Lombardi on Trading for Iginla and Expectations This Season

Following the completion of today’s NHL Trade Deadline, Kings GM Dean Lombardi held a conference call with the media to discuss his team’s acquisition of forward Jarome Iginla.

Lombardi on expectations for Iginla:

“We’re trying to bridge a gap here. It’s tough being in this middle layer, right now at the deadline. You’re caught between that ‘Buy or Sell’ mentality. We weren’t going to be able to sign Dwight King, in terms of what it was looking like. We have to do some work here to replenish our reserve list; given what’s happened the past couple of years since winning the Cups. You’re taking a guy out of your locker room and trying to get some future assets. What’s the best way to make sure your team, maybe even has a better chance to win without comprising what you want to do going forward. In terms of Jarome and the other guys who were available, the one thing about him is there is no question about his competiveness. What you’re banking on is, despite the age and everything else, that competiveness will come through. And if it does, his dimension, we feel will be a good fit for one of our two top centers. If you look at it, in terms of Jarome, it’s not only going in front of the net, where he has great instincts – we all know about his battle and everything – but he’s also a really smart player. Over the years, you don’t score 50 goals – a good example would be Brett Hull, it’s finding those seams and when to show up in them. I think that is really critical in today’s game because of the way everybody collapses. The ability to know when to get open and how to get there, then having a release, is something we really haven’t had. And certainly not that dimension to put with Kopitar. When you see Kopitar doing his work on the walls and things, not only are we hoping Jarome can be that guy, that F2, and help him there because he’s a big, strong guy who competes. He’s also the type of guy who can get open for you, for those plays. So we’re thinking the fit will be good. And I don’t think you have anything to lose when making a choice between… he’s still a top competitor.”

More Lombardi on the trade and any similarities to when Rob Blake came back to LA from the Avs:

“A guy of his stature, who has always played on completive teams, won a Stanley Cup in Colorado, and he tries to come back to LA – and as a lot of you saw at the time, we had some gong shows going as we were building [this team]. He wasn’t very good. It looked like he was done. But if a great player spent the last season with no light at the end of the tunnel, it’s like, guys can say they still love to play the game. But, they play to win at that stage. Then, when Blakey went to San Jose, and they had a really good team, he was one of their best players. You would have never said that from watching him [in LA the year prior]. So, what you’re hoping for, is taking [Iginla] out of [Colorado] and giving him a fresh start, having a chance to win again – hopefully that ignites him, very similar to what happened with Blakey. You see it all the time. It’s really hard for top players who have had great success, at the end of their careers, to play on teams that are struggling. The other thing you have here, and let’s face it, you have a guy like Darryl [Sutter]. If anybody knows Iggy, it’s Darryl. We aren’t going to have any issues there. They can jump right into what needs to get done and not get a feel for each other. These guys have been through the wars together. That’s the layout. What to expect? We’ll never know that for sure. I don’t have a crystal ball.”

On Dwight King being dealt to Montreal:

“Good honest player, really good defensively plays his system to a T. Can kill penalties, is heavy can complement and play him with good players. If you rattle his chain, he’s tough. Probably a good fit for Montreal and you know what, the guys won so that has value in itself. If you’re looking for a speed merchant it obvious that’s not his game. Every player brings something and it’s all about your mix, which is a little bit about our issue right now too. We’re trying to get Kempe and LaDue into the lineup, two guys who are quicker. Montreal has a lot of skilled guys who can skate, so you now add a guy who with his size and people says he might have trouble with his pace, but he never had trouble with his pace when he won two Stanley cups. I get it, maybe people think the game has changed but there were some pretty good players on the Rangers when we won the finals, and he had no problem in that environment. If you’re looking for a speed merchant, that’s not him. You want an honest player who can play in a physical situation? He’s your guy.”

On any parallels between Lecavalier last year and Iginla this year:

“That’s another one, exactly. He’s fallen off the map and they were struggling. Vinny was great, so yeah there’s a good one. If Iggy can do what Vinny can do, then we’re going to be more than pleased.”

On if the Kings had limited trade options this week due to wanting to retain picks and prospects:

“We lost sight here, that you have to constantly build. To try and load up at an exorbitant [price] so to speak, particularly when you’re not protected on team success, yes. I told you guys, I learned a valuable lesson at the Draft. I know how to build, but staying on top is a different animal. That was one of the things that really hit home, I walked away from the [Draft] table saying, ‘This will never happen again, boys. Take your medicine.’ ”

Jarome Iginla’s comments on being traded to Los Angeles posted here.

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