The Kings’ signing of Ethan Moreau to a one-year, $600,000 contract is now official, and I’m hoping to get Moreau for a quick chat this afternoon. For now, here’s what assistant general manager Ron Hextall had to say about the Moreau signing…
Question: This is an experienced guy with a history of leadership — being a former captain — and some gritty play. What was the primary motivation in terms of bringing him aboard?
HEXTALL: “It’s a combination of those things. It’s leadership. He’s been a captain. He’s been to the Finals. He’s got a lot of intangibles that we value. He’s a veteran presence. I think when you lose a Michal Handzus, you’ve got to try to compensate for that. I think Michal brought a lot to the table that we need to replace. Mike Richards brings a lot of intangibles in, no question, but we lost some size there as well with Handzus and Ponikarovsky, and we felt like we wanted to bring it back into the lineup because it was valuable to us during the playoffs. Again, it’s the intangibles. He’s a hard-nosed, win-at-all-costs kind of player, and those are clearly the players that you win with when it comes down to it. So we’re excited about Ethan and he’s excited about being here. He knows a lot of our players and he’s very comfortable here. I know he spends his offseasons here and his brother is here, so there are a lot of things that were attractive to us, but I guess in the end it was the intangibles, if you had to put it down to one word.”
Question: What are the conversations like, when you talk to him? Obviously he’s a bit of an older guy and the role might not be the same as he has had in the past. Is a guy like that accepting that things might change a little?
HEXTALL: “It’s funny. I had a conversation with him two days ago, and his whole motivation, the only thing he talked about, was winning the Cup. Here’s a guy who has played a long time, and he has been close, and his full motivation is to win the Cup. When you have guys with that mentality, they’re going to accept their role and do what they can for the team. I think Ethan understands that he’s not 20 years old anymore. He’s going to be in a role and he’s going to do the best he can in his role. He’s got a great attitude and, from everything we’ve heard about him, he’s a wonderful young man and he’s going to help our group. I think that when you get an Ethan Moreau in with guys like Kyle Clifford and Drew Doughty and Alec Martinez, he rubs off on them, just as Michal Handzus has in the past. Ethan Moreau is going to be that type of guy.
Question: And what does this do for you on the ice? I know a lot of it is up to Terry Murray, but when you look at it on paper, with Moreau, what type of options or versatility do you see on those third and fourth lines?
HEXTALL: “It’s really hard to say. Training camp and preseason will help that play out. Ethan plays both wings. I think he’s a little more comfortable on the left side but he can play both wings. Scott Parse can play both wings, so we’ve got some flexibility that’s going to have to play out. To sit here right now and say I can project where he’s going to be, I can’t necessarily say that. But again, we’ve got the flexibility with him and Parse both being able to play the right side. They’re going to have to play it out in camp, among a number of guys, and we’ll see what fits. When you try to do line combinations before the year, you put them on paper and then you get into it and you go, `Nah, this isn’t working.’ They’re hard to project, but Ethan, he’s an honest player. He’s a straight-line player and I think he’s an easy guy to play with, so I think he will fit into numerous roles.”