EL SEGUNDO, CA — In a two-days-before-the-trade-deadline deal, the Los Angeles Kings moved to shore up their blue line corps, which has been missing stalwart, stay-at-home defensemen Willie Mitchell all season, and Matt Greene for all but one game, by acquiring veteran, stay-at-home defenseman Robyn Regehr from the Buffalo Sabres.
In exchange, the Sabres will receive two second round picks in the National Hockey League Draft, one in 2014 and another in 2015. The trade is contingent upon Regehr passing a medical examination.
The Kings also announced that left wing Dustin Penner has been placed on injured reserve, retroactive to March 31, due to a lower body injury, a move that opens a roster spot for Regehr, for the time being.
Regehr, 32, has tallied two assists with 21 penalty minutes and a -4 plus/minus rating in 29 games with the Sabres this season. His best season, in terms of offensive numbers, was in 2005-06 with the Calgary Flames, when he scored six goals and added twenty assists for 26 points in 68 regular season games.
In 931 career regular season games with the Sabres and Flames, Regehr has scored thirty goals and has contributed 140 assists for 170 points with 879 penalty minutes, and a +14 plus/minus rating.
In 41 career playoff games with the Flames, Regehr has scored three goals and has added twelve assists for 15 points with 28 penalty minutes and a +9 plus/minus rating. 26 of those games were played during the 2004 Stanley Cup Final (Tampa Bay won the Stanley Cup that season), under then-Flames head coach Darryl Sutter.
Regehr was acquired by the Sabres from the Flames, along with forward Ales Kotalik, and a second round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, in exchange for Chris Butler and Paul Byron, on June 25, 2011.
The 6-3, 225 pound native of Recife, Brazil made his NHL debut with the Flames in 2000-01, and played eleven seasons overall in Calgary.
After being selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the first round (19th overall) in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, Regehr was traded to Calgary while he was playing for the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League during the 1998-99 season. Regehr’s rights went to the Flames, along with Rene Corbet, Wade Belak and the Avs’ 2000 second round compensatory pick on February 28, 1999, in exchange for Theoren Fleury and Chris Dingman.
As an aside, the 2000 second round compensatory pick that went to Calgary was used to select current Kings center Jarret Stoll. But he was not signed by the Flames, and went back into the draft in 2002, where he was selected by Edmonton in the second round, 36th overall.
Regehr has had extensive experience on international ice, representing Canada in the 1999 World Junior Championship (silver medal), winning the gold medal at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, and a silver medal at the 2005 World Championship in Austria.
In 2006, Regehr also played in six games for Canada at the XX Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy (also known as Turin).
Who Won? Who Lost?
If you’re trying to figure out who came out as the winner and loser in this deal, you’re asking the wrong question.
Indeed, neither team got fleeced in the deal, nor was there a clear winner or loser. In fact, this was one of those deals that was good for both teams, as they both addressed their needs.
For the Sabres, who are in last place in the Northeast Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference, they have struggled mightily all season long. Despite that, they are just five points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. Nevertheless, their outlook for making the playoffs is not good at all, and they have, for all intents and purposes, raised the white flag for this season.
“[Regehr is] a quality person, and a good hockey player,” Sabres general manager Darcy Regier told the media in Buffalo. “I think we indicated to him that we’re going to look towards next season, and we’re going to look at building this team, not just to make it into the playoffs, but to go deep into the playoffs.”
“No one’s quite sure of the timeline, but we’re certainly going to focus on next season, as opposed to this season, and this provides him an opportunity to challenge for the Stanley Cup, and be with the team who won last year, and could go deep [in the playoffs],” Regier added. “For us, it was an opportunity to get draft picks, and allow us to really strengthen our organization.”
“We have to be realistic about where we are, and the direction we’re going, and in this case, it was important for us to take advantage of getting draft picks, and to use those draft picks to build.”
Regier indicated that not only did he have to settle for second round picks, but he was also unable to get the Kings to give up their 2013 second round pick.
“Los Angeles expressed an interest a couple of weeks ago, and this [deal] developed over that time period,” said Regier. “They do not have a first round pick [in this year’s draft], and they were not prepared to move their second round pick.”
“We were focused on second round picks,” added Regier. “We would’ve preferred a first round pick, but that wasn’t going to happen.”
Although Regehr has a no-movement clause in his contract, in the end, he was willing to go to Los Angeles.
“I had some discussions, both with him, and his agent, [J.P. Barry], independently,” said Regier. “It was a decision that we made together. He’s got a no-movement clause, and he expressed an interest in remaining here.”
“We had some preliminary discussions relative to the contract, but ultimately, we made a decision that we were going to move him,” added Regier. “He was fine with the opportunity to be moved to Los Angeles. That all took place today.”
From the Kings’ perspective, it was no secret that their biggest need was to shore up their defensive zone play with Greene and Mitchell out of the lineup, and that Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi was looking for blue line help.
For his part, Lombardi is withholding comment on the deal until Regehr passes his medical examination.
“We will withhold comment on the trade until after the medical exam is completed,” he said.
Even though rookie defenseman Jake Muzzin has played well, earning him NHL Rookie of the Month honors for March, and with defenseman Keaton Ellerby playing much better lately, the Kings have not been as good in front of their net, or in killing penalties, with Greene and Mitchell on the outside looking in. Regehr will add toughness, the ability to play a physical game, and strong play in front of his own net, all of which should provide a defensive boost for the stretch drive, and into the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Regehr could also help the Kings in one particular area: shot blocking. In fact, with fifty blocked shots this season, assuming he passes his physical examination and joins the Kings prior to their game tonight at Phoenix, he will lead the team in blocked shots. Defenseman Rob Scuderi will rank second with 44.
Last season, Mitchell led the Kings with 139 blocked shots, while Greene was third with 112.
- LA Kings D-man Robyn Regehr Hopes To “Brush The Rust Off,” Get Up To Speed Quickly
- LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi Talks Regehr Trade, And, As Always, Much, Much More
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