Cliff notes: He’s satisfied he did everything he could do. The Adam Foote deal with Colorado probably impacted what the Avalanche would offer for Blake. For Stuart, he did the same deal as what Brent Sopel brought last year. There was some contract talk with Stuart and the Kings decided based on that to move him. Thornton, who also had a no-trade clause, gave him a list of four teams to which he would accept a trade. They almost had a deal with one but it fell through because of a bigger deal the team pulled.
On how the day went: “Whenever you’re in these situations, you have to make sure to do the best you can in terms of getting in the market and talking to everybody over the last 3-4 weeks. You’re satisfied in that you looked at every angle and did everything you could.
In our situation, it’s a little easier to say did the best you could because, essentially, you’re not trying to make hockey deals. You’re certainly not improving your team immediately. You’re trying to do something for the future. It’s a little easier to walk away and say you did the best you could than when you’re going the other way and trying to add players or make straight hockey deals.”
On if the Adam Foote deal affected his dealings with Colorado: “It did affect Colorado’s ability to make a legitimate offer, probably.”
On the Stuart deal: “You do your best in terms of what the marketplace is there. It’s pretty much in the ballpark. It’s similar to what (Brent) Sopel brought last year. That’s the kind of touchstone we set.”
On if there was an attempt to sign Stuart to a long-term deal before trading him: “That is one of the things we were weighing in terms of whether to pursue it. What we’re doing there is saying, `This is the marketplace in terms of what we can get, and here is the cost to sign him. We decided the best thing was to go this route at this time.”
On piling up picks for the next draft: “I think its fairly well known that this, as it stands now — no one knows for sure until 5-6 years from now — but most hockey people look at this as a strong draft, yes. Much stronger than last year, thats for sure. Obviously, there are some top players at the top. I think the fair terminology is that it has some depth. It’s a much stronger class than last years group.”
On the first-ever Kings trade with the rival Ducks: “Obviously, we’re breaking it in slow. We just put our toe in the water to see if we like it and, if we like it, maybe we’ll try antoher one and get up to the fifth round. Its a good chance for J-S. We originally signed him on two-way contract. They’re looking at him like most teams that are looking for a third guy just in case heading into playoffs. It will be good to see if he can extend his career.”
On attempts to move Thornton: “Thortie had a no-trade, dont forget. He wanted to go to four teams that he thought had a legitimate chance to win the Cup. We tried to accommodate him. We were close on one team but then they did a big deal that kind of got blocked and crowded him.”
On his general thoughts of the day around the league: “I think the more telling thing was last year there were 20 trades leading up to the day and this year there were only four. When you’re taking into account the trade deadline, it’s not only the day itself but a lot of deals leading up to it. Overall, I would consider it slow, all-by with some big names and all the big names were generated by contract situations. These in a lot of ways werent hockey deals per-se based on hockey player for hockey player. Campbell was clearly an inability to sign, Richards an example of what we see in the NBA where you have to change the salary structure and invest, as did Boyle in back, and try to get some goaltending.
“If you look at it other than those big names, I think it was kind of slow. The other thing you didnt see in the past, and it’s a product of free-agency, is that a lot of players have no-trades. It’s something that, as free-agency comes down to the 27-year age and it’s harder and harder to acquire players, sometimes you dont have a choice if you want a player. There’s not a lot of good players out there and it’s almost becoming standard fare (to include a no-trade clause in a contract). That clearly had a huge impact on the market that we havent run into before. Before the lockout, this never was an issue.”
On if he will try to re-sign Rob Blake in the offseason: “It’s certainly something that needs to be discussed. I think Ive made it clear since I’ve got here that one of the biggest challenges is bulding that back with the goaltending and defense. I think we were very fortunate, thank God, where would we be without Jack Johnson now? I think that’s why we took a swing with Hickey. We need to keep focusing on that and say what fits here with the young guy. Certainly, if Rob performs like he did there when he got healthy, its hard to imagine he wouldnt be a fit with hopefully some other younger players. But the most important thing for us is to try and get that back similar to how we look at the front. I think its pretty good that we see some younger players that are here — we had some additions with boyle and Purcell. I’d like to see us get the same feeling on the back. That still remains a huge priority. Then we go on the veteran side of the equation and see what fits in terms of player and character and that sort of thing.”