slava Voynov continues to serve an indefinite NHL suspension stemming from a domestic violence charge. Voynov’s trial is set for March 2.
The Kings on Saturday recalled defenseman Jeff Schultz from Manchester of the American Hockey League after re-assigning him there earlier in the week. The Kings are shorthanded in their defense corps because of the NHL’s indefinite suspension of Slava Voynov because of a domestic violence charge and also because of a hand injury to Robyn Regehr that’s expected to sideline him for up to three weeks.
Kings defenseman Slava Voynov will stand trial in domestic violence charges. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Kings defenseman Slava Voynov is scheduled to be arraigned in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday in Torrance on charges of domestic violence stemming from an Oct. 19 incident at his Redondo Beach home. Voynov was suspended indefinitely with pay by the NHL on Oct. 20. He is free to skate on his own and use the Kings’ training facility in El Segundo. He is able to speak with teammates and the coaching staff as they pass in the hallway and the locker room.
It’s safe to say the Kings miss the 24-year-old Russian on the ice. He is certainly not out of sight or out of mind, as far as the KIngs are concerned.
“I don’t see how we couldn’t miss Slava,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said after the team’s morning skate Saturday. “Slava is ne of the best defensemen on our team and in our conference. He’s a great player. Obviously, we miss him a little bit, but I think other guys have done a great job of stepping up and not trying to replace him but playing in his spot for right now. Guys have done good job.
“I think our ‘D’ corps has played pretty solid this year. We’ve had our ups and downs, but so has our whole team.”
Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr suffered an unspecified upper-body injury during their 6-4 victory Thursday over the St. Louis Blues and could not finish the game. It wasn’t immediately clear how serious the injury was or whether Regehr could play in Saturday afternoon’s game against the Arizona Coyotes at Staples Center.
One thing was for sure, however. The Kings cannot afford to lose another veteran defenseman for a prolonged period. They have been without Slava Voynov since Oct. 20, when he was suspended by the NHL because of a domestic violence arrest. Voynov was ordered to stand trial in the case earlier this week.
Regehr has been sidelined for three games already this season because of an undisclosed injury. Alec Martinez sat out seven games because of an upper-body injury and Jake Muzzin missed six games because of an upper-body injury.