After attending the Kings Development Camp in July; I became worried. The Kings lost Sean O’Donnell to free agency and had yet to sign a defenseman. Jake Muzzin wasn’t ready. Thomas Hickey wasn’t ready. Colten Teubert was hurt. Viatcheslav Voynov was missing and now threatening a move to Russia. Then the news broke that Matt Greene was going under the knife, all of a sudden, leaving two gaping holes to fill on the Kings blueline.
I began searching the list of remaining free-agents for bargains (or scraps). Two names jumped out at me: Ruslan Salei and Mike Weaver. Salei has been steady his entire career up to last season when he battled back injuries last season. Mike Weaver left Los Angeles as a fringe NHL defenseman and has slowly developed into a solid reliable bottom-pairing defenseman for Vancouver and St. Louis. Both were snatched up within the week.
Willie Mitchell was the only remaining player on my Free Agent Shopping List. But I figured he was a longshot to sign in Los Angeles. Well, because quite frankly, every top free-agent seems to be a long shot for the Kings.
I began asking the question that I never thought I’d ever ask: Who is going to replace Sean O’Donnell?