Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dwayne & Dustin

The off-season acquisition of D.J. King triggered the salivary glands of many a Caps fan who has longed for the physical, pugilistic side of hockey. The man is massive; a "heavyweight among heavyweights," and his size, grit and intimidation factor should open up a lot of space for teammates.

But could he be used in a more Caps-type role as well? There is a player, new to the Southeast Division, who provided the same size and physical presence to last year's eventual Stanley Cup Champions. This player put Chris Pronger on his tail bone several times and scored 11 goals total in 22 post season games, including 5 playoff game winners.

Could D.J. King be the Caps' Dustin Byfuglien?

Byfuglien, the defenseman-turned-right winger, hammered opposing defensemen down low. He was impossible to move and when the play entered the corners, he dropped even the biggest and toughest of opponents. While he only managed point totals in the mid-30's in his time in Chicago, he proved invaluable to the success of the team. He created space for his superbly talented teammates. And he did so without great hands or speed.

At 6'3", 230 lbs, King gives up 2" and 35 lbs to Byfuglien. But from what I've witnessed, he might be every bit as strong and just as immovable in front of the net. While he was brought on to be a "big brother" to the Caps' more skilled forwards, he himself could prove to be just what the doctor ordered, offensively. Just as Mike Knuble has made a living within 5' of the net, King could establish himself as the massive screen that all goalies hate. He could draw penalties by simply standing stationary atop the crease. Oh, and he can fight.

I'm not saying Coach Boudreau should put King on the second line by any means. But he could add to the productivity of the already skilled 3rd or 4th lines. At the very least, when Atlanta is in town, he can saddle himself next to Byfuglien (returned to his original defensive position) and create some havoc in front of the net.

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