Los Angeles has added some depth to its banged-up blue line, acquiring defenseman Keaton Ellerby from the Florida Panthers for the fifth-round draft pick the Kings got from New Jersey for Andrei Loktionov.
Ellerby, 24, has no points in nine games this season while logging an average of 15:11. The 10th overall pick in the 2007 draft has 17 points (2G, 15A) in 125 career games.
Ellerby — a pending restricted free agent on a one-year $700,000 contract — is expected to join his new team in Nashville, where it lost 3-0 to the Predators last night.
The trade shouldn’t come as a surprise. Kings GM Dean Lombardi has been working the phones in search of blue-line help. His team is currently without the services of Willie Mitchell (knee) and Matt Greene (back).
“Right now we have to operate on the premise Willie and Greener are done for the year,” Lombardi told Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times.
“If [Mitchell] comes back it’s a tremendous bonus. If not, we can’t continue to rely on that. We’ve got to get in that mindset.”