Kings sign defenseman Christian Folin for one year, $850K - LA Kings Insider

Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI

The Kings announced on Saturday that they signed former Minnesota Wild defenseman Christian Folin to a one-year, $850K contract. Signing the right-handed blue liner provides more NHL-level depth to the Kings organization following the departure of Brayden McNabb in the expansion draft and with the context that there are still young defensemen in Kevin Gravel and Paul LaDue who are expected to continue to grow into wider roles.

The move also provides balance on the blue line with right-handed shots in Drew Doughty, Paul LaDue and Folin, and left-handed shots in Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez and Kevin Gravel. Gravel and Martinez are both versatile players who can play on either the right or left, though Martinez has far more experience at the NHL level playing on his off-side.

Earlier check-ins indicated that the Kings were also happy with Kurtis MacDermid’s progress. The snarling, nasty left-shot defenseman has served as a physical force on the Ontario blue line for the last two seasons, though he would have to clear waivers should the team attempt to assign him to the Reign after he competes for a role in training camp.

Last summer, the Kings had explored the idea of trading for Folin, as reported by Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Russo, who does a tremendous job covering not only the Wild, but the entire NHL, shared some context on Folin’s departure from Minnesota:

The Wild would still like to sign Folin to a two-way contract, but at this point, one would think the big defenseman will test free agency when the market opens Saturday to see if he can get a one-way contract.

Folin would have been uninterested in his QO because it’s a two-way that pays him something like $35,000 in the minors.

And the Wild was uninterested in giving him a QO because he would have likely filed for arbitration and gotten a one-way. The Winnipeg Jets just signed Ben Chiarot, a possible Folin comparable, to a two-year deal worth $1.4 million annually.

If Folin got an award in that vicinity, that just wouldn’t have been doable for the Wild.

As reported by Fox Sports, Folin underwent shoulder surgery in May but is expected to ready for the start of training camp. A UMass-Lowell product, Folin’s introduction to North America was well captured by Russo in this 2014 Star-Tribune piece. More scouting on Folin is available via Dobber Prospects, The Hockey News and Hockey Wilderness.

A defensive defenseman at 6-foot-3 and 204 pounds, Folin is coming off a 51-game campaign in Minnesota in which he totaled two goals, eight points and a plus 10 rating and has four goals, 23 points and a plus-15 rating in 118 career games. Hits aren’t a particularly illulminating statistic, but he led all Wild defenders with 1.2 hits per game in 2016-17. His 46.9 raw CF% produced a -2.65 CF%Rel.

Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI

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