After taking a defenseman with their first pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, the Los Angeles Kings immediately dealt one away who never quite found his place in the AHL, and picked up a player who fills a position of need AND is a pretty big name. What's the catch?
Here's the catch: that player is Jack Campbell, whose... star... has fallen quite a bit. The Kings sent Nick Ebert, the 211th and final pick of the 2012 Draft, to the Dallas Stars in order to grab some badly needed goaltending depth.
From a value perspective, it makes sense. After a single start with the Dallas Stars in 2013-14, the former #11 pick struggled at the AHL level in 2014-15, but after being sent down to the ECHL, he rediscovered his form and had a solid finishing kick after returning to the Texas Stars. That led to articles like this one, about how Campbell was poised to grab the starter's role and pave his way to the NHL. (And lord knows Dallas could have used the goaltending help.) Instead, Campbell had a nightmarish season in 2015-16 and was sent down to the ECHL yet again in December 2015. Campbell got called back up to the AHL in February and once again found improvement, but it was probably too late for him to earn another contract with Dallas.
Ebert was an example of why the Kings will always take chances on players whose value has bottomed out. A first-round talent, Ebert slipped all the way to the bottom of the 2012 Draft, but LA saw an opportunity to pick up a skilled player well below where he'd normally go. Ebert had his moments, and he even got called up to LA for 24 hours! But he also had his injuries and his inconsistency in his journey to the Ontario Reign's blueline, and failed to become an everyday player for the Reign. With a glut of defensemen in Ontario, LA decided to trade this one. Here are some snippets from Ebert's exit interview in Ontario; apparently, it was a permanent exit.
The lesson, as always: don't draft goalies in the first round. (Jonathan Bernier was a #11 pick too, though; I guess that worked out well enough.)