Thrown in with the complications of trying to make it to Dodger Stadium for the media skate and festivities two nights ago, and somewhat obscured by the roster moves in which Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Schultz were recalled, the Kings made a minor trade on Wednesday in which Brandon Kozun was sent to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forward Andrew Crescenzi.
After last night’s game in Anaheim, I spoke briefly with Rob Blake about the trade, and he indicated that it was partly to bring in a player who had two years remaining on his contract. Kozun is an unrestricted free agent after this season.
Crescenzi is also two years younger than Kozun, who had cleared waivers earlier in the season and had been passed over with the emergence of Tanner Pearson, Linden Vey and Tyler Toffoli and the next wave of Los Angeles forward prospects that includes the emerging Jordan Weal and Nick Shore. There’s also Scott Sabourin and Andy Andreoff, though they don’t fit the same role as the skilled Kozun, who led the Canadian Hockey Leagues in scoring with 107 points in 2009-10.
A stick tap to Jewels from the Crown for pointing me in the direction of Maple Leafs blog Pension Plan Puppets, which ranked Crescenzi 25th amongst the top 25 prospects in the team’s system.
Of the several reviews I’ve read about Crescenzi, I’ve seen descriptions such as “hulking” and “checking center.” He’s 6-foot-5 and has furthered his defensive game since he was signed as an undrafted free agent from the Kitchener Rangers program in September, 2010. He’s in his second full year of playing professionally after having split time with ECHL-San Francisco and AHL-Toronto last season, and in 32 games with the Marlies he posted two points (1-1=2) and 33 penalty minutes.
From Pension Plan Puppets:
While Crescenzi never did score significantly at the junior level, going forward it’s likely his strengths will lie in his physicality, his size, and his defensive game. Crescenzi is the prototypical checking centre to play for Brian Burke; big, good skater, willing to play with an edge, with a bit of skill.
Crescenzi has been added to the Monarchs’ roster.
So, in essence, the Kings picked up a prospect who profiles as a shutdown depth forward, is younger than the player they gave up, and is signed through 2015. The team was able to receive something for Kozun, who had cleared waivers and did not appear to be in the club’s plans heading forward.