We are currently living in a time of divisiveness, whether it is for politics, films, music etc, people seem to have taken one*side of the coin over the other, and won’t budge from the trenches they built. Sports is no different, especially in hockey, or more specifically, in the Kingdom, (remember the Jonathan Quick vs Jonathan Bernier twitter battles between Kings’ fans of 2011 to 13? Quick won by the way). Now so far, the topic of former LA Kings’ defenseman Brayden McNabb not being protected by the Kings in the expansion draft, so, therefore, being selected by the Vegas Golden Knights has not been one of hostility, but with McNabb playing so well with the Knights, and the Knights (so far) surprising everyone by staying on top of the Pacific Division, his name is starting to rise up*on the lips (or fingertips if it’s on social media) of Kings’ fans, and people are starting to take sides on whether the Kings did*the right thing or they made a mistake.
Hence we happily bring to you the second ever;
When Colleagues Collide! : The Brayden McNabb debate!
Our combatants for this*issue is an author, writer, speaker, producer*and the bad boy of CaliSports News, Jim Ellis!
His opponent is a part-time contributor to CaliSports News, the co-host (and sometimes host) of LA Kings Road Talk Radio, but he is best known as the LA Kings’ Superfan, Augie Loya!
Both of my colleagues have taken a side on the McNabb issue and are ready to go, so without further ado…KUMITE!*
*For those of you who didn’t get or understand my Bloodsport reference, make sure to play this music in the background as you read this article!

Brayden McNabb Rocks! – by: Jim Ellis

Brayden McNabb rocks.
Just ask the Las Vegas Golden Knights. They have him on their team.
Just ask the Los Angeles Kings. They used to have him and now play against him.
The 6-4, 212-pound defenseman is now crushing it with the Golden Knights, after being taken from the Kings in last June’s expansion draft. With the help of McNabb’s solid defensive play and possibly some magic dust, the Golden Knights find itself in its inaugural season in first place in the Pacific Division.
The question may arise from time to time whether allowing McNabb to be nabbed in that draft was a good idea. For one, I would have to say – uh NO – it was a horrible idea, for various reasons.
Looming large on the ice, McNabb at 26 is in his prime. He presents a formidable foe for any interloper attempting to enter an offensive zone, routinely holding the hard line standing anyone up at the blue line. Even Jimmy Fox on last Thursday’s national broadcast of the Kings/Knights match noted how McNabb was not allowing the offensive Kings to be very offensive at all. This is the one case where having a defensive attitude is a positive thing. And McNabb has that; after all, he’s a DEFENSEMAN. And a damn good one.
Now the Kings have done very well this season, leading the league in defense. Imagine what sort of defense the team would have with McNabb building an even bigger wall of defense. We still have to suffer at times through the slowness of a Derek Forbort, the uneven play of a Jake Muzzin, and the mistakes of a Christian Folin. Don’t even get me started on Paul LaDue.
End of the year stats revealed that while averaging 20 minutes a game, McNabb had 96 hits, on track to reach approximately 275, with his previous high being 206. With 85 blocks, he’s projected to make over 200 for the season, with his previous high being 95.
(Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Besides the defensive prowess, our once faithful friend McNabb has brought some offense this year. Not known for his goal scoring, he still has netted two goals early in the season, matching his totals over the past three seasons with the Kings. His plus-minus right as of the end of the year stood at plus-14, which was fifth amidst defenseman and 11th in the ENTIRE league. The next Kings defenseman (not counting Drew Doughty who is second) below McNabb was Forbort at 72nd.
It’s obvious this is a top-notch player the Kings let slip through their fingers. The Golden Knights have figured as much, extending his contract another four years through the 2021-22 season. They aren’t going to make the bonehead move the Kings did. “We thought this would hopefully be the first of several extensions for him,” Las Vegas’ general manager George McPhee said. “He’s a big man. He’s played against other clubs’ top forwards and really shut them down and done an excellent job on the penalty kill. And we feel he still has a lot of room for growth.”
Room for growth? A scary thought for many players having to play against McNabb. For, this player will lay you out if the need arises. How many times during the LA seasons – even when the team, as the previous coach Darryl Sutter used to say, “wasn’t in the checking mood” – would McNabb absolutely crush a player into the boards around the blue line. Such hits were bigger than stopping one player from moving into the zone. It would at the least be a major message of doom for the opponent and at the most a complete game changer.
And McNabb was consistent in providing such major hits, game after game. Perhaps our Kurtis MacDermid can provide a solid punishing hit once in a while and even lay a punch where McNabb would not. However, because of his consistent play, bone-crushing hits against the boards, and a potential that is through the roof, a high caliber player like McNabb really needed to be protected.
Since … as many a player knows, for better or worse … Brayden McNabb rocks!

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