The Kings started their trade deadline day with a pair of peripheral deals Friday, beginning with the trade of winger Brendan Lemieux and a 2024 fifth-round pick to the Philadelphia Flyers for winger Zack MacEwen.
MacEwen, 26, plays a style and role similar to Lemieux’s: brash, physical and unabashed when it comes to taking a penalty. He has 233 penalty minutes in 176 career games, due in part to a healthy number of fighting majors. Last year he had 12, two shy of the league leader, and this year his six fights place him in the top 10 in the NHL.
He was an unsigned free agent out of Quebec’s top junior league, and got a taste of the NHL postseason in 2020 with his first pro club, the Vancouver Canucks. The 6-foot-3, 200-plus pound MacEwen then established himself over the past two seasons, fittingly, on Broad Street, where the Flyers were once notorious for their pugilistic bent.
Lemieux arrived in Los Angeles, after stints with the New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets, with a similar reputation to MacEwen’s as well as the pedigree of a former first-round pick and a second-generation NHL player. His father, Claude, was a unique figure in league history, blending abject nastiness with a knack for clutch offensive contributions and winning the Stanley Cup with three franchises.
The younger Lemieux played 18 games during the shortened 2021 season for the Kings after arriving in a trade with the Rangers, 50 games last season as a regular on the fourth line who had his campaign disrupted by injury and illness, and just 27 games so far this season. An injury and, more recently, a personal situation contributed to his absences. But he was also a healthy scratch on numerous occasions as the Kings’ bottom-six forward group tilted more toward scoring balance than energy and grit.
The Kings also made a minor-league-oriented transaction Friday morning. They traded defenseman Frederic Allard to the Montreal Canadiens, whom the Kings beat 3-2 on Thursday, and will receive forward Nate Schnarr in return.
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Allard had some time with the big club as a depth player, but he and Schnarr have spent the entire season in the American Hockey League in terms of actual competition. Schnarr, 24, has just seven points at that level this year and had his most notable campaign as a 20-year-old at the junior level with Drew Doughty’s old team, the Guelph Storm.
Allard, 25, had a commensurate number of points as a defenseman in 30 AHL games, and has one game of NHL experience from a prior stint with the Nashville Predators.