Of the five signings made by the Los Angeles Kings on Friday, two of them have already been with the organization. Goaltender Jeff Zatkoff, who spent the vast majority of his time in the organization with the Manchester Monarchs, and Teddy Purcell, who was with the Kings from 2007 to 2010, are both back with the club after signing contracts on the first day of free agency.
One of Dean Lombardi’s first draft picks as Kings GM (74th overall in 2006), Jeff Zatkoff, 29, has added something important to his resume since being with the Kings organization initially and that is that he has NHL experience.
Having never played a game for the Kings, Zatkoff moved on to the Pittsburgh Penguins where he played in 35 games from 2013 to 2016 in addition to two playoff games this past spring.
In 14 games last season, Zatkoff went 4-7-0 with a 2.79 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage.
As for Purcell, he played in a total of 91 games for the Kings from 2007 to 2010 scoring eight goals and adding 17 assists. Despite his talent, though, the 30-year-old had a hard time finding an identity in Los Angeles under then-coach Terry Murray and was traded at the 2010 Trade Deadline as a result.
Purcell made stops in Tampa Bay, Edmonton and Florida before returning to the Kings. Last season, he spilt time between Edmonton and Florida scoring a total of 14 goals and 29 assists in 76 games. He even added a pair of goals in six playoff games with the Panthers.
While yours truly does have a connection of sorts with Teddy Purcell having both been born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, it is confusing as to why the Kings reacquired him, especially considering they have enough depth at right wing, which is what Purcell is. Purcell signed for one year at a bargain price of $1.6 mil.
As for Zatkoff, his deal is for two years at 900K per. His signing adds depth to the goaltending, which is what the Kings need, but it is most likely that he will enter next season as Jonathan Quick’s backup while Peter Budaj and Jack Campbell will hold the fort in Ontario.
These signings have left some Kings fans confused for the time being wondering just what their team is planning with said attentions. This is, in fairness, just the first day of free agency so only time will tell what Zatkoff and Purcell will bring to the table in Los Angeles.