Dean Lombardi Explains His Thinking at 2016 Trade Deadline

We already have the audio from today’s conference call with Kings GM Dean Lombardi up on the homepage. Now, here are some selected quotes from that conversation…

Lombardi on not making any NHL-level trades today:

“I talked to a lot of people today, but I didn’t anticipate anything and it didn’t surprise me… You’re not doing your job unless you’ve talked to just about every team, except the ones in your division, where you know it’s probably not going to work, because it’s just not practical. But, essentially, over a two- or three-week period, you talk to just about everybody. There’s a funnel effect on guys that you continue to check in with, then as you narrow it down it gets smaller and smaller. Then, after last night, today you get more incoming calls because people are still looking to dump or move people. This is a two- or three-week process, and quite frankly you could say, getting Lecavalier and Schenn when we did was part of this chain of events. It’s just that we did it earlier. We probably started the ball rolling, in terms of the trade deadline, with that deal.”

On if last year’s Sekera deal had any effect on how he looked at rentals this year:

“For sure. You always learn from things, right? Obviously it’s no reflection on the player. He’s a good player. But there is an issue of timing. There is an issue of cost. There is an issue, let’s face it, of how the team did. This is one case where I guess hindsight is 20/20, when you can evaluate the value of a deal. You learn from every deal you make, good or bad. It’s not the player; it’s the result. But that’s all part of gaining experience and learning from it. You learn from that one, just like you learn from the Gaborik one. If you’re going to make mistakes, you better face up to it; but I just want to make clear, it’s not a mistake in the sense of the player. It’s a cost factor, it’s a timing factor and then it’s a results factor. It’s not a reflection on the quality of the player.”

On how comfortable he is with his roster coming out of the deadline and looking toward the balance of the season:

“There’s always a different set of challenges, in terms of what this era is going to stand for. One of them is, in fact, having a better regular season and not having to finish in seventh or eighth place. There is an advantage to it, as well as a challenge. You should want to win your division as well as the Stanley Cup. Now we all know that the Cup is clearly the most important by far. However, it’s still a challenge that any team is going to want to pride itself on being the top team. It’s to be good during both and excel during both. So that is one of the goals they had set out for. Now, for the first time in these guys’ era, they got off to a big lead. There’s a mindset that a real pro has to learn to deal with – ‘You have a big lead, so what are you going to do with it? Are you going to let some games go that you weren’t ready for, or are you going to meet the challenge?’ I think they’re in the midst of that now. You can’t look back and say, `Well, this happened four years ago or three years ago. They had a big lead and let it go.’

“This is new turf for a lot of them, and it’s also new in a sense, the transition in the leadership group. Because we lost some guys who knew how to win. Some guys are responsible for taking over and making sure that this doesn’t happen. So am I comfortable? No. I mean, I’d like to have a 20-point lead. Quite frankly, if we still had a 10-point lead, I probably wouldn’t be comfortable. But I think last night, as everybody who called me said today… All the calls that I took, I think every conversation started out with, `What a game last night. That was one intense game. That was a high-level playoff game.’ I think it’s very clear that this battle between the Southern California teams is not going away any time soon, when you look at the average age of the two teams. I guess that’s what sports is supposed to be about. After the intensity of last night, you could have a 20-point lead and you still wouldn’t be comfortable, because that was a war and you better show up ready to play. I mean, that was a man’s game last night. Like I said, every general manager who called me today started our conversation saying, `What a game that was.’ Other than the fact that we had to wait 10 minutes for a (replay) decision. Everything else was pretty good.”

For part two of the call, where Lombardi talked about a possible contract extension for Milan Lucic, click here.

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