EL SEGUNDO, CA — Although it was just an optional skate for the Los Angeles Kings, newly acquired defenseman Robyn Regehr was on the ice, and he spent a lot of time just talking with assistant coach John Stevens, trying to get the lay of the land.
Regehr, 32, was acquired by the Kings on April 1, in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres, who will receive two second round picks in the National Hockey League Draft from the Kings, one in 2014 and another in 2015.
In his first chance to meet the local media, the 6-3, 225-pound Canadian (born in Recife, Brazil) talked about his whirlwind past couple of days.
“Buffalo flew to Pittsburgh, that would’ve been April 1,” Regehr explained. “That night, we went out for dinner, and I was hearing from my agent (J.P. Barry) that something might be happening. He mentioned Los Angeles, and there were a couple of other teams we heard rumors about. But he then said it was Los Angeles. We talked a little bit about it, and the fit. I was asked to waive [his no movement clause] after dinner.”
“I was gladly accepting,” Regehr elaborated. “I talked to my wife about it. She was happy. She’s always wanted to be down in Southern California, and spend some time here, so we were excited that way, and with the team—the fit, the coaching, things like that, and what they did last year. We’re going to, hopefully, put ourselves in a position to do that again, so all that stuff was very exciting for me to think about, and now I’m here.”
The trade was contingent upon Regehr passing medical examinations, which lasted through most of Tuesday.
“I did fly out yesterday [April 2] for a bunch of medical [examinations], MRI’s,” Regehr noted. “It was a very full day, and I was on the ice today for the first time. I’m looking forward to a game, and getting into the lineup tomorrow.”
With the Sabres struggling this season and looking to the future, Regehr was relieved and excited about his new opportunity.
“I’m really, really happy for a few different reasons,” he said. “First of all, being in a position to win again with a team that has proven it can do it in the past, and wants to do it again, so I’m very excited about that. I’m also familiar with Darryl [Sutter] as a coach, knowing his style, and how demanding he is, and [knowing] a couple of the players from previous hockey experiences.”
Regehr has not played with any of his new teammates in the past, but he is familiar with them.
“I’ve met a few of them, [but] I’ve never played with any of them, other than in a camp here or there,” Regehr noted. “I know Jarret Stoll, being in Saskatchewan. I know Drew Doughty. I roomed with him in a Team Canada camp for three or four days.”
“They played a different style back when I was playing for Calgary,” Regehr added. “It was a little bit more of a passive style. Now it’s a little bit more of an aggressive, forechecking style, and trying to get all five guys out there working together, and being close to one another in all three zones. Things have changed [a bit], but I am quite familiar with a lot of the personnel.”
Regehr said that he and right wing Justin Williams are old friends, so to speak.
“I remember that I separated Justin Williams’ shoulder in the corner in a game, so maybe he’s not quite happy with me,” he joked. “But we’ll try to work it out. Water under the bridge.”
Regehr is already familiar with Sutter from their time with the Calgary Flames.
“Darryl is a very demanding coach,” said Regehr. “Any player who plays under him, that would be the first thing he’d mention. That said, when you do the kind of stuff he asks of you, and you do it well, you put yourself into position to succeed, and to become a very good professional.”
“I’m excited to be back [with Sutter],” added Regehr. “I know the style [of play he brought in]. It’s a very similar style to what he asked us to play in Calgary, so I should be able to brush the rust off a little bit. It’s been a few years.”
“They’re going to ask me to play hard, physically, defend well, and help out on the penalty-kill, so those are going to be the areas I’m really going to focus on.”
If Regehr knows Sutter from their time with the Flames, the converse must also be true.
“[Regehr brings] experience, big guy in the back, fills our left side,” said Sutter. “We’ll work him in. He’s played a long time, and he’s got a pretty strong identity, so that’s pretty clear.”
Regehr is in the final year of his contract, valued at $4.02 million this season. He will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, unless the Kings re-sign him. Despite his contract status, his focus is on the ice, and in the dressing room.
“All I’m thinking about is right now, and how I can get up to speed with the team, and what they want me to do, as quickly as possible,” he stressed. “As for all that other stuff about the future, it depends on a lot of things, [like] how things go for me, personally, and for the team. Also, we all know that next year, the salary cap is going down, so there are so many things that are out there that are involved with that decision, so I don’t think about that too much, at this point. I’ve got enough stuff going on right now to deal with.”
Drewiske Gets a Chance
On April 2, one day before the trade deadline, the Kings sent seldom-used defenseman Davis Drewiske to the Montreal Canadiens, in exchange for a fifth round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.
Drewiske, 28, played in twenty games for the Kings this season, scoring a goal and adding three assists for four points with 14 penalty minutes.
The 6-2, 220-pound native of Hudson, Wisconsin has played in 126 career NHL games, all with the Kings, scoring four goals and contributing 18 assists for 22 points with 67 penalty minutes and a -1 plus/minus rating.
Drewiske, who was originally signed by the Kings as a free agent on April 1, 2008, could finally get a chance to play on a regular basis with the Canadiens.
Sutter said that he was happy for Drewiske.
“Davis wants to play, and he’s at the point in his career—he’s going to be 29 this summer, and he’s [going to be an] unrestricted [free agent],” said Sutter. “He needs to play. It’s important for Davis, from a career standpoint.”
“It’s good for him to go to the other conference, too, because then, everybody sees him,” added Sutter. “It’s not just out here, and if he’s not playing very much, you don’t get anybody to look at you, so I was happy for him because of that.”
“It’s no different than anybody else. Everybody that was on our championship team last year is a member of our family forever, so I want them to do well.”
Drewiske was in the lineup and played a regular shift in the Canadiens’ 5-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in Philadelphia on April 3.
- LA Kings Move To Shore Up Blue Line With Trade For Robyn Regehr From Buffalo – Analysis
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