Realistic: Derek Forbort (27, D, Los Angeles Kings)
It’s no secret that the Florida Panthers need to improve on the blue line, and a defensive-defenseman in his prime might be a prime target for Dale Tallon this coming month.
Derek Forbort has been one of the consistent names in the lineup for the Los Angeles Kings in the past three seasons. Up until this season, Forbort had played 95% of the season for LA since 2016, playing 80+ games twice.
Forbort’s numbers don’t jump out to the common fan, 50 points in 241 games for Los Angeles, +13 plus/minus, 454 blocks. Not awful numbers, but certainly not great, either. These last two seasons, however, have been nightmarish for the Kings.
After a stunning playoff elimination to the then-expansion Vegas Golden Knights, the Kings stumbled to the basement of the West, finishing with a 31-42-9 record, their worst in that decade. This season hasn’t seen much change, as the Kings are still well and truly stuck to the bottom of a Pacific Division that they owned at the start of this decade.
With playoff ambitions gone, the Kings may become one of the quickest sellers at the deadline, getting rid of some of the unnecessary pieces to free up roster space for younger prospects. Forbort, this season, has been practically excluded from the roster, ruled out with injury multiple times.
Forbort has played just six games this season, picking up one point, but has been relatively solid defensively. With his contract expiring this season, the time is now for Los Angeles to try and get as much as they can for the defenseman.
Forbort could come in and challenge Mike Matheson for a consistent spot on this team. He has playoff experience with LA, throws the body around defensively, and records very minimal penalties. To go on top of that, he averages 20 minutes of ice time a night in his last three seasons and will cost little due to the expiring contract.
There are some weaknesses to Forbort’s game, however. The recent injuries will question if he plays at the same rate he does in 2018-19, but it isn’t impossible. Forbort also isn’t the most reliable with the puck on his stick, nearly averaging one giveaway per game.
For Florida, however, a defenseman with an expiring contract on a rebuilding team could be just the piece to boost the playoff run.