We’ve seen a couple of early trades since the new collective bargaining agreement in the NHL became official. The Los Angeles Kings were involved in one of those trades, and it could end up being a steal.
The Kings sent forward Kevin Westgarth to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Anthony Stewart and a pair of draft picks. For the Kings, this could be a move that doesn’t have a very immediate impact. But it could be one that ends up paying off quite nicely for them.
The role of Kevin Westgarth with the Kings wasn’t a complicated one. He was in there as an enforcer, and not much else. He had just five points in 90 games, but had 153 penalty minutes. The Kings send him to the Canes, who could use a bit of that type of presence in their lineup.
In Stewart, the Kings get a guy who was once a first round pick. He has the talent to be a top six player, or top nine at the very worst, but that hasn’t materialized into anything consistent. He hasn’t seen consistent playing time in his career, which has held him back from even resembling the player that many thought he could be.
Stewart is a big dude. He’s 6’2″ and 230. That can be effective for a Kings team that is terrific on the forecheck. He can be an asset in front of the net and in the corners. Whether or not he’ll see regular ice time for a Kings team that is completely in tact from the Stanley Cup they just one remains to be seen.
If he does see playing time, perhaps coming to a successful team like the Kings can be what he needs to tap into some of that potential he does have. To this point in his career, he’s been a total disappointment. Coming into a locker room that already has great chemistry and success could end up picking him up and help him become a solid player.
In losing Westgarth, the Kings don’t lose too much outside of a great guy in the room. His type of role isn’t as necessary with a team that is as physical as the Kings are. This is a great deal for the Kings, and if Stewart can show some improvement from what he’s been to this point in his career, it could end up being a downright steal for Los Angeles.