Los Angeles Trade Deadline Targets: Please Not Roman Polak
Please, no. PLEASE.
As Andrew explained in his piece on Jeff Petry, the Kings are probably looking to add a defenseman at the upcoming trade deadline.
There are some good defensemen available. Many even. The aforementioned Jeff Petry. James Wisniewski. Andrej Sekera.
Not Roman Polak.
Unfortunately, just over a week ago, hockey media deity Elliotte Friedman reported that the Kings are interested in the big, immobile, stay-at-home defenseman. Yikes.
Let's cut to the chase: Roman Polak is bad, and has been bad for a long time. Courtesy of Own The Puck, we have very quick access to Roman Polak performance in comparison to the rest of the league since the beginning of the 2012/13 season. It's...not pretty.
Roman Polak is receiving second-pairing minutes and playing like a barely-above average bottom-pairing defender. He does have moderately interesting results in terms of suppressing shots (UA FA60), but does so every other thing so poorly that the overall scale still tips against him. He doesn't produce points. He doesn't produce shots or shot attempts. He doesn't do much of anything.
Okay, but maybe that's skewed by his numbers in the rough-and-tumble Central Division during his tenure with the Blues. Perhaps he has been passable since joining the Maple Leafs. Mayb--NO. No, he hasn't been decent. He hasn't been good. He hasn't been average. He's been one of the worst defenders on one of the worst defensive teams in the league.
Toronto has the 4th-worst shot attempts allowed rate in the NHL at 60.3 shot attempts conceded per 60 minutes. While Roman Polak is on the ice, the Leafs allow 61.6 shot attempts against per 60 minutes. Polak is worse than average. On the Leafs. The LEAFS. I can't stress enough how bad both the Maple Leafs and Roman Polak are.
If you limit it to just scoring chances against, the Leafs drop to the 2nd-worst number in the league at 32.2 allowed per 60. Once again, Polak finds himself right around the Leafs' average at 31.8 scoring chances conceded per 60. Though he (barely) eclipses the Leafs' average here, the Leafs produce so few scoring chances with him on the ice that his scoring chance percentage relative to his team (think corsi rel but for scoring chances instead) is still the 2nd-worst on the Leafs.
Is he even better than what the Kings already have? Since Jamie McBain would be the player Polak's likely to replace, here are McBain's numbers in the same time frame:
No. He's not better, and might be worse. Basically, if you have two routes that go in entirely different paths but wind up at the same place, you get Roman Polak and Jamie McBain. Going with Jamie McBain means you have to travel a longer distance to take the highway to hell, but with Roman Polak you're stuck sitting at stoplights on the surface streets to hell. Meanwhile, good players might not take you to hell at all. Don't let the Maple Leafs drag you to the underworld, Kings. You don't want to go to there.
If the Kings were to trade for Roman Polak, they'd be stuck with him next season. Polak signed a 5-year extension worth $12.75m with the Blues in June of 2011. That works out to a $2.75m cap hit. For a team that's already going to find itself pressed to make room for players like Justin Williams next year, taking on dead weight would not help them in the slightest.