With the first hour of free agency bringing massive contracts to the top available forwards, the earliest defensive signings showed a lot more restraint. The main driving force is the lack of right-shot defensemen available, so it was essential that the Los Angeles Kings pick up an NHL-caliber player early on, preferably for a low price. They did that! Tom Gilbert signed with the Kings for one year at $1.4 million.
Tom Gilbert to LA, one year, $1.4M per @DougMaclean— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 1, 2016
With rumors floating around bigger -- and slower -- names, LA got a defenseman who fell off the radar of a lot of teams after a rough 2015-16. (For more on that, here's a review of his season from Habs Eyes on the Prize.) In the past, Gilbert has been praised for his mobility and his relative possession success on bad possession teams, but he provided almost zero offense as a low-event player last season, and his season ended early due to knee surgery in February. In that way, he fits LA's M.O. as a player who's been useful before, might be useful again, and is near the bottom of his value right now.
Gilbert (cheaply to Kings) is an unremarkable (not bad) third-pair defender. pic.twitter.com/LBeme8rRmm— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) July 1, 2016
According to General Fanager, the Kings now have $4.6 million worth of cap space, though that could drop if Matt Greene doesn't get bought out. (He might not after all!)
Thoughts on the move? Let us know in the comments.