The Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup last season with veteran defensemen Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene patrolling their blue line and playing important minutes. Mitchell and Greene are injured and may not play again this season, so Kings general manager Dean Lombardi went about trying to replace some of that experienced grit by acquiring Robyn Regehr from the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night.
The Kings gave the Sabres two second-round draft picks -- one in the 2014 NHL Draft and the other in the 2015 draft -- in exchange for Regehr, 6-foot-3, 225-pound blueliner who played in the 2004 Stanley Cup Final with the Calgary Flames.
The deal is contingent on Regehr passing a physical.
"We will withhold comment on the trade until after the medical exam is completed," Lombardi said.
Regehr, 32, is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after the season. He has a no-movement clause in his contract, so he had to approve the trade.
"Los Angeles had expressed interest a couple of weeks ago; [it] developed over that time period," Buffalo GM Darcy Regier said in a Monday night conference call. "I had some discussions with [Regehr] and his agent individually. It was a decision we made together.
"He was fine with being moved to Los Angeles."
In Regehr, the Kings are getting a player who is very much like Mitchell in that he can log big minutes if called upon, play on the first-unit penalty kill, and be a force on the back end because of his size and experience.
Regehr has two assists this season, but he logs more than 18 minutes per game, including more than three minutes on the penalty kill and 2:18 on the power play.
"This gives him an opportunity to challenge for a Stanley Cup," Regier said. "For us, it was an opportunity to get draft picks and make our club stronger."
Regier said the draft picks give the Sabres flexibility as they rebuild the club. The Sabres, he said, can either use the picks to select top-60 players in the 2014 and 2015 drafts, or they can package the picks down the road in bids to land more established players.
"We are going to look at building this team not just to make the playoffs, but go deep in the playoffs, Regier said.
It's possible Kings coach Darryl Sutter, who coached Regehr in Calgary, will start the veteran defender on the third pair with either Keaton Ellerby or Alec Martinez. The Kings top-two pairs are Rob Scuderi with Slava Voynov and Drew Doughty with Jake Muzzin, who was the NHL's Rookie of the Month in March.
Regehr, a first-round pick for the Colorado Avalanche in 1998, has played in 931 career games and has 170 points, 879 penalty minutes and a plus-14 rating. He has played in 41 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, but none since 2008.
In addition, Kings forward Dustin Penner has been placed on injured reserve (retroactive to March 31) due to a lower-body injury.