After repeated negotiations throughout the last couple days, the Columbus Blue Jackets have agreed to send star forward Marian Gaborik to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Matt Frattin as well as second and third round draft picks. The move coincides with a five-game winning streak for the King, and looks destined to jump them back into the spot of co-favorites in the Western Conference playoffs alongside the Chicago Blackhawks.
In Gaborik, the Kings will be getting one of the fastest players in the NHL which gives him great ability to take on defenders in transition situations and blow right by them. This isn’t the only asset that the 32-year-old possesses, though, as he has great hands, one of the best wrist shots in the game, is great on the power play and as a seven-time 30 goal scorer has a history of lighting the lamp as well. Sure he has been injured for large swaths of the current season, but with good health he is an All-Star caliber player.
This skill-set works out perfectly for the needs of the Kings as they don’t have a genuine goal scorer on the wings outside of Jeff Carter right now. There is no doubting that Justin Williams and Dustin Brown have the potential to help fill this role, but neither has after combining for 27 goals in 125 games played. It is clear they needed a guy who is going to jump-start things on the wing. Enter in Gaborik, who would surely form a lethal first line with Anze Kopitar lining up in the middle and either Williams or Carter coming in on the opposite flank.
Everyone knows that with Drew Doughty, Slava Voynov, Robyn Regehr and Jake Muzzin as the core four defensive players that the Kings will stop goals from coming in, and they are succeeding with the lowest goals allowed average in the NHL. After winning the Stanley Cup in 2012 and making the conference finals in 2013, there is no reason to believe that anything will change this, which made acquiring an offensive player priority top at the NHL Trade Deadline.
While Gaborik won’t solve all the issues that face the offense, he is certainly a dynamic forward who will go a long way towards making sure the Kings aren’t beaten in the playoffs because of offensive ineptitude. Look for Los Angeles to again face off against Chicago for the right to go to the Stanley Cup in 2014 but have a bit more success this time around because of Gaborik’s presence.