The Kings cleared some space in their bottom six, as well as bolstered their talent in net, by trading forward Andy Andreoff to the Tampa Bay Lightning today, in exchange for the return of goaltender Peter Budaj.
Budaj, as you’ll remember, was a part of the Kings organization during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. He spent nearly all of his time in 2015-16 with the Ontario Reign, rebuilding his game after several disappointing seasons in the Canadiens’ organization. Slated as the Kings’ third string goalie, Budaj took on a starting role for the Kings in 2016-17, following the nearly season-long injury to Jonathan Quick and the faltering performance of Jeff Zatkoff. Budaj played in 53 games for the Kings that season, winning 27 of them, with a GAA of 2.12 and a save percentage of .917.
Budaj was traded to the Lightning in exchange for Ben Bishop. Budaj’s season with the Lightning in 2017-18 was hampered by injuries; split between the AHL and NHL, Budaj only played 10 games.
Bringing Budaj back for this season provides extra insurance in net and an additional mentor for Cal Petersen. Jack Campbell is still expected to back up Jonathan Quick full-time this year, meaning that Budaj will be in Ontario, splitting time with Petersen. In a scenario where Quick or Campbell are out for any extended period of time, having Budaj available will mean that Petersen will not have to be pushed up to the NHL before he is ready.
Budaj is under contract for this season with a cap hit of $1,025,000.
With more players for bottom six slots than there are, well, slots available, trading Andy Andreoff helps free up space there. Trading him now provides at least a tangible asset for the Kings, as opposed to potentially losing him on waivers at the start of next season.
Andreoff was a 2011 draft pick of the Kings, selected in the third round. Over 159 games, Andreoff scored 24 points (13G, 11A) and was largely slotted into the role of utlility player, being able to slot into any bottom-six type position. (Plus that one time he played on the top line.) He also racked up 214 penalty minutes during his NHL tenure.
A player more known for his grit and willingness to drop the gloves than his slick hands, he’ll now be filling that role out on the east coast. Best of luck to Andy Andreoff in his time with the Lightning, and welcome back, Peter!