Veteran forward Simon Gagne was traded by the Kings on Tuesday for a conditional draft pick. He’s headed back to Philadelphia after being a healthy scratch for the last four games and playing only 11 times this season. LA General Manager Dean Lombardi participated in a conference call with the media this afternoon to discuss the deal and a myriad of other topics – including his defense, trade options, the readiness of prospects in Manchester and much more. So, let’s get started with the quotes…
- On Simon Gagne not fitting in with Darryl Sutter’s system: “There’s just a number of things. Obviously you have a veteran player who’s game is clearly defined. He’s a very good player, wasn’t fitting in so to speak. That said, this is still a good NHL player who has proven it on a good team. So, you don’t look at it …unless you feel very comfortable with what you have coming through the minors. Not the same thing, but it’s similar when you move Jack Johnson for Carter because you know you have Voynov coming through. We feel pretty good about our depth up front in the system. So that opens up a roster spots. That’s one of the things very underestimated in juggling, particularly in this shortened season, is juggling roster positions and having access to players. This frees up a roster spot, allows us some flexibility, and obviously gives us some flexibility in terms of space and cash at the deadline.’
- On if a player will be called up from Manchester to fill the roster spot: “No, I don’t think. You still have Brad Richardson there in the, I guess you’d call it the 13th hole. And don’t forget we’re looking at, when I talk about roster - and I don’t want to get too complicated - I think we’re probably headed toward carrying eight D and (stick with) the forwards. So, that’s the other thing we’re looking at because Marty (Alec Martinez) could be coming back here shortly, and you know we’ll see about Willie Mitchell and stuff. But I think, given the way the premium is placed on defensemen now, we would probably only tighten up the roster and have eight current defensemen and one extra forward, and use those kids that can go up and down as guys that can go up and down and don’t take up a roster spot unless there’s an injury.”
- On the statuses of Martinez and Willie Mitchell: “Martinez is certainly on schedule. I don’t know if I can put a number on it, but originally I think we were looking at two to four weeks. And I still think that’s in the ballpark here. So safe to say, the original prognosis still holds. Greener (Matt Greene) might be a little ahead of schedule, but that’s still a ways off given the gravity of the injury. And Willie, I guess it’s fair to say, the one good thing that’s happened here in the last couple days or so is he did say something fairly positive to our trainer in terms of possibly coming back. He had another procedure done today that he thought helped him. The last time – and I don’t want to get into medical terminology, but no it’s not steroids or anything - it’s something he wanted to try. So, apparently he did this a couple weeks ago and it helped him. He’s doing it again now, and we’re kind of still in that same holding pattern. That’s the frustrating thing. You can say the time table on Marty or the time table on Greener, but there’s really no time table here (for Mitchell). So it is what it is.”
- On if Gagne asked for a trade and the Flyers being the only team in the mix: “No he didn’t. So no at this point, having done it today. …This is a good player who I’ve known a long time. And I know if he wanted to go anywhere, that would be the place he wanted to go. So I figured (his worth) was probably was around a third at the deadline if I wanted to do it then. I kind of did it a way that it’s got a contingency of a fourth to a third. So, I was satisfied with that - and putting him in a place that I know he’d be happy. This is a player that came to us as a free agent. So he chose us at the time. Given that we had to do this and I have a choice, I was certainly going to put him where I know he’ll be happy. Judging from when I talked to him today he was very pleased with it and mentioned that if he had sat out much more he was probably going to come and see me. But you know, for a guy that’s had a storied career and started there, there’s an intangible here that hopefully works for both of us.”
NOTE: The Kings now have nine draft picks in the 2013 draft (second round, third round, fourth round, fourth round from Philadelphia, fourth round from Carolina, fifth round, sixth round, seventh round, seventh round from Dallas). They lost their first round pick via the Jeff Carter trade with Columbus.
- Lombardi said Mitchell received something similar to the platelet rich plasma therapy that several NBA players have been using: “It’s called P-something. I don’t want to say PCP, I know that’s wrong because we all know what PCP is. It’s some acronym. I’m not sure what it is.”
- On the Gagne trade not being based on performance, but on cap space and future plans: “No, I said the money is secondary. The player wasn’t, I think the term used was ‘fitting in’ – not being in the lineup. So I think the first question, ‘Okay this probably isn’t fitting right now.’ However, as we saw with our defense, you can be banged up in a hurry. If it was just that; I’m not going to do it unless I have some kids in the minors that I think they’re ready for their shot. That’s the primary consideration; those two. The byproduct of it is, yes – it frees up space, you get a draft pick that you can use at the draft table or can use later in a trade. But this was not in any way motivated by cash and space, per se. Heck we have plenty of space. For this year we have 7 million in space. So no, but it’s a byproduct of it. It’s not the motivating factor.”
There was much more discussed during the call. Please use the related link below to read the next batch of quotes.
RELATED ARTICLE: Lombardi on upcoming trade options and what they have in Manchester
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