Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Caps Beef Up!

The Washington Capitals have acquired enforcer D.J. King from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for prospect Stefan Della Rovere.


I do not know much about Stefan Della Rovere, other than what I read in the article posted on TSN's website. Tarik El-Bashir's followers seem to love the guy though, raving about him as a power forward or the next Sean Avery. Which further proves the Capitals fans lack of hockey knowledge. The two player types [power forward and agitator] are completely different in every way except that they both throw a lot of body checks.

Hockey's Future says he is known for "his chippy, bordering on dirty, play". HF also lists him as a likely fourth-liner. He captained his OHL team to the Conference Final, but he also was 20 years old, something that should be a telling sign. Not to take anything away from his accomplishments, but he was playing against much younger competition.

No big loss here, folks. The next Patrick Kaleta just slipped through our hands. He was years away from the Capitals at best, if he even had a chance at cracking the NHL roster. If anything, the Bears lost a third/fourth liner.

King brings something the Capitals so desperately need: toughness. Bruce Boudreau's Capitals are horribly soft and small, with no concept of team toughness. When Matt Bradley, the toughest regular on the roster, has a fight record worse than Mike Tyson's punching bag. Since joining the Caps in 05-06, Bradley has won a whopping 7 out of his 37 fights.

He is not a bad fighter, but he is fighting way out of his weight class (Bradley is listed at 6'2" 200 lbs). He has losses to Bissonnette, Josh Gratton, Tim Jackman, and huge losses to Steve Montador, Dan Carcillo, Milan Lucic, Aaron Voros, et al. He is carrying the load for a team that prides itself on using the power play to be its enforcer. When Cam Janssen clobbered Bradley, Quintin Laing stepped in to fight him. When Carcillo clobbered Bradley, no one stepped in, except to pound in 3 power play goals.

So King will step in and contribute the much needed protection the Capitals stars need. Sure, he has a history with injuries. He is a hockey player, everyone gets hurt from time to time. The injuries are in the past - if the team doctors thought they would be a concern they would not have traded for him, period. So we have an enforcer who is arguably a top 10 heavyweight when healthy. The SouthLeast Division has no one tough, but the Atlantic is stocked: Shelley, Boogaard, Godard, Clarkson, PLLL, Yabo, Carcillo, etc.

A big argument coming from the Rock the Red camp is that he will take up a "much needed roster spot" from a fringe NHL prospect who chips in the occasional shootout goal, or whatever. King will have a lower cap hit than them, and even though he will only get three or four shifts, his shifts will be passionate and meaningful. I fail to see how the other people competing for the fourth liner are much more productive.

The Capitals have suffered for too long without an enforcer, and it showed last year. There was no semblance of toughness, and the team suffered unnecessary injuries as a result. King will help immensely, even though he is not the only answer. I would love to see a guy like Asham come in also, to mix it up on the fourth line. But for now, I will take this signing and be pleased.

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