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CALIFORNIA DREAMING

Published on February 1st 2014

  • -COMMENTS

When Darryl Sutter ran things in Calgary, a scoring drought (or a goaltending problem) would be solved with the magical 2nd round draft pick. In November 2003, Sutter traded a 2005 2nd round pick to San Jose for Miikka Kiprusoff and that trade sustained the Flames for a decade (and got them to G7 SCF in 2004). San Jose made out fine with the 2nd rounder (Marc-Edouard Vlasic).

Sutter also acquired Marcus Nilsson (2004), Alex Tanguay (2006, plus Flames had to give Leopold), Mike Cammalleri (2008), Jordan Leopold (2009, it's confusing) Rene Bourque (2010) and Anton Stralman (2011) for second round picks. If you have the time, reviewing Sutter's moves as GM is an education in pushing back a rebuild. It is here.

The Kings GM is Dean Lombardi. He's my favorite NHL General Manager, because pretty much all of his transactions are good bets. Now, that doesn't mean they all work out, but you can see the reasoning behind them. Lombardi is trying to win championships while also avoiding the trap his coach fell into in Calgary. Borrowing from tomorrow doesn't work for an NHL team.

It's a bad bet.

Lombardi made a Sutter-style trade last deadline (for Robyn Regehr, giving up TWO 2nd round picks), but the year they won Stanley he acquired Jeff Carter for Jack Johnson and a pick—and that's one of the best trades I've seen (Marko Dano was the pick).

The "game within a game" for fans is shaping up to be a lot of fun at the deadline. TSN has the Kings looking at rentals like Mike Cammalleri (it's confusing), Matt Moulson and Tomas Vanek—along with signed asset Sam Gagner.

Lombardi is a smart GM, he's going to look at the situation and make a decision based on the best fit and chances of winning it all. His team can't score a goal for love nor money right now, so he could pull the trigger soon (they didn't score again today in a loss).

If Lombardi does acquire a rental, look for him to sign the player. And there's a chance he finds a way to acquire Gagner. If he's trading a pick, the return asset will have sustain.

 

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