The Hamilton Bulldogs have traded 19-year-old defenseman DJ King to the Saginaw Spirit in exchange for a second-round draft pick in 2021 and a 2022 fourth-round draft pick.
King only played for the Bulldogs for one season, but he played a key role for the team defensively. Often finding himself on the top pairing alongside Josh Wainman, King added toughness and grit to a young Bulldogs team. He tallied seven points in 50 games played for Hamilton. King was drafted 39th overall in the second round of the 2016 OHL Priority Selection. Prior to joining the Bulldogs, he was a part of the US National Development Team.
How this trade will benefit Hamilton:
Hamilton acquired two picks for the years when they will need them most. 2021 will likely be when the Bulldogs need to think about a rebuild again, as all the young players they have now will then be looking to take the next step in their hockey career. A second-round pick will be a good place to start, and a fourth-rounder the following year will add the extra depth they need. Trading DJ King also gives the younger defensemen an opportunity to get more ice time on a higher pairing. This will allow for quicker development to try and lead the Bulldogs to another championship. The young players now are the leaders of the future team, so the earlier they are able to develop their skill set and leadership abilities the sooner Hamilton will contend again.
Cons for Hamilton:
The Bulldogs lost a solid 2000-born defenseman who could have helped them reach another championship shortly down the road. King added a little extra toughness on the line that will be missed in his absence.
By trading King, the team did not address the current issue of having four too many over-agers leading into the season. Before the beginning of the season in late September, Hamilton must find a place for four of seven options — those options being three forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie.
How this trade will benefit Saginaw:
Saginaw acquired a solid defenseman in DJ King to toughen up their blue line leading into the upcoming season. King will be a great addition to their lineup and has the chance to play a key defensive role to try and help the Spirit return to the playoffs for the third year in a row.
The acquisition of King also gives Saginaw some more depth on defense. This opens up the opportunity for them to clear out some 1999-born players to ensure they are at or below the league limit of three by the start of the OHL season.
Not only does this move benefit the Spirit, but it will also benefit DJ King as a player. He has the opportunity to play under an experienced team and further develop his skill set before taking the next step in his career.
Cons for Saginaw:
In acquiring King, the Spirit will be in a similar position next offseason regarding over-agers. King was born in 2000, thus adding one more player with the potential to return for an overage season in the 2020-21 season. With five current 2000-born players — six if you include King — the Spirit will need to think ahead to avoid being above the league limit come September of 2020.