Following the news earlier today that center Colin Fraser had cleared waivers, and that the two-time Stanley Cup winner is expected to report “later next week,” the Kings on Sunday afternoon made the roster move official. Fraser has been assigned to Manchester.
While there is still the strong possibility that we’ll see Fraser back in Los Angeles, this news does deserve a reflection on what the veteran who appeared in 134 regular season and 34 playoff games for the Kings meant in the team’s pursuit of a Stanley Cup.
That was the first goal of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final. Anze Kopitar book-ended that night’s scoring with an overtime goal, the prettiest big goal in club history.
For a player whose Kings career began inauspiciously as the player acquired during the “Mulletgate” dealings with the Edmonton Oilers after Ryan Smyth demanded a trade out of Los Angeles, it wasn’t ever clear in the summer and early fall of 2011 whether Fraser would play one game with the Kings. He ended up scoring a goal in his second game with the club and held down a consistent spot in the lineup, culminating with his participation in all but two games in the team’s Stanley Cup run – games that he missed due to a family health issue.
Off the ice, the genial Fraser was among the most approachable in the team’s dressing room and an accountable source of on-ice and off-ice analysis.
He’ll be well received in Manchester.
“I just know he’s an honest hockey player and watched him win a couple Stanley Cups, and I’m sure having him around these guys will be a positive for our team in general,” Monarchs coach Mark Morris said. “He’s a class act, and he’s a guy that’s a no-nonsense person. I’m sure he’ll be a good influence.”
Of course, there’s the possibility that there will be player movement that could return Fraser to the team’s dressing room in the near future. His placement on waivers was to help the team’s salary cap flexibility, and was “not a knock on Fraser,” as a member of the Kings hockey operations told LA Kings Insider.
“Well, if he does end up here, he’ll be seeing ice time. If he doesn’t show up, I wish him well,” Morris said. “If he goes back to L.A., that’s great for him. He deserves a lot of respect.”