The Los Angeles Kings are the Jennifer Aniston of the NHL. They strive for respect… and never get it. They are popular… but never really had a substantial starring role. And no matter how hard they try… they just can’t get a superstar to commit to them long term.
The incredible NHL Free Agent Frenzy is over and once again the Los Angeles Kings have come away with nothing. Over the last few years Dean Lombardi has cozied up to some of the NHL’s finest superstars and offered them the moon… well at least a sizable box to fill on the moon. Names like Chara, Elias, Drury and now Hossa. And like Ms. Aniston making a move for Pitt, Vaughn, Wilson and Mayer… both failed miserably.
Once again a July 1st has come and gone and the Kings are left hanging their helmets alone in Malibu… right next to Ms. Aniston. Why can’t these two entities ever find love? The Kings have everything a young superstar would be looking for, right? Excellent up and coming players… a young Captain that loves to hit… strong defensive minded coaching that can still allow for some hotshot scoring… and a GM who is dedicated to filling every single empty box he has on his whiteboard. But year after year… the Kings remain at the altar standing around looking to see if their groom is going to show up. And you know what… he never does. Hence my new spec script for a movie with Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd… “The Runaway Forward.”
For the first time in a long while, Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy and I worked together for a few weeks and we took some quality time to re-create Dean Lombardi’s world in his office. Above is what the white board looked like on the morning of July 2nd. No Hossa, no Havlat, no Gaborik (thank god, can you believe what that guy stole from the Rangers!) to fill that all important 1st line left wing box. Worn out from re-freshing my RSS reader every 5 seconds, I causally glanced at LetsGoKings.com and noticed something strange…. which led to this IM exchange with Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy.
It was true… cause it was on Twitter! The Kings signed Stanley Cup Winner Rob Scuderi to a 4 year, 13.6 million dollar contract. Um.. ok. That’s interesting… wasn’t so sure that Dean Lombardi was in a market for a 30 year old defensive defenseman. But ok… here was a player that had just won the Stanley Cup and done it with a team that was the worst in the league for a few years. Maybe this guy could be a good fit for the Kings. And then I learned his nickname… “The Piece.” Check out this amazing story from Puck Daddy if you haven’t already. Finally, a hockey player with a real nickname… not “Scudsy” or “Scuds” or “Robby.” The Piece. I liked it. And then it hit me… of course… a trade is coming!
I just didn’t think it would be Kyle Quincey. But in hindsight, it makes complete sense. The Kings gave up nothing to get Quincey. They have too many players to fit into Dean Lombardi’s “Young Defenseman” Box and to get a good player you have to give up a good player. But did I think that all it would take to land Ryan Smyth would be Quincey, Tom “Vertigo” Preissing and a 5th round draft pick? Wait let me say that again… the Kings rid themselves of Tom Preissing and his contract. And got Captain Canada in return.
There is still much uncertainty for the Los Angeles Kings this fall. This is the year that they actually have to contend for that 8th playoff spot instead of flirt with it. There is still a long way to go before training camp starts but for once, the Kings are sporting a pretty solid top 6.