Following the Seattle Kraken’s selection of Kurtis MacDermid from the LA Kings on Wednesday, here’s how the move impacts the defensive corps.
We’ll find out in the coming days if a side deal was constructed between the LA Kings and Seattle Kraken, but the latter’s decision to take defenseman Kurtis MacDermid in the expansion draft was puzzling, to say the least. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound blueliner was signed as an undrafted free agent in September 2012 and made his NHL debut during the 2017-18 season, scoring a goal with three assists in 34 games.
He generally served as a third pairing or seventh defenseman on the Kings roster during his tenure, adding a dimension of physicality needed at the time.
However, with an influx of younger talent making their way to the NHL, the writing was on the wall for MacDermid – whether it be in this expansion draft or moved in another deal. There were rumors that the Kings were floating the idea of converting the Sauble Beach, Ontario native to a fourth-line winger, but that will be up to Seattle to experiment with now.
As for the physicality element, that’s why the Kings acquired Brendan Lemieux at the end of March.
There may also be the potential for 24-year-old Boko Imama to make his NHL debut and serve in some sort of bottom-six forward role. Of course, the forward positions are going to be crowded as is, with several prospects graduating to the NHL in the near future.
I think most expected Kale Clague to be the pick from the Kings in Seattle’s expansion draft. He was the popular choice among media outlets in mock drafts leading up to Wednesday because of his age, offensive potential, and contract status.
Like I said, we’ll see if a side deal was made to incentivize Seattle to take MacDermid, but it appears that Clague will remain in a Kings uniform. The 23-year-old is an RFA this offseason, so the next order of business is to re-sign him to a bridge deal.
MacDermid’s exit opens the door for a player like Olli Maatta, who has one year left on his deal, to serve as the LA Kings’ seventh defenseman in the upcoming season. That is also assuming he’s not moved in a separate deal prior to the season or put on waivers.
With Clague still in the fold, he should get every opportunity to earn a full-time role with the club in the 2021-22 season, as he’s proven the offense has come at every stop thus far. He split time between Ontario and Los Angeles last season. It’s also worth noting that Clague cannot be sent down to Ontario without clearing waivers first, per CapFriendly. Hopefully, a little more consistency in one place can help him tap into his offensive potential.
Before any other moves are made, here’s how I see the Kings D corps loosely shaping up:
Anderson – Doughty
Clague – Roy
Bjornfot – Walker
We’ll see if that holds true or if the Kings front office prefers an upgrade along the blue line when the free agency period officially opens on July 28.