Washington Capitals acquire rugged winger D.J. King

By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 29, 2010; D03

The Washington Capitals added a significant amount of toughness to their lineup Wednesday by acquiring rugged right wing D.J. King in a trade with the St. Louis Blues.

Hours before being dealt, King signed a two-year contract worth $625,000 next season and $650,000 in 2011-12. Washington sent prospect Stefan Della Rovere, a seventh-round pick in 2008, to St. Louis in exchange for King, who figures to be the enforcer they've lacked since Donald Brashear's departure via free agency last summer.

A 6-foot-3, 230-pound native of Saskatchewan, King appeared in only 13 games the past two seasons because of injuries. In 2008-09, he hurt his shoulder in his first contest of the season and needed season-ending surgery. Last season, he injured his hand in a fight with Dallas's Krys Barch, also in his first game of the season, before returning and playing in 11 games down the stretch.

His hand, which also required surgery, is completely healed, he said.

"I was a little worried when I tested it when I got back last year," said King, a sixth-round draft pick in 2002 who has appeared in 101 NHL games, netting four goals, nine points and racking up 185 penalty minutes. "But after that, there's been no worries about it at all."

The trade did not catch King completely off guard. He said he suspected he might be on the move after the Blues re-signed enforcer Cam Janssen on July 6.

Della Rovere, meantime, has represented Canada internationally and was captain of the Barrie (Ont.) Colts last season. But he did not stand out during Washington's summer development camp earlier this month.

With the addition of King, the Capitals have 13 forwards under contract for next season when prospect Marcus Johansson is included.

Despite playing in only a dozen games last season, King dropped the gloves five times while averaging 4 minutes 30 seconds of ice time. He was involved in a combined 22 fights in 2006-07 and 2007-08, when he appeared in a career-high 61 games with St. Louis. The Capitals, by comparison, had 20 fights all of last season.

That total, however, is likely to go up. When King was told what Pittsburgh's Max Talbot had to say about Alex Ovechkin on Tuesday -- the Penguins winger said "I just hate the guy" and called the Capitals' captain a name -- he shot back, "Wow. I guess that's not going to be happening too much longer."

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