The LA Kings announced today that the organization has signed defenseman Christian Wolanin to a one-year, two-way contract extension. His new deal will pay him $725,000 at the NHL level, keeping him with the organization for his first full season.
Wolanin was acquired by the Kings in a midseason deal with the Ottawa Senators, in exchange for forward Michael Amadio. At the time, the deal represented a change of scenery for both players, with neither firmly cementing a position with their old organizations, but with the hope of a better fit with the teams they moved to.
Wolanin’s journey with the Kings was brief, yet still proved to be quite eventful. With the unique state of the 2020-21 season, his tenure with the organization began with a mandatory quarantine, before he was initially assigned to the AHL’s Ontario Reign. After two games, in which he tallied three assists as a leader on a young blueline, Wolanin was recalled to the Kings.
The North Dakota product skated in three games with the Kings in April, collected two shots on goal and a +1 rating. Initially, Wolanin was acquired when the Kings were a bit more in need of defensive depth, though by the time he was actually able to play, the team was a bit more solidified on the left side, resulting in fewer opportunities. As noted in Wolanin’s season in review piece, from April 30 thorugh the end of the season, the Kings used the same configuration on the backend in all remaining games, as Olli Maatta and Matt Roy both returned to the lineup.
In total, the 6-2, 190-pound defenseman has appeared in 61 NHL games since the 2017-18 season, posting 18 points (5-13=18). Selected by Ottawa in the fourth-round (107th overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft, he has also appeared in 52 games in the AHL, recording 35 points (8-27=35) and a plus-11 rating.
Wolanin also went on to represent Team USA at the at the IIHF World Championships in Latvia, and turned in a solid performance. With six points (1-5-6) and a +8 rating from 10 games played, Wolanin helped his country earn a bronze medal alongside Kings teammates Roy, Cal Petersen and Trevor Moore. The Kings blueliner ranked tied for fifth amongst all skaters in assists and was tied for the overall tournament lead in assists amongst defensemen, while ranking tied for second amongst defensemen in overall scoring. Wolanin has now appeared in two World Championships in the red, white and blue.
Looking ahead, Wolanin has earned an opportunity to experience a full training camp with the Kings in September, with a full offseason to assimilate himself into the Kings systems, and the way the organization likes to play. Things like that can be challenging on the fly, for a midseason acquisition, and he now has another opportunity in the fall.
Wolanin slots in as one of six left-shot defensemen under contract that played NHL games during the 2020-21 season, which gives the organization depth at the position.