I mean, what wasn't Jamie McBain good at this season?
Perhaps McBain's largest contribution to the Kings was a little bit of roster stability. At a time when the Kings were pressed for players and had literally dressed five defensemen (instead of five defensemen and Robyn Regehr, like usual), McBain fit snugly under the salary cap and generally avoided hurting the team. Well, he hurt the team less than many expected him to. The Kings were (barely) able to win the overall shot attempt and scoring chance battles with him on the ice during 5v5 play.
McBain also scored pretty well this season. His 1.25 points per 60 (points/60) at 5v5 play actually led Kings defenders. In his 26 games, he was a productive offensive player. It's a little troubling to rely on rate stats in such a tiny sample, though, as that could lead you to believe that someone like Jordan Nolan is a better goal-scorer than Anze Kopitar.
The first thing that jumps out in McBain's numbers is his shooting percentage. You can't count on McBain converting 18.18% of his shots into goals. This would be true in any situation, but perhaps more palatable if it was coming from a forward on the power play. Since McBain is a mediocre defenseman pumping out this shooting percentage during 5v5 play, this just will not continue. His ridiculous shooting percentage is somewhere between three and nine times higher than it should be. If McBain shot pucks on net at the same rate over his next 56 games, it would make complete sense if he didn't score another goal.
Since McBain only shot the puck eleven times during 5v5 play, I would wager that it was far more likely for him to score zero goals than two. The Kings got a lucky draw here.
Though the Kings did win the shot and scoring chance battles with him on the ice, they were far better with him off the ice. His scoring chance percentage relative to his teammates (Scoring Chance Rel) was -5.2, the 6th-worst figure on the team. That includes Andy Andreoff and Nick Shore, who also had abbreviated and bad seasons. His Corsi Rel was a little bit better at -2.83, but that's still bad overall.
Though it's in a sample that's too small to judge, his scoring chance numbers being worse than his shot attempt numbers do lend some credence to the idea that he is bad at defense. This suggests that a higher than average percentage of his shot attempts conceded turned into scoring chances.
Jamie McBain scored three extremely uninteresting goals this season. All three goals also happened to come in extremely frustrating losses.
His highlight is how The Mayor talks about him on Twitter.
Here is something to ponder... If the Kings were so tired and out of energy, why was McBain still sitting in the press box? Andreoff? Weal?— The Mayor John Hoven (@mayorNHL) April 13, 2015
Rinse, repeat. Kings just don't score goals without McBain in the lineup.— The Mayor John Hoven (@mayorNHL) March 21, 2015
#LAKings average goals scored continues to rise with McBain in the lineup. (see previous tweets)— The Mayor John Hoven (@mayorNHL) February 13, 2015
The Kings lucked into a
good decent marginally alright acceptable thing with McBain, but they have little need for him going forward. Even with Robyn Regehr out of the picture, they have five defensemen under contract and their hearts set on retaining Andrej Sekera. After that, they're at the point where they can maybe count on giving a cup of coffee to someone like Colin Miller
McBain was a good soldier and an acceptable healthy scratch. Players of his caliber are found easily in free agency, as the Kings proved when they signed him in November. McBain is an unrestricted free agent, and I imagine that he will have a different home this October. If they do retain him, it will be as the 7th defenseman, and I suppose that this would not be the worst outcome in the world. I'd prefer that the Kings gamble on someone with more upside.