|King has 4 goals, 9 points, and 185 penalty mins |
in 101 NHL games
At this time last year, General Manager George McPhee had to answer question after question about the overall toughness of the Caps. With Donald Brashear leaving for the New York Rangers, the Capitals didn’t have an enforcer to “protect” their superstars. McPhee stated that the team didn’t intend to sign a replacement for Brashear, that “team toughness” would take over. His logic was that if other teams wanted to run around and try to intimidate them, the Caps would just kill them on the power play, which it pretty much exactly what happened.
It appears the Caps are taking a different approach this season, as they traded prospect Stefan Della Rovere to the St. Louis Blues for notorious heavyweight D.J. King. This was shocking to most of the Caps community and the NHL community in general. McPhee had committed to a Detroit Red Wings approach, and it is pretty well understood that at 6’2 and 235 lbs, Alex Ovechkin doesn’t need protecting.
There is also some controversy surrounding who the Caps gave up in the trade. Stefan Della Rovere, the Caps’ 7th round pick in the 2008 draft, won a silver medal with Team Canada in the World Junior Championships this year. He was the captain of the OHL’s Barrie Colts. He is regarded by some as a top prospect of the organization, and many are upset that the Capitals would give his talent away for an enforcer with far lesser skills.
Della Rovere is viewed by many as a tough player with enough skill and is someone who is willing to drop the gloves. That’s true, but if he ever makes it to the NHL level Della Rovere will be more of a Matt Bradley than a Jerome Iginla. Frankly, the Caps have players who can play that part.
The Caps have been hording draft picks and prospects like they are preparing for a nuclear holocaust, and they have several Della Rovere-like players. Trading him for something they don’t have is a good thing.
With this trade, the Caps were able to offload a prospect (who hadn’t cracked the lineup at any stage of their farm system yet) and become more dynamic. Now, in addition to heightened skill and speed, they have something else opponents need to be worried about: a fighter.
|King has been in 31 career NHL fights, according to |
Matt Bradley, though he does the best he can, is no real deterrent. He is someone other teams need to deal with, but he is one that can be dealt with somewhat easily, despite his huge heart and guts. King is not. King is someone you don’t want to have to deal with. The former 2002 6th round pick of the Blues has been in 76 career fights between the AHL and the NHL in the last five years.
The Capitals couldn’t get it done last year, and the team needed a change. This move adds a piece the Caps didn’t have before, and it can only help. The Capitals have enough skill, it’s time to add some fire. With the cost being so low, in both the trade and in salary (King will make $625,000 this year and $650,000 the year after), it is a smart move to add another element to an organization that is bountiful in almost everything else.
Time will tell with Della Rovere's development whether this was a good deal or not. For the moment, it's okay. King is not really an improvement, but there is something to be said for adding a new dimension to an already lethal team. While this deal doesn't exactly help, it doesn't really hurt either, and if the trade is going to be a wash, it's not bad to come out the other end with a new look.
And in case you needed a reason to get behind King, here it is: When told about Max Talbot's comments about Ovechkin, D.J. King said, "Wow. I guess that's not going to be happening too much longer, I guess."
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