Trevor Lewis has had a fairly successful run with Los Angeles Kings since entering the league as a full-time player in 2010-11. He’s won two Stanley Cups and been a constant on the team’s fourth line. Although the former first-round pick (2006) has never become the scorer the Kings hoped he would be, he has been a useful player on reasonable contracts. With Los Angeles facing a cap crunch this summer – especially if they manage to re-sign Milan Lucic – Lewis is set to hit the open market for the first time as an unrestricted free agent. Would the Canucks be interested in acquiring his services?
By basically all available metrics, Lewis is a definitive fourth-line, replacement-level player. He manages to suppress shots at an impressive rate but generates essentially no offence. Then again, the Kings do not exactly rely on Lewis to be an offensive contributor, with top-six centres Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter carrying much of the offensive weight. His possession numbers, meanwhile, are quite strong, with a slight relative drop-off when he’s on the bench. While the Kings as a team have been possession gods for several years now, Lewis should still get some credit for his efforts driving play.
Lewis is slotted in as a defensively-conscious bottom-six centreman. He injects decent speed into the lineup and is often utilized in a penalty-killing role. Lewis takes relatively few faceoffs, playing behind centres Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, and Vincent Lecavalier for much of last season. This is probably by design – he has never been particularly proficient on the dot, winning only 40.1% of even-strength faceoffs last season. In fact, he has never had a season above 50% on the draw during his career. He brings a wealth of playoff experience and two Stanley Cup rings with him.
With Henrik Sedin, Brandon Sutter, Bo Horvat, and Markus Granlund, the Canucks appear set at centre for the 2016-17 season. It would be difficult to conceive of a situation where Lewis would sign with a team where he would have to compete for a roster spot. The Canucks have to improve on the faceoff dot, after finishing 30th in that category last season – and having a healthy Brandon Sutter should help in that regard. Lewis has not traditionally been a good faceoff artist., so signing him solely for that purpose would not make a lot of sense. The only Canucks centre he could possibly replace would be Granlund, but Lewis would probably sign for somewhere close to twice Granlund’s $900,000 cap hit, and the incumbent Canuck has a higher offensive ceiling.
At 29 (soon to be 30 in January), Trevor Lewis will likely head to free agency looking for a nice raise on his $1.55 million salary and maybe a little term. It is still possible that he re-signs with the Kings, but they appear locked in at centre with Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, and now Nick Shore (who has surpassed Lewis on the team’s depth chart, even before the retirement of Vincent Lecavalier). His status with the Kings, of course, also relies heavily on what they manage to do with Lucic. The best bet is that Lewis will probably sign with a team that has an obvious hole in the 3 or 4 spot at centre and affords him an opportunity to play in to a larger role. And with the relative depth they have at centre, that opportunity probably won’t come with the Canucks.