McBAIN V: The Final Chapter

The LA Kings already-short defense was dealt another blow last week when Robyn Regehr went down with an undisclosed injury. And, to complicate matters, the Kings were left just pennies short of being able to call up a replacement.

But one man has decided that he’s stood idly by for too long.

Enter: Jamie McBain

Seeing as he was just signed a professional tryout with the Manchester Monarchs, McBain couldn’t quite believe his fortunes when he heard there was suddenly an open spot on the Kings roster.

Se he quickly handed over his dressing room keys back to the Monarchs.

But when he heard what happened to Regehr, McBain swore swift vengeance.

So what do Kings fans need to know about their new defensemen?

We here at The Royal Half reached out to our friends at Two in the Box and Section 328 to see what they could tell us about McBain’s days with the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes.

@2ITB_Buffalo from Two in the Box

Jamie McBain has the opportunity to join an elite club that boasts such names and Robb Stauber, Alexei Zhitnik, Robyn Regehr and Bryaden McNabb… That club, of course, is that of the few lucky players to don both a Sabres and Kings sweater during their careers.

McBain was acquired by the Sabres in a trade that saw Andrej Sekera shipped to Carolina for the American rearguard and a second round selection. McBain, who enjoyed early success in the league was not nearly the player he was as a rookie when the Sabres acquired him and should the player Buffalo picked with that second round selection (JT Compher) not pan out, it will be one of Darcy Regier’s ugliest trades.

In 69 games last season, McBain managed the second-worst Corsi rating on the roster sitting just behind his typical defense partner, Mike Weber. So if you were hoping that McBain was going to be another Corsi darling like Jake Muzzin, you’re sorely mistaken. He has some nice offensive traits to his game, as he can lug the puck and could be an asset on the man advantage given the quality of LA’s roster. The biggest problem in Buffalo was that his average defensive abilities were amplified playing on a very bad roster and no matter how much fun it is to use Simpsons videos and screenshots when he scores, he was often doing more harm than good.

However, he has shown the propensity to get lost in the defensive zone. Which is bad, because he’s a defenseman. I gather McBain is getting a long look due to the Kings’ cap crunch and if his minutes are handled properly, he could be a somewhat serviceable addition. But if he’s pushed into bigger minutes, the wheels could fall off quickly.

@Section_328 from Section 328

Jamie McBain was once viewed by many Hurricanes fans and front office types as a promising young player, capable of filling Jim Rutherford’s insatiable lust for a puck-moving defenseman who has no idea what the words “finish your check” mean. McBain made his NHL debut in the 2009-10 season, and promptly put up 5 points in his first 4 games, including an OT buzzer beater.

He went on to score 10 points in 14 games that year, and followed it up with 30 and 27 in his first full NHL seasons. We’d seen over 150 games from him and liked his game to that point. He was a good passer, decent positionally, and boasted what we liked to call the “McBain ‘Fuck It’ Shot”. This shot, which he used to score at least one goal, was the hockey equivalent of a fadeaway. He’d have the puck near the blueline, start skating backwards in the offensive zone, damn near leaving it, and then snap one on net casually as all hell. We were quite pleased with him as a 2nd pairing d-man.

Then the lockout happened, and McBain apparently forgot how to stay in shape. Many began to question his conditioning, and I saw firsthand that he grew quite the set of moobs prior to the shortened season. After being a healthy scratch for a couple games, much like his chest, Jamie’s play began to sag, even scoring a gem of an own goal against the Jets.

In 40 games that season, he only posted 8 points, and was shipped out of town for a 2nd rounder.

McBain is a good passer, can be effective on the powerplay, has a pretty solid shot, and really seems to have all the tools. Problem is rarely is he seems to forget where half of those tools are on any given night. When Buffalo says you’re not good enough on defense to stay on the roster, that’s probably not a great sign for your NHL future. Perhaps he can borrow some of Jake Muzzin’s magical hockey potions. Then again, we’ve seen what happens to former Hurricanes once they play for the Kings. Allow us to be the first to congratulate Jamie McBain on winning the 2016 Conn Smythe Trophy.

So there you have it, Kings fans!

Let the McBain Era (and photoshops) begin!

PumperNicholl is a lifelong LA Kings fan and actually learned how to speak English from Bob Miller by watching LA Kings games… and the Police Academy movies. You should probably follow PumperNicholl on Twitter @pumpernicholl