If you missed last night’s game, you missed a wild ride against the Senators, but you also might have missed a trade announcement.
With Andy Andreoff being activated from injured reserve and Kyle Clifford close to returning, the Kings needed to make a corresponding move to open up a roster spot. Rather than send any of the younger players down, or risk anyone to waivers, the Kings traded little-used forward Nic Dowd to the Vancouver Canucks for prospect defenseman Jordan Subban.
Subban is a third-year pro, appearing in 16 games so far this year with the Utica Comets, garnering five assists. At the professional level, Subban was remarkably consistent for his first two seasons, getting 36 points each year. He appeared in the AHL All-Star team in 2016-17. He’s been in and out of the lineup this year as Utica navigated having an abundance of defensemen on the roster (they’ve used 11, including Subban, in just 20 games), so from the Canucks’ point of view, he was an expendable asset, trapped behind a log jam of other defensive prospects.
Scouting reports indicate that Subban has a great burst of speed and is known for being more of an offensive defenseman -- and the flip side of that coin is that he can be a bit of a liability in his own end because of that. This is somewhat of a make or break year for Subban, who is in the final year of his Entry Level Contract, and perhaps joining an organization known for its defensive strength will help him take his game to the next level.
Joining the Kings’ system doesn’t make Subban’s path to the NHL any clearer, given that Ontario’s been juggling eight defenseman (including one called up from the ECHL), and Subban’s chances of jumping over Paul LaDue and Kevin Gravel in the depth chart is very low for now.
Dowd is a prospect the Kings spent a lot of time being patient on -- drafted in the seventh round in 2009, Dowd completed all four years of his college eligibility and then spent nearly two full seasons in the AHL before making it full-time to the NHL.
Dowd is a bit of a victim of the numbers game. With the team winning games without Dowd in the lineup, and having acquired two veteran players in Torrey Mitchell and Jussi Jokinen who can play a depth center role, there simply wasn’t room for Dowd in the line-up anymore. The attempt to convert him to a wing didn’t work well enough for the team to be fully comfortable with it.
With Canucks center Bo Horvat due to miss around six weeks with a broken foot, and center Brandon Sutter out for at least another week with an undisclosed issue, the Canucks desperately need center depth, so Dowd will most certainly get playing time there.
Best of luck to Nic Dowd in Vancouver!