Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ethan Moreau?...Sure Why Not

Ethan Moreau's So Excited To Be A King He Got A Haircut 
Ethan Moreau and the Kings will always be linked via Wayne Gretzky's trade to Los Angeles.  Moreau was the final link to "The Trade." You can break out your media guides or check out this link to follow all the transactions thru the years.

Ethan Moreau was one of the most heralded third-line checkers in the NHL after Edmonton's improbable run to the 2006 Cup Final (along with current Kings Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene).  But at 35 years old,  Moreau is a shadow of his former-self and a walking band-aid.  He missed 43 games last season with a laundry list of injuries: broken hand, rib injury, and bruised foot.  Moreau was plucked off of waivers by the Columbus Blue Jackets after the Oilers attempted to dump his $1.75 million salary on some unsuspecting victim.  The Jackets bit.

Jackets fans didn't have much to be excited about going into the 2010-11 season but they were confident that their third-line of Moreau, Sammy Pahlsson, and Chris Clark would be one of the best in the league.  Unfortunately, they were a huge disappointment.
With a price tag of $7.2 million, those three combined for 13 goals, 28 assists and a minus-25 rating. Moreau and Clark combined to miss 74 games because of injuries or as healthy scratches.
If Moreau can stay healthy, he'll be everything Terry Murray wants from a fourth-line player.  A good skater who plays defense first, will throw some big hits, and block some shots.  Expect some grit and toughness but don't expect him to generate much offense this season for the Kings.  His -18.78 CORSI rating was worst among Blue Jackets forwards last season.  To put that into perspective, Michal Handzus -6.75 CORSI rating was the lowest amongst Kings forwards.  Two years ago with the Oilers, Moreau also had a team worst -22.99 CORSI rating.

During his career, Moreau has always been lined up against other team's top lines but numbers show he's lost most of his effectiveness as a shutdown forward.  Last season, Moreau averaged 1.8 penalties taken per 60 minutes which led Columbus.  Kevin Westgarth led the Kings with 1.8 penalties/60 also.  Ironically enough, Moreau could be battling Westgarth for that fourth-line left wing spot all season long.

I was hoping Dwight King would get a shot on the Kings fourth-line this year but I like the signing of Moreau for $600,000.  There's no doubt he's a true professional (although, I really hope he regrets posing for this photo) who's going to bring another veteran presence to the locker room.  He'll help continue to develop some of the Kings young bottom-six forwards like Clifford, Lewis, and Richardson.  Whether or not he can play 60-70 games is a big question but Moreau's true value will come off-the-ice and in the locker room.  Now, let's sign Drew and get this season started.

Moreau's had his run-ins with the Kings over the years...