Making The Case For Langenbrunner and the Kings

The NHL’s trade season is nearly upon us and with it begins the wild speculation from fans and media alike.

Let’s just try to mix in a little logic every once and awhile for good measure.

First off, Brayden Schenn isn’t being traded straight up for Tomas Kaberle. Come on Leafs fans, seriously.

Ignoring bigger deals that could possibly come later – i.e. Jarome Iginla, Brad Richards, etc. – there’s a small trade that’s likely to get this week… Jamie Langenbrunner is on his way out of New Jersey.

As reported yesterday, the Devils have asked the 35-year old right wing to waive his no-trade clause. In fact, he sat out last night’s game between New Jersey and Philadelphia, believed to be a precursor to a trade.

In LA, the question is would the Kings be interested…and (for some) if so, why?

Well, at the very least, they should be for the following reasons:

* Veteran leadership. The Kings are a young team and they’ll need some more experience if they plan on making a long playoff run.

* Don’t look at his stats this year, he’s playing on a horrible team. Know this – his 61 points last season would have been second on the Kings (behind Anze Kopitar). His 19 goals would have been second best for a right wing (behind Dustin Brown). Plus, he had 29 goals the year before.

* For those that say ‘the Kings are full on RW’ – are they? Sure, Brown and Justin Williams have 33 points each. Then what? Wayne Simmonds has 15 points (8g, 7a). Trevor Lewis has played both center and right wing. He has five points. Kevin Westgarth, the usual fourth line right wing, has three points for the entire season. Oh, by the way, how many points does the fourth line have in general?

* Other teams rumored to be interested in Langenbrunner include Dallas, San Jose, Colorado, Philadelphia, Washington, Pittsburgh and Boston. Those are all playoff teams. Why would they be interested and the Kings not – are the Kings better than all of those teams right now?

* The Devils reportedly are seeking a relatively high draft pick or a prospect in a deal. Fine, the Kings can afford that.

* A natural right wing, he also played left wing earlier in his career – another position the Kings lack depth in.

* He’s in the final year of his contract and has a relatively low cap hit ($2.8 million). This gives the team plenty of flexibility for other deals at next month’s trade deadline and again over the summer.

General rule of thumb…if another team’s captain – who has a Stanley Cup ring – is available, you nab him if you can.

Langenbrunner has two rings and is a proven winner. The Kings need depth and he would help. That’s the succinct version.

Not every trade is sexy. Some deals are made because building a roster is like completing a puzzle. To achieve the desired picture you need the ugly solid colored pieces that go close to the border, as well as the flashy center pieces with all the designs and details.

Like the recent move to acquire Marco Sturm and the free agent signing of Willie Mitchell this past summer, picking up Langenbrunner wouldn’t complete the puzzle. However, it would get GM Dean Lombardi one piece closer to the desired outcome – a playoff worthy roster.

The Mayor
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