As we approached July 1, it appeared that the Los Angeles Kings were looking to sign one of the big names at forward, especially after Milan Lucic's departure went from possible to inevitable. The market dried up rather quickly, though, and rather than overpay for a middling forward, they did what they've been doing all day: they got a cheap player who will compete for a roster spot. In this case, it's Michael Latta, formerly of the Washington Capitals, for $600K.
LA has signed Michael Latta, last of WASH, to a one-year deal— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 1, 2016
According to Jon Rosen, the contract is a one-way contract, so Latta will have every opportunity to claim a role on the fourth line out of camp. Latta is a center by trade but has played wing in the past.
Ironically, Latta was primarily squeezed out of playing time by Mike Richards, but he was a terrific defensive forward for the Caps. In fact, among players who appeared in at least half their team's games, he had the best relative Corsi Against/60 in the NHL. (Naturally, Nick Shore had the best overall Corsi Against/60.) That's offset by a lack of shot attempts for his team when he's on the ice and only seven points in 43 games, but hey, the other team can't score if they can't shoot!
Latta plays very, very tight hockey. No goals for you (or them). The worst QoT and QoC imaginable. pic.twitter.com/BPzQyMUzsq— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) July 1, 2016
I guess the only surprise is that he wasn't a King already. Imagine watching a Lewis-Shore-Latta line...