Most players go into free agency with a clear-cut plan or idea of where they want to go. Christian Folin was thrust into it awkwardly.
But June 26 “hit and my agent had no idea because I thought we were going to sign,” Folin said. “We were way behind already at the start. So we had no idea. It came as a shock and a surprise, actually.”
That brief, frenzied period culminated in Folin landing with the Kings on a one-year contract on July 1. It wasn’t a flashy signing because Folin is a stay-at-home defenseman, but his big body, hard shot and defense should fit in with the Kings.
Folin made his unofficial Kings debut Saturday in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks in a preseason game at Staples Center. The Kings needed his penalty killing more than they would like because they took seven minor penalties, including four by Adrian Kempe.
And Kings coach John Stevens is still getting know the 6-foot-3 Folin, but he said he’s had a good camp and looks recovered from offseason shoulder surgery.
“Well, he’s a big guy that moves pretty well, and I think in today’s game you have to move pretty well, and he has to be able to move pucks, and he can do those things,” Stevens said.
Former Wild teammate Darcy Kuemper has joined him in a new start with the Kings. Folin also has the same strength coach as fellow Swede and Kings defensemen Oscar Fantenberg, who scored Saturday along with Jake Muzzin and Dustin Brown before Brock Boeser’s overtime goal.
Folin is mostly excited about the way the Kings play, and the friendliness of the locker room, his newest environment in a well-traveled career.
Folin has gone from Fargo, N.D., to Minnesota, then to Massachusetts for college hockey followed by minor league stops in Iowa. He fell for this locale, as opposed to Minnesota winters.
“I like Minneapolis,” Folin said. “It’s a fun city. But it doesn’t compare to this. This is hard to top. I’ve been here three weeks and it’s hard to top. My friends told me right away, ‘We’re definitely coming to visit.’”
As expected, the Kings’ 26-man roster for preseason games in China is comprised largely of veterans. It also includes rookies Fantenberg, Kurtis MacDermid and Michael Mersch.
The goalies are Kuemper, Jonathan Quick and Jeff Zatkoff.
Former Kings general manager Dean Lombardi was hired to work under Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall, according to TSN … There were four penalties Saturday for slashing, an infraction the NHL is strongly enforcing this season. A sign to come? “I hope not,” Brown said. “We might as well just go, two minutes power play, two minutes penalty kill. I get what they’re trying to do. They probably change rules like this a lot. They crack down hard for the first 20 games and then they kind of find the happy medium where you can still play the game.”