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I’m Not Quite Sure I Get It July 29, 2010

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.

The Capitals have picked up DJ King from the Blues in exchange for Stefan Della Rovere, and I’m not quite sure what the logic was on this trade. Not that I don’t like it: King is going to add some instant toughness, which was getting to be a little bit lacking. In fact, I was doing a bit of research in the Blues’ news archive, and they were hyping a Sport Illustrated story that had King as one of the top 5 tough guys on the circuit.

So it’s a terrific pick-up, for those Caps fans who were screaming for a tough guy. Well, there you go: the Caps have just added one of the best in the business.

My question, which I know is far from original, is this: will he even suit up? He only played a dozen games in St. Louis all last season, and as of a January 30th article by the Blues, he’d only played in nine games with the Blues’ AHL affiliate in Peoria. Per the Rivermen, those were conditioning stints, because he’d injured his thumb in training camp.

Now, obviously, when you make your living as a bruiser, hand injuries are part of the job. But King was drafted eight years ago and his career GP number at the NHL level is barely in triple digits. I have no idea what kind of food they permit in the press box at Verizon Center, but knuckle sandwiches are probably not on anybody’s menu. He’s tough enough, sure. That’s beyond dispute. But is he durable enough?

Della Rovere was averaging fifty-plus games a season his last four years in the O. King has played a TOTAL of 23 games, AHL and NHL, since 2008, having lost a lot of time to shoulder and hand injuries. Help me out here, folks. What am I missing?

The other thing that confuses me is that this is kind of an out-of-character move for the Capitals. The team likes to draft and develop from within as its main source of talent. So now, we’re trading one of our tough guy prospects away to pick up a different tough guy…who’s spent most of the past two seasons on the shelf. Huh?

Now, if the front office was taking a good, hard look at Della Rovere and deciding that he was a good enough player who just wasn’t going to make it in DC, ergo let’s send him somewhere he’s got a shot, then that’s fine. They did the same for Sami Lepisto, who’s now got a full-time spot in Phoenix which he likely would not have had here. If that’s the logic behind dealing Della Rovere, then I think I get it. The left wing is getting a little hard to crack in Washington, and if he’s just not good enough for the Caps, then maybe he can be a better fit in St. Louis. If that’s why the Caps are dealing a prospect, then I get it.

And besides–if King stays healthy, then this could prove to be a very shrewd trade indeed. But if recent history is any guide, that could end up being no small “if.”

I like this move on summer’s paper. The proof of the pudding, however, will be on spring’s ice. I’m going to wait and see with this one.




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