Lombardi on Status of Milan Lucic Extension with LA Kings

Lucic KingsWe already have the audio from today’s conference call with Kings GM Dean Lombardi up on the homepage. Now, here are some specific thoughts he shared related to a possible contract extension for Milan Lucic:

I think it’s safe to say we’ve had a number of discussions with all of our (impending) free agents and we’re trying to piece together the puzzle. Everything has been pretty positive up to this point. The only risk on that is you run the risk of, let’s face it, it’s not easy for some players — young, old — that when you sit down after we got Kopitar and put together our plan, you see how some things come together with Schenner and Lecavalier. You look at your team and kind of get your plan together well before the deadline. That’s the one thing, when somebody asked me if Sekera changed things, well, one thing it did that had nothing to do with the player is, it made it very clear to me that you have to have… You see people having a plan for building, right? I mean, any time you talk to a GM he says, “I’ve got a three to five-year building plan,” and I guess it’s safe to say I’ve got pretty good experience in that. The reality is, as I’ve told a number of people, I don’t have any experience in trying to stay on top. That’s the reality. I can say I’ve been around and I’m one of the most senior GMs out there, but the truth is it’s a different animal.

It’s where we all want to be, but when you get there you go, “Wow, this is different from trying to build like I did in San Jose and here.” One thing I learned from last year was, whether you want to call it a five-year plan, you’ve got to put that in place. I don’t know if you want to call it a plan or a window, but that should have a plan too. So, in learning from that experience, about two months ago we really started looking at a five-year plan, so to speak, knowing that it has to change if the cap is going up and what players will do. We started after Kopitar was done, and staying within that framework and then trying to sign a number of guys — not just Looch, but a number — because it’s all making them fit, right? If Looch wants this, then maybe give him more term so I can get this guy, who takes less term. The only risk to that is, you don’t want players distracted, because that can happen. They worry about it a little and what to do. “Should I take it or not take it?” So we’ve erred on the side of let’s open discussions here, because in the long run, particularly with these guys that you expect to `fit’ in your plan, you have those discussions. Then other guys that you haven’t opened up yet, you want to get through these guys because you want to move to the next guy. So, as you guys know, it’s very hard to answer your questions in a sound bite, because there’s so much more, but that’s pretty much it.

To read more of Lombardi’s quotes from the call — including him opening up about Rob Scuderi, Kris Versteeg, Marian Gaborik and the Chicago Blackhawks — click here.

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