Some quick comments from L.A. Kings GM when I asked about how tough it was for him to include Hudson Fasching in the Brayden McNabb trade with Buffalo…
“Real tough,” he began. Then, Lombardi went on quite a riff…
“It’s probably safe to say for the past two, two and a half years, it’s part of building a team. You’re not only seeing what you have, but what you’ve got coming. We felt even where our team was at, there was going to be at some point critical that we get a young defenseman who has a chance to play in your top four. That was one of the scouts’ jobs in the last two years—to get that list together of either guys that are drafted and are playing junior hockey, or drafted and playing in the minor leagues.
“So this has been an ongoing process to compile that list, essentially just like a draft list. So these pro scouts are here now. We had this player rated as one of the top left shot defenseman who fit our M.O. in the American League. He’s still green. His skating needs to improve. He’s got to work some on his fundamentals and his reads, but he has a lot of the attributes that we value and he has a chance to be a top four guy. With that, he’s got some snarl. This is a guy we highlighted. I think you’ve heard me say this before, even seven years ago, about defensemen—and actually I think it’s gotten worse—that it’s very difficult to get the top four defensemen, and if you look at even the ones that do, they’re usually top ten picks. I’m talking about legitimate ones. So the supply of these guys is very limited. The only reason I think Buffalo does is because they’re fortunate. The fortunate part was, not only did we have a number of their defensemen very high, but they had a surplus of them. We felt we had a surplus of forwards that are attractive. So it worked in the sense that the player that we really liked was on a team that could afford to part with one because they lacked forwards which we had.
“We gave up two very good prospects with size, but it was one of those things where you say, you know what? You’ve got to give to get. This was interesting too. There is a new GM here and he was very decisive and sometimes you’re not sure, but he’s had a tremendous amount of background in personnel. He recognized the same thing. He won’t like giving up McNab, but we both had a surplus and it made sense for both of us. That fills a huge hole for us, hopefully down the road. The other thing attractive about it obviously is he’s already paid some dues in the minors. He’s shown he’s a top player in the minors and he’s had his cups of coffee in the NHL. He’s closer to being ready than if I had to do a deal and go after a kid who was still in junior hockey to make this deal.
“We’re really excited. It’s nice to see he’s [active on the power play too, considering his physical style of play]. Like I say, he’s got size, he can move the puck, he’s got a long reach. He’s got to work on his foot speed. His feet need work. I think part of his game is he’s over aggressive at times, which I like. We’ll tame that. I’d rather tame a lion than paint stripes on the kitty cat. That’s the way that came about. That too was a long process, but those things can go on forever because the teams that might have the other guys you like, they’re not going to part with defensemen. Buffalo’s probably one of the few teams that could because they’ve drafted so many, but you’ve got to give to get. It’s a hard deal to make, but when you step back—you’re not going to get this guy unless you do give up good players. You just hope it works out for both sides. That’s generally the way hockey deals work. It’s a classic hockey deal.”
On if this trade will impact any decision to offer Matt Greene a contract extension this summer:
“No, I don’t think that’s the case. He’s a left shot that…he’s got some snarl. I don’t see them mutually exclusive at all. Greene is clearly a right shot guy and this is a left shot guy and he needs some work. Ideally, with Greener, which we’ve seen, he’s a perfect guy for this guy to emulate in terms of coming prepared and playing hard. But this guy also runs in the power play in the minors. Whether it’s going to happen up here, I don’t know, but just the fact that you can do that in minors is pretty impressive for a big guy who has some physicality to him. I think the biggest thing is the realization that the cap’s not going up as much as we thought. We found out to our chagrin and surprise the other day that we had been told that the cap was going to be 71. Now with the Canadian dollar having tanked, that the cap could be as low as 68. That’s a huge swing. That’s more of the talks to our three guys—Mitchell, Lewis and Greene—who we’d like to bring back. That’s more of a hindrance than anything we acquired today. That was something that we did not expect to hear. That’s just ironic. We found out from the agent, who found out from the union and then we called the league and they said, I guess that could be it. That’s difficult when—it might not sound like a lot, but two million when you’re at the cap and you’re trying to fit guys in and you’re out with five hundred away or a million away. It might not sound [like] a lot, but it has a big impact on what you’re able to do. That’s much more trouble to process than ______ this guy come down to all three of these guys, we want them back. Hopefully they want to stay here and be part of it, but it’s not always the case.”
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