Ramblings: News from the week; Heiskanen; Theodore; Maatta traded; playoff format – October 5

Michael Clifford

2020-10-05

I am just stepping in Dobber's usual spot this week as he had to cover for me last week. He'll be back in this usual slot for his next Ramblings.

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Olli Maatta was traded from Chicago to Los Angeles for prospect Brad Morrison. Morrison is 23 years old and spent last year in the ECHL. In other words, this is a salary dump.

Maatta is an interesting acquisition here. A couple weeks ago, I wrote how the Kings have cap space and two choices ahead of them: run out the contracts of Jeff Carter and Dustin Brown, stocking the cupboards for when they turn over the team to the likes of Kupari, Turcotte et al. That would also mean Doughty and Kopitar – both on the wrong side of 30 already – would be two years older. Conversely, they could make moves to bolster the roster for the next couple seasons, utilizing what's left of the Carter and Brown contracts, and hoping their young kids make enough of an impact to make another run while Kopitar is still under contract. It looks as if the Kings are going with the latter.

This signals to me that the Kings are going to be very busy this offseason. We'll see.

As for Maatta, there isn't much depth here on the left-hand side. He could easily go right to the top pair with Drew Doughty. Maatta has a lengthy injury history, though, so maybe they don't want him playing 20-21 minutes a night, sliding him down to the second pair. In that second case, he'll be about the same guy he's always been, and on a lower-scoring team. There is multi-cat utility here regardless, but in points leagues, he's probably waiver fodder.

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The big new from last week was that the New York Rangers would buy out long-time starter Henrik Lundqvist. The King had one year left on his deal and the Rangers have both Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev. Maybe there could have been a Georgiev trade somewhere, but the Rangers thought it best to keep their two young netminders, so here we are.

Lundqvist played over 1000 games for the Rangers, including playoffs. He's the franchise leader in starts, wins, and shutouts. He only had one Vezina Trophy win but finished in the top-3 four other times, and finished top-6 in voting every year from 2005 through 2015. He had a career .921 save percentage in 130 playoff games, including a .923 in the Cup Final in 2014, a series that saw him face at least 40 shots in every game but one. Playing behind a suspect defence was the hallmark of his career, and it's a shame that his Rangers tenure comes to an end as the team is rounding into Cup contending form.

He's a future Hall of Famer, full stop. Cup ring or not, he's one of the two or three best goalies to enter the league in the last 15 years. It's no