The Los Angeles Kings are not about to surrender their Stanley Cup championship without a fight.
A year ago, they had a need for goal scoring and brought in Jeff Carter from the Columbus Blue Jackets to give them the explosiveness that was missing. Carter turned out to be just the ingredient they needed.
This time, the Kings' need is on the defensive side. Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene have both been injured much of the season. Mitchell and Greene are tough, physical players and the Kings have needed that type of player in the lineup.
Los Angeles general manager Dean Lombardi addressed that need by acquiring Robyn Regehr from the Buffalo Sabres (source: NHL.com). Regehr is not an offensive factor—he has just two assists this year—but he is a hard-hitting and physical presence.
Lombardi would not comment on the trade until Regehr passes his team physical.
"We will withhold comment on the trade until after the medical exam is completed" - GM Dean Lombardi on Regehr trade
— Shawn Roarke (@sroarke_nhl) April 2, 2013
Regehr, 32, will cost the Kings two second-round picks. That's just fine with the Kings, because they are getting a 6'3", 225-pound banger who can play nearly 20 minutes a game.
Regehr is averaging 18:39 of ice time per game. That's going to take a huge burden off the overworked Los Angeles defense.
Lombardi may not be done with his trading. Regehr can't replace both Mitchell and Greene, but he can at least take some of the pressure off of Slava Voynov, Drew Doughty, Rob Scuderi, Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez.
The Kings needed a stay-at-home defenseman like Regehr. While they are scoring more goals than they did last year, they have not been the same defensive team.
Starting goalie Jonathan Quick has not been as spectacular as he was last year and has not resembled the Conn Smythe Trophy-winning goalie from last year's playoffs. Quick has a 2.52 goals-against average and is stopping 89.5 percent of the shots he is facing.
While some of that is on him, the Los Angeles defense has given opposing forwards the opportunity to skate free in the Kings' zone.
The Kings can certainly survive the regular season playing like that, but that's not the way to compete in the postseason. Lombardi and head coach Darryl Sutter know that playing a complete game is the way to go. That's why they added Regehr.
If he can avoid turnovers and mistakes, the Kings will be a stronger team as the playoffs approach.