Ellerby is a third-pairing defenseman who will challenge Davis Drewiske and Jake Muzzin for a spot. Although Drewiske and Muzzin weren't on for many goals against, they were heavily sheltered at even strength and only given limited minutes. This was causing a lot of strain on the rest of the defense, particularly Doughty and Scuderi.
Ellerby won't have much of an impact on the salary cap; he makes $700,000 on a one-year contract.
Here's a first look at what the Kings got.
Ellerby was a highly ranked prospect back in 2007, going tenth overall in the draft. He is an excellent skater despite his massive frame, but not a threat on offense.
Ellerby had been struggling to earn a regular role with the Panthers on the third pairing (playing 54 and 40 games the last two seasons respectively). He could have the tools to be a solid shut down defenseman, but so far he's still a work in progress. The Panthers have a surplus on defense, and a stacked prospect pool, so he was shipped out.
For the Kings, this move makes a lot of sense. They lacked size on the back end with both Mitchell and Greene out. Campbell could have been given a shot, but he lacked any NHL experience. Ellerby's possession stats were also middle-of-the-pack for Florida. If paired with one of the Kings' puckmovers, his job could be a lot simpler.
In short, this was a low cost move that addressed an area of need. We will see if Ellerby can put it all together with a different club. Say hello to our new 6th/7th defenseman.