Keaton Ellerby to L.A.
The Kings acquired lefthanded defenseman Keaton Ellerby from the Florida Panthers in exchange for a fifth round pick in the 2013 NHL draft. The fifth round pick was the one acquired Wednesday in the trade that sent Andrei Loktionov to New Jersey. As the result of the trade, defenseman Andrew Campbell was assigned to Manchester after spending two days in Nashville without appearing in a game.
Ellerby, 24, provides a sizeable depth option on the Kings’ blue line; whether he provides anything more than that depends on L.A.’s success in coaxing development out of the 6-foot-5, 217 pound blueliner, an endeavor that Florida had found limited success in since he was selected 10th overall in 2007. Ellerby had fallen out of favor with the Panthers, with whom he had been used as a third pairing defenseman and had been passed over in usage by Mike Weaver and the emergence of Tyson Strachan. His best NHL season was 2010-11, when he posted 12 points (2-10=12) and 22 penalty minutes in 54 games. His 36 penalty minutes in nine games this season represents a career high at the NHL level, and his eight minor penalties were the most on the Panthers’ roster. Having seen Ellerby play in juniors, yes, there is a sandpaper element in his on-ice composition.
There aren’t very many defensive options available via trade. Available top-four types are scarce. Though he never truly blossomed with the Panthers, there’s certainly some upside in Ellerby’s game, and perhaps this is one of those “change-of-scenery”-type trades that provides a needed change for a young defenseman who continues to refine his game. Considering what appears to be out there on the trade market, this appears to be an appropriate acquisition at a low cost. The Kings are allowing three goals per game – partially due to the absence of Matt Greene and Willie Mitchell – and while Ellerby’s arrival shouldn’t be seen as a solution to the team’s uncharacteristic defensive issues, it’s a move that adds size and strength and an additional option to the back end.
As The Royal Half pointed out, he is a first cousin of Shane Doan, a fellow former Kamloops Blazer. Carey Price is Ellerby’s second cousin.
UPDATE: Ellerby will wear #5 with the Kings.