I considered writing a farewell article to Jonathan Bernier. I changed my mind. You only live life looking forward. Today, there are three pieces to the L.A. Kings’ present and future. Let’s see what we got.
Surly gave you links and videos. I have spent the last 3 + hours reading about each player and chatting with people who have seen both players first hand. In that three hours, Dean’s reasons for going with this specific deal with Toronto came into focus.
Let me describe a player to you. 6 feet tall and a thick 200 pounds with powerful legs and torso, terrific balance and able to leverage his low center of gravity into bone rattling body checks, including against players taller and heavier than him. Tough to knock off the puck, right handed, heavy wrist shot, average hockey sense, deceptive speed (especially while possessing the puck) and is at his best when he plays with a physical edge. Plays right wing but can score just as well from the left side.
Who did I just describe?
You are close.
That is Matt Frattin.
And if the analogy to Dustin Brown was a bit eerie, you just realized why we traded for him.
The book on Frattin reads like one where the best chapters are coming up. His background as a Sioux likely tugged on Dean’s heart-strings as Lombardi is a big fan of North Dakota’s hockey program.
What’s more, Frattin brings what Lombardi and Sutter will likely hope is not just depth for the sake of depth but lines that are built similarly from one to four. While some project Frattin to play the right side, I see the opposite. I see him eventually (although perhaps not immediately) fitting on the left side (akin to Brown) with Tyler Toffoli on his right and a playmaking center in the middle. Who is at center? Don’t know yet. Too many options at this point. Frattin played his best for Toronto when he had Nazem Kadri in the middle. And that is what a true power forward needs. A center that can open a lane with his skill and skating while the wing drives through it to the net.
Matt Frattin does have an injury past, specifically his knee. I don’t know if he’s completely healthy. He sure looked good against the Boston Bruins during the playoffs and he had to be healthy, and a little crazy, to go after Zdeno Chara as often as he did, eh? Crazy is good. Crazy built like a truck, with speed, hell-bent on flattening opponents wins playoff games.
About the Benjamin…
Ben Scrivens is a back up goalie. And before you get excited and expect me to write a detailed history of his potential to become a number one, prepare to be disappointed. I don’t have it. While Frattin has some nice chapters ahead, Scrivens is a bunch of blank pages. And that’s alright with me. We don’t have anyone in the system that is ready to play at the NHL level and back up Jonathan Quick. This fact alone has likely caused Dean Lombardi some heartburn. Now we do.
Will Scrivens perform as admirably as Jonathan Bernier? Don’t know. Goalies are a funny breed and I don’t mean funny ha ha, but funny weird. I have been told that Scrivens is intense and works hard. He does not give up on the play, which sometimes makes for some highlight reel saves. He has good size at 6’2″ and a lean 192.
What he appears to lack (from hearsay) is speed. Similar to Quick and unlike Bernier, Scrivens is a butterfly goalie but he doesn’t have Quick’s explosive foot work. He covers the low post, like butterflies do, and it will be educational to see how he deals with the Western Conference crash the crease (and bump the goalie) style as well the traffic jams that the top goalies out West have to maneuver to see pucks.
Here is a Ben Scrivens’ tribute video that makes him look good.
That leaves us with the second rounder. This one’s easy. Dean has been gold with those.
I went through an entire hockey article without cursing…fuck it, let’s keep it that way.
Categories: L.A. Kings News