The L.A. Kings have been scouting the Pittsburgh Penguins, for more than two weeks. Kings scouts have followed the Penguins from San Jose to four games in Pittsburgh.
Multiple Kings scouts came for a look, including former NHL defenseman Matt Greene.
Now, our old friends at the credentialed L.A. Kings site MayorsManor.com, with whom we’ve been communicating to dig up some dirt on this potential deal, has informed Pittsburgh Hockey Now the Penguins scouted the Ontario Reign, last night.
Where there is this much smoke, there is fire.
Speculatively, there are a few notable potentials in Ontario:
3. Brett Sutter, C
Jim Rutherford once rescued Sutter’s career while he was the Carolina Hurricanes General Manager. Sutter was struggling in Calgary, and his father Darryl who was the GM felt Brett needed a change of scenery. Rutherford obliged.
Brett Sutter, 30, has 60 NHL games on his stat sheet, most with Carolina. While he has not been a consistent performer in the NHL, Sutter could be experienced, inexpensive center depth.
2. Jordan Subban, D
PK and Malcolm’s little brother is exactly that: little. Jordan Subban, 22, is 5′-9, stocky, struggles defensively at times but can skate, run a power play, and has a good shot.
You’re forgiven if you’re immediate thought was–Kris Letang! However, Subban does not have the physical style or shutdown abilities which separate Letang. After being named an AHL All-Star last season, Subban’s star is fading. In December, the Kings acquired Subban for aging prospect Nic Dowd.
Subban has six points (3g, 3a) in 14 games for the Kings AHL affiliate.
The Kings, who value size, don’t seem to be the best fit for the small rearguard. Perhaps the Penguins believe the Blue Line Whisperer, Sergei Gonchar, can help Subban reach his potential.
1. Oscar Fantenberg, D
If the Kings have their eyes on someone valuable, Ian Cole or Conor Sheary, then Fantenberg could be Rutherford’s prime target. In 26 NHL games this season, Fantenberg scored nine points (2g, 7a).
Fantenberg, 25, signed an ELC in May after one year in the KHL and three in the Swedish Elite League. Last season, in the KHL, Fantenberg had 23 points (3g, 20a) in 44 games.
He is 6′, 210 pounds, a left-handed shot, but most importantly, he plays “fast”. Fantenberg is said to have good vision, transition skills and is working on his defensive ability. If not for the Kings overloaded blue line, Fantenberg would likely be in the NHL.
Michael Mersch is an honorable mention. Mersch, a LW, played 17 NHL games in 2015-16 but hasn’t received the call since. He is a favorite of the Reign coaches, but his skating ability is below NHL standards.