Yes, there’s still more from today’s conference call with Kings GM Dean Lombardi.
In addition to his previously posted thoughts on why Jon Bernier was dealt to Toronto, changes to Willie Mitchell’s health, talks with Dustin Penner’s agent, negotiations with Bud Holloway and a potential new contract for Rob Scuderi – what, that’s not enough for you? – LA’s hockey mastermind also opened up about one of the ‘assets’ he just acquired from Toronto.
“Actually I’ve kind of been impressed with him since his career at North Dakota,” Lombardi began when talking about forward Matt Frattin. “We had a very good book on him…He kept finding us when he was at North Dakota. This was a guy that I actually tried to trade for two years ago when he was just coming out of school. What happened here is when you’re doing this deal, I had two or three players that are, say, comparable in terms of players that hockey people would say ‘Oh, you know, this is close.’ So that was kind of how we narrowed it down before I went to the other issues that pushed this deal over the hump. What he does – and what we’re hoping – like a lot of young players, number one, he’s improved defensively, and also, again, like a lot of young players, be consistent.
“That said, there’s a lot of tools here to work with. He’s got a knack – if anybody’s seen him – he shows up in scoring areas. He’s got that knack of being in the right place. He’s got a great release. He certainly upgrades our speed, and he’s got some grit, which was something, too, that when we went to the marketplace, we wanted to stay within our M.O. of guys that can play in this Conference too – as we saw how critical it is that you’re capable of dealing with the St. Louises and the San Joses of this world. So he fit that M.O. And I think (if you) watched him during the playoffs, how often he ran into Chara – I’m not saying you’re going to move that guy. But, just the fact that he showed a willingness to do that, there’s a lot to work with here. That’s kind of what was attractive to us. And we think that with our centers and things, that this could be a good fit for us. He’s young, so that fit. And like I said, this is an unfinished product, but universally on our staff, we really tracked this kid. He’s got some spots. Got to learn to be a pro. But there’s a lot to work with here if we can keep him on the right track.
“He’s got some things that are hard to find. But it’s still all about becoming a pro. I think he’s the type of kid that I think Darryl will also find a way to get to. But it’s very difficult. The reality isn’t all this. It’s very difficult to get value for a number one goalie, and we see this time and time again, and I’ve mentioned this once before when I knew back in the old days when there was going to be a problem with Kiprusoff and Nabokov. It’s very difficult to get market value for a guy who’s going to be a number one. But you do the best you can, and like I said, this was the best deal. Toronto was certainly aggressive. But, to get a number one goalie, you can’t put a price tag on that…You see the success we’ve had and the importance of our goaltender, but just sometimes it seems it’s not ‘sexy’ to trade for goalies. It seems that there’s that sentiment out there. Like Scotty Bowman said, ‘You don’t appreciate them until you ain’t got one.’ So, again, I think this is a good deal for both teams given the circumstances.”
Lombardi went on to say that any discussion about the rumored plan to test Tyler Toffoli at left wing during training camp is a conversation better suited for Darryl Sutter.
“Obviously Darryl’s very much abreast of whenever we make personnel moves, and that is an issue that perhaps is the right shot, but he was pretty confident that he can make this work. If this player does what we think he’s capable of, we’ll find a way to fit this in. That’s a question there mostly for Darryl.”
Finally, Lombardi was a little reluctant to answer questions about the money Toronto pitched in to make this deal happen. It felt like the Maple Leafs had asked to keep that part out of the public commentary. However, once he was told it was already out there, Lombardi firmly stated that any such news wasn’t coming from his camp and then eventually all but acknowledged that the money aspect was true – the Kings are roughly getting an additional $500K in cap relief from this trade.
For more Lombardi comments and notes on the related trade, please see the links down below.
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