Paul LaDue decided not to file for arbitration this summer, and perhaps it’s because he knew he would reach a deal anyway. The Los Angeles Kings have announced a two-year contract for the 25-year old defenseman that will carry an $825K cap hit. LaDue will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the deal.
The Los Angeles defense corps is one of the hardest groups in the league to break into, but LaDue will try again to get some playing time this season. He suited up on just 12 occasions for the Kings in 2017-18 and 34 times during his short career, despite his successful run at the University of North Dakota and in the minor leagues with the Ontario Reign. LaDue is a skilled puck-moving defenseman that doesn’t sacrifice size on the blue line. Standing 6’2″ he plays well enough in his own end—though not overly physical—to command some more minutes, but is still buried on the depth chart in Los Angeles.
The Kings of course have Drew Doughty eating up a ton of minutes on the right side, but also Alec Martinez who despite shooting left often plays on his off-side. If LaDue can work his way onto the bottom pairing with any regularity, he may find some success and a growing role. If not, this may just be a depth signing that continues to play little impact on the Kings on-ice product.