Today, the Kings announced they had signed 33-year-old Robyn Regehr to a two-year contract extension worth $6 million. The veteran, left-handed shooting defenseman was in the final year of a five-year, 20.1 million contract that he signed with the Calgary Flames.
I was never a big fan of the Regehr acquisition in the first place, when the Kings gave up a pair of second-round draft picks for him. By most accounts, he hadn’t been very good in the last two seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, and while I’ll admit he’s been more solid recently, he hasn’t exactly overwhelmed me in his time with the Kings since he was acquired before the trade deadline around two months ago. He’s been mainly playing on Drew Doughty’s left on the first pairing, and a lot of people think Doughty’s improved offense since Regehr arrived has been no coincidence as it’s allowed his game to be more offensive, but I beg to differ. Doughty’s luck was bound to turn eventually. I haven’t seen his game change at all. Since he’s been playing with Doughty, Regehr’s been logging a lot of ice time, averaging 21:16 per game in the regular season and 20:58 per game. I think a lot of times, Doughty and Jonathan Quick have bailed out Regehr. He is supposed to be a big, physical, solid defensive defenseman, and the Kings are hoping he’s going to do that for the next two years, but I don’t see Regehr as the same player he once was with the Flames. Perhaps keeping a guy like him around for the third defense pairing could be nice, but he’s being used on the first pairing, and based on what they’ll be paying him, it doesn’t appear the Kings see him as a guy on the third pairing anytime soon. Unfortunately, I think this is another example of Darryl Sutter and Dean Lombardi playing favourites.
What this signing does do, though, is clear up some uncertainty on the Kings blue line next year. Other than Regehr, Doughty, Matt Greene and Willie Mitchell are the only Kings defensemen under contract for next season, and Mitchell is a 36-year-old, injury-prone player who’s missed this entire season because of a knee injury, so even he is a question mark for next year. Rob Scuderi will be an unrestricted free agent after this season, while Slava Voynov, Jake Muzzin, Keaton Ellerby and Alec Martinez will all be restricted free agents. Voynov appears to be a star in the making, and since he’ll only be a restricted free agent, we can assume the Kings will bring him back. Muzzin has struggled in the playoffs, but overall he still had an impressive rookie season, and Sutter appears to be a big fan of his, so I assume he’ll be back. So, that would appear to set the Kings’ regular six defensemen for next year. I can definitely see at least one of Ellerby and Martinez being brought back for depth, as well. Am I the only one who doesn’t see a place for Scuderi with the Kings next season? Scuderi and Regehr are similar players, so considering that, as well as the way the Kings’ blue line looks for next season, I’m not sure I see Scuderi coming back. That’s unfortunate, because Scuderi has been a good player for the Kings. If the Kings are only going to have one of Regehr and Scuderi next year, well, this Regehr extension shows to me that they made the wrong choice. But, we’ll see what happens. Hopefully Regehr proves me wrong and does a good job for the Kings for the next two years.
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