jack johnson getty

LeBrun: Kings execs say Jack Johnson’s “in play”


In their weekly chat, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside discussed the dwindling defenseman market heading into the trade deadline and some of the big names still available.

The biggest name of all? Los Angeles defenseman Jack Johnson.

From the Cross Checks Blog:

I had a few team executives this week tell me he’s in play but only for the type of deal that hands the Kings the top-line forward they’ve been craving. Shut out 1-0 at home by Phoenix Thursday night, I have to imagine Kings GM Dean Lombardi will be even more determined in his efforts to land Rick Nash. Jeff Carter and Ales Hemsky are other possibilities. The Kings can’t score and must make the playoffs. Lots of pressure there.

While it would seem odd to part with Johnson 13 months after signing him to a seven-year, $30.5 million deal, Lombardi’s clearly in “you gotta give to get” territory. Softening the blow of losing Johnson would be that L.A. is solid defensively — Drew Doughty, Willie Mitchell, Rob Scuderi and Matt Greene make for a good top-four — and there’s a plethora of young blueline prospects in the system.

21-year-old Slava Voynov has played 33 games for the Kings this year and has been lauded by head coach Darryl Sutter. 22-year-old Thomas Hickey, the fourth overall pick at the 2007 draft, is one of the leading d-man scorers in Manchester and 19-year-old Derek Forbort — taken 15th overall in 2010 — is still plying his trade for the University of North Dakota.

One more thing to consider with Johnson? According to Capgeek, he doesn’t have a no-trade or no-movement clause.

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One
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Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.

We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.

It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”

Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)

Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.

So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”

… You get the idea.

The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.

The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara

Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.

It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.

The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.

As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.

Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?

The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.

This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.