The Los Angeles Kings hope that the signing of Keaton Ellerby from the Florida Panthers will revive their fortunes.
Punters betting on NHL backed the Kings to push on from last season’s Stanley Cup success. However, they have endured a difficult start to the current campaign but believe the acquisition of defenseman Ellerby will lift them.
The Kings have struggled defensively in the opening weeks of the year as the influential Matt Greene picked up an injury in the first game of the season and is currently recovering from a back operation while Willie Mitchell has still not completed his recuperation following knee surgery during the lockout.
“Right now, we have to operate on the premise that Willie and Greener are done for the year,” said the Kings’ General Manager Dean Lombardi.
“And we have to deal with it. Nothing has changed with Mitchell either way. If he comes back, it’s a tremendous bonus. But if not, we can’t continue to rely on that. We’ve got to get in that mind-set so that when he comes back it’s a total bonus, versus sitting and waiting and hoping.”
Ellerby, a former first-round draft choice in 2007, played the majority of his junior career in Kamloops, British Columbia.
The 24-year-old featured in 125 games for the Panthers, scoring two goals and 17 points but has lost his way recently.
Lombardi admits his signing is a risk, adding to NHL betting news reporters: “Very few players can come in at a young age and not have those ups and downs. Here’s a big kid, with a lot of potential but he has a number of things to work on.”
Ellerby, who appeared in nine games for Florida this season collecting zero points, joins a Kings team that is currently last in the Pacific division. He featured in 41 matches last season and had five assists.