During the thirty days of September, I'll be trying to preview the seasons of thirty players currently under contract with the Washington Capitals and who have a good chance of spending some time in red, white, and blue this season. Advanced stats are given from behindthenet.ca ranked against other players at the same position--forward, defense, or goalie--in the same organization, at 5-on-5, unless otherwise noted. Age is on opening night, and teammates are those listed at 10% or greater. Today, DJ King)
DJ King: age 26, 6'2", 228 pounds, shoots left.
Contract: $638k, UFA in 2012, per Capgeek.
Last three years: 74 GP, 3-4-7, 133 PIM
The most significant roster change George McPhee made this offseason (re-signing RFAs not counting as "change") was probably trading prospect winger Stefan Della Rovere for "enforcer" DJ King.
Judging by his stats, DJ King is exactly that: an enforcer. He scores about 1 point for every 10 games played, which would be around 8 over an entire season. He may be better than that in reality, as his past two seasons have been significantly shortened by injury. I think that more-or-less balances out with the fact that his best NHL season in 2007-2008 came with the 28th-ranked St. Louis Blues.
DJ King may be better than 8 points over 80 games, especially on an offensive team like the Caps. He also may take a hit because of the difficulty of making the team on a daily basis. Between Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Knuble, Alexander Semin, Brooks Laich, Tomas Fleischmann, Eric Fehr, Jason Chimera, that's 8 of 12 forward spots taken, and both of Gordon/Steckel is a safe bet as well, bringing us to 10. There's not much leeway for King to make the lineup, even if management thinks King can bring more than just fists.
I think King is likely to see about 25 games, barring another big injury. He would likely be in the lineup against Tampa Bay (Downie), the New York Rangers (Boogaard), and a few other teams, I think, to counter the other team's pugilist or resident Caps-troublemaker. 25 GP, 1-3-4, single digit plus is what I have him for. I don't expect him to play in the playoffs.