The Seattle Kraken have selected, from the Los Angeles Kings, defenseman Kurtis MacDermid.
OHL Career and Draft
MacDermid took an interesting path to the NHL. He spent most of his draft year in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL), due to many factors including injuries and the Owen Sound Attack, who had drafted him, having a plethora of defensemen on their roster. After splitting time between the GOJHL and Ontario Hockey League (OHL), he went undrafted in the 2012 Entry Draft. However, he attended the Kings’ prospect camp in July of that year — after impressing the organization in camp, the team offered him an entry-level contract in September of 2012.
After signing with the Kings, he spent three more seasons in the OHL, splitting those years between the Sound Attack and the Erie Otters. He was a consistent, shut-down defenseman during his three full seasons in the OHL and reveled in the physical aspect of the game. He loved playing the body and was more than willing to drop the gloves. He showed some offensive upside in his final year of juniors, posting 40 points in 61 games.
Professional Career So Far
After his OHL career was finished, MacDermid was assigned to the Kings’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Ontario Reign. He quickly established himself as a locker room favorite in Ontario, frequently dropping the gloves in defense of his teammates at any time. He was more than a fighter for Ontario, though; he proved to be a solid, stay-at-home defenseman at the AHL level. He was safe with the puck and punished opposition players in the corners and in front of the net. He spent two full seasons in the AHL before splitting time between the NHL and AHL during the 2017-18 season. He then spent the majority of the 2018-19 season in Ontario, before establishing himself as an NHL regular in 2019-20.
As seen in this tweet by JFreshHockey, MacDermid has seriously struggled at the NHL level. He is a slow-moving defenseman who doesn’t bring much outside of an intimidation factor. Despite being a big, physical player, he struggles to win battles in the corners and doesn’t clear the front of his net well. Most Kings fans were disappointed when he was in the lineup by the end of last season, but his teammates didn’t have the same reaction. It is well reported that his teammates loved him in the locker room and in the lineup. They felt more comfortable with him available and that is certainly a benefit to any team.
MacDermid is signed for one more year with an average annual value of $875,000. He is a player that is unlikely to ever make more than what he currently is making and could provide good financial value for Seattle.
What Seattle Fans Should Expect
I think the best way to sum up his impact on the ice is in quotes about fellow enforcer Ryan Reaves. Reaves’ teammate Mark Stone and coach Pete DeBoer commented on him missing time earlier in the year saying:
Stone: “It’d be nice to have Reavo in the lineup, I think they’ll feel a little different when big 75’s out there. I don’t think there will be as much chirping.” DeBoer: “It’s amazing when you’re out of the lineup how many more liberties are taken and how much braver guys on the other team are at ice level.” (From “Golden Knights say foes taking liberties with Ryan Reaves out,” Ben Gotz, Las Vegas Review-Journal)
It is worth noting that, according to LA Kings insider John Hoven, the Kings have been experimenting with the idea of MacDermid at forward for the upcoming season. This would allow him to still impact games as an enforcer while decreasing his ice time and responsibility. He will be a useful player for the Kraken in their inaugural season, he is nothing more than a third-pairing defenseman or fourth-line forward, but his impact in the locker room and on the opposition is still valuable. If I were a Seattle fan, I wouldn’t be over the moon with this pick, but I wouldn’t be pulling my hair out either.
Notable Players Not Picked
My name is Austin Stanovich, as a lifelong player and fan I’m hoping to bring my own unique perspective on the hockey world, specifically covering the Los Angeles Kings. As a SoCal native I grew up a Kings fan, and after graduating from Long Beach State in 2020 I’ve joined The Hockey Writers crew as a columnist for the Kings.