COMMENTARY | As the ice melts away and we delve into hockey's offseason, there are certain summer stories Los Angeles Kings fans know they'll be reading about: Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane will make a fool of himself at a frat party; forward Anze Kopitar will announce that he really was suffering from an injury (either upper-body or botfly infection); and that after years of rumors, netminder Jonathan Bernier will finally get traded so that he can get the starting gig he has long deserved.
Well, the inevitable has, in fact, happened as the Kings announced Sunday morning that they traded Bernier to the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Matt Frattin, goalie Ben Scrivens, a 2014 or 2015 second-round draft pick, and $500,000 in salary-cap relief. There aren't any ifs, ands, or buts about it, the Maple Leafs certainly got the best player in the deal -- but that doesn't mean the Kings didn't improve, either.
Although most Kings fans were hoping to receive a player like forwards Matt Read or Sean Couturier of the Philadelphia Flyers, the 25-year-old Frattin is still a solid haul for the Kings. At 6 feet, 200 pounds and set to earn $925,000 this season, the natural left-winger gives the Kings the depth that made them so potent during their 2011-2012 Stanley Cup playoff run.
With seven goals and six assists in 25 games this season, he would be a sizable upgrade over left-wingers Dwight King and Dustin Penner, who hibernates in a cave until the playoffs anyway. A quick YouTube search on Frattin tells us he's fast, strong, isn't afraid to drop the gloves, and has great hands. At best, he'll be Dustin Brown 2.0; at worst, he'll be another filler like forward Jordan Nolan.
There are two things that we know about 26-year-old Scrivens: He's nowhere near as good as Bernier, and he certainly won't bring back memories of former Kings goaltender -- and leading cause of heart attacks among fans -- Jason LaBarbera, either. Set to earn $612,000 this season, Scrivens went 7-9-0 with a 2.69 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage in 20 regular-season games. The numbers aren't gaudy, but Scrivens was an accomplished goalie at Cornell University and in the American Hockey League and will slot well into the backup goalie position behind Conn Smythe winner and child-saver Jonathan Quick. I wouldn't expect the world from Scrivens, but he's a worthy backup goalie with an incredibly team friendly salary.
Draft Pick and Salary Cap Relief
Also coming the Kings' way are Toronto's choice of a 2014 or 2015 second-round draft pick and $500,000 toward salary-cap relief. Given Kings general manager Dean Lombardi's recent second-round draft picks like standout defenseman Slava Voynov and heavy-hitting forward Kyle Clifford, it's very possible that Lombardi could draft an impact player that could outperform both Frattin and Scrivens. Or he could pick another Oscar Moller, who's departed the Kings for Sweden. Only time will tell.
The $500,000 that the Kings will receive should not be forgotten. As John Hoven over at Mayor's Manor points out, the Kings are right near the $60 million salary cap and still have to consider re-signing a core member of the team, defenseman Rob Scuderi. This $500,000 could be the difference in seeing Scuderi in Kings black or Islanders blue.
I won't make any false claims here, the Maple Leafs received the single best player in the deal, and Lombardi is certainly hoping that he doesn't become to the Kings what goalie Miikka Kiprusoff became to the San Jose Sharks. In the long run, however, the Kings received a huge package that gives them the depth and salary-cap relief that could send them on a deep playoff run yet again.
As for Bernier, every Kings fan should wish him success in Toronto -- just, uh, not against the Kings.
Adam Jacobs is a Los Angelino, a UCLA Bruin, and a die-hard follower of the Los Angeles Kings and Dodgers. Follow him on Twitter @ADJacobs7.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Hockey
- Ben Scrivens
- Los Angeles Kings
- Matt Frattin
- Jonathan Bernier