The Kings, who lost one forward to injury and another to suspension in the first two games of their season-long seven-game trip, lost two more Tuesday in Carolina when they traded Marian Gaborik and Nick Shore to Ottawa for defenseman Dion Phaneuf and center Nate Thompson following a 7-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Here are three things the trade could mean, for the rest of this season and going forward:
1. Financially, the deal makes sense
With the Senators paying 25% of Phaneuf’s contract, the deal is basically a wash. According to the CapFriendly website, the difference in the cap hit between Phaneuf and Gaborik is $375,000 — which may prove to be cheap since Gaborik, who turned 36 on Wednesday, has been little used this season, appearing Tuesday in just his 30th game. The Kings had been trying to move Gaborik’s salary ahead of the trade deadline but had few suitors until the Senators stepped up, asking for fourth-line forward Shore, at 25 the youngest player in the deal, to make the trade happen.
2. Phaneuf may be just what the Kings needed
Defense has lately been a sore spot for the Kings, who have given up four or more goals four times in their last nine games, including a season-high seven in Tuesday’s blowout loss to Carolina. And while Phaneuf isn’t the all-star he once was, he will be a veteran presence on a blue line that had played well until last month’s All-Star break.
3. Jonathan Quick could use all the help he can get
Only Boston has given up fewer goals per game this season than the Kings, but lately it’s been raining goals in the team’s net. And while coach John Stevens insists nothing is wrong with Quick, that would be hard to prove given his recent performances. Quick was pulled less than two minutes into the second period Tuesday after giving up four goals — and that was one of his better efforts as a starter in the last three weeks. In his past four starts, including Tuesday, Quick has allowed 15 goals; in two of those games he didn’t make it to the middle of the second period. Going back even further, he is 2-8 in the last 10 starts. With backup Darcy Kuemper also struggling on the trip — six goals allowed in his last 62 minutes — the Kings need to tighten things up before the playoff race runs away from them. Will Phaneuf help? He couldn’t hurt.