Our Long National Nightmare is Over
Apparently there was some sort of Trading Holiday (must be Canadian?) that occurred today in the National Hockey League as a record 31 trades went down, moving 55 players to new teams. And none of them were as cool as the Dion Phaneuf or Ilya Kovalchuk trades that went down a month ago.
Worst. Trade Deadline Roundtable. Ever.
But of course, there was big news for Los Angeles Kings fans. The Royal Half Whipping Boy™, Teddy Purcell, has been traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Royal Half takes a look back at his tenure as a Los Angeles King as well as preview the men that have come to take his place…. after the jump!
Teddy Purcell wasn’t even supposed to be here. He was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2007 by GM Dean Lombardi after completing his freshman year at the University of Maine. Lombardi must have seen something in Purcell that no one else did, as Teddy went on to become the AHL Rookie of the Year during the 2007-2008 season. After another year bouncing between Manchester and Los Angeles, coming into this season, Teddy was all but handed the 2nd line Right Winger position. And even though he started the season with 2 goals in 3 games… he then went 26 games without scoring again. He looked timid… even scared out on the ice at times. Which is really surprising considering how much of a tough guy he looks like off the ice.
The Kings were extremely patient with Purcell, maybe hoping to not repeat the mistakes of the past when it comes to young, offensive players who struggle at the NHL level. I think because of the 20 goals that former Kings prospect Matt Moulson has scored this season on Long Island, Coach Murray and GM Dean Lombardi really gave Purcell the chance to prove himself… putting him on the top line and the 2nd power play unit. But the only place they couldn’t put Purcell on was an AHL roster, as he would have had to clear waivers to be sent down. So the only thing to do with Purcell… was to trade him. And that’s what Dean Lombardi did today. For this guy:
Based on this photo alone… this trade is already a win-win situtaion.
So Tampa Bay Lighting-ee (?) Jeff Halpern comes to the Kings for Teddy Purcell and a 3rd round draft pick. Halpern is nothing flashy. He’s a strong face-off guy (52% average this season!) who has been the captain for his Princeton College team, the Washington Capitals and Team USA during the 2008 World Championships. He’s a proven leader who isn’t afraid to fight for his teammates. Just ask Dustin Brown.
For Dean Lombardi, it’s a great move. He gets that 4th line center that he needed for a drive to the playoffs and if it doesn’t work out, Halpern is a free agent at the end of the year. And the best thing of all… the acquisition of Jeff Halpern doubles the amount of Jewish hockey players on the Los Angeles Kings from zero…. to one. But this is no ordinary Jewish hockey player. Jeff Halpern is a inductee of the Greater Washington (D.C.) Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
But Dean Lombardi wasn’t done with Jeff Halpern. Later in the day Lombardi traded a conditional seventh-round pick for Columbus Blue Jacket, Fredrik Modin. Modin was once a 30 goal scorer… but those days seem to be long past. Instead, Dean Lombardi has brought in a player who has won a World Championship, an Olympic Gold Medal… and a Stanley Cup.
So Modin and Halpern will make their Los Angeles Kings debut tomorrow night against the Nashville Predators. The Nashville Predators themselves made quite a splash today during the trade deadline. Check out this deal that was reported on the TSN TradeCentre website.
This image sums up the crazy day spent on the web, twitter and blogs covering the Trade Deadline.
The Kings were very impressive against the Dallas Stars last night, exactly the way you’d want them to come out after the 2 week Olympic layoff. The Kings have exactly 20 games left in the season. They are 10 points away from 8th place in west… and 9 points away from 1st. If they go 10-10 the rest of the season… they will make the playoffs. Holy fucking shit… the Kings might be playing past April 11th. And Teddy Purcell won’t be watching playoff hockey from the press box… unless the Tampa Bay Lighting make the playoffs. Then he will definitely be watching from the press box.