“I didn’t live through the Robyn Regehr years only to see Jeff Schultz skate out of his ashes.”
Schultz might not be Darryl Sutter’s answer to the void that he believes Robyn Regehr left, but rest assured that Sutter and Lombardi are looking.
Every year this topic comes up. In 2013 it was Robyn Regehr. in 2014 it was Andrew MacDonald. Last season, it was Roman Polak. The latter article may be the most relevant as Polak is probably available – every word of that piece is still true.
Let’s take this a step further this season. The Kings do not need to change their defense at all. I don’t care that they aren’t physical. I don’t care that Dean Lombardi doesn’t like “the mix.” I don’t care! I really don’t.
The Kings defense has been excellent this season. They allow the second fewest shot attempts in the league. They allow the fourth fewest scoring chances. They allow the sixth fewest shots. They allow the third fewest goals.
Every single number out there points to a strong defense. Some of the numbers are better than a season ago, when they actually did have Robyn Regehr in the lineup every night. They’re allowing fewer scoring chances. They’re allowing fewer goals. They’re allowing fewer shot attempts. They’re doing all of this while dressing Jamie McBain on a regular basis.
Matt Greene is still out of the lineup for an undetermined amount of time. At some point, he will come back. If you insist on having a bruiser in the lineup, Greene is a solid option. I would rather see Greene in the lineup than McBain or Derek Forbort, but the change isn’t particularly important. In Forbort’s case, it’s probably important to figure out what he has to offer to this team anyway.
With a middle-of-the-pack save percentage (10th at 5v5), the Kings have limited goals at an excellent rate (3rd). This is due to their ability to suppress shots and tilt the ice the other way. This is all largely without any kind of noteworthy shutdown guy. Matt Greene has played in just three games while Jeff Schultz appeared in just one.
There just isn’t any other way to look at this team. The Kings do not need a defender. At all. They have an excellent defense that is playing well almost across the board: the only regular defender with a negative Corsi Rel on the entire team is Alec Martinez. They have excellent defensive forwards littering their top three lines. They have good goaltending. They’re fine! Legitimately. One hundred percent.
If the Kings want to make a change to their roster, the only thing they need to improve is their depth at the forward position. Otherwise, they should stand pat and stay in a very good position to make another run through the playoffs.