Lombardi, on Day 1 of free agency

OK, here’s the first part of the Lombardi interview from tonight, starting with his general impressions of how the day went and how it related to the Kings. Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion about the job Lombardi does, but you know a person has been working hard when he stops in the middle of a sentence and says, “Is today Tuesday?” We’ve all been there, right? So, here’s the first part, with more to come…


Question: Can you talk about your general impressions of the day? The understanding, going in, was that you weren’t going to be particularly active, but did the day match your expectations?

Answer: “I agree on the first part. I don’t think we were expecting to be tremendously active. I think we were fairly set in terms of the forward situation, other than getting a high, high level guy or something like that. I don’t think that made a lot of sense because we weren’t going that route. On the back end (defense), I think we set out a profile that there were a couple guys we would look at who would fit a box now and maybe better in the future. I wasn’t immune to looking at a couple guys who we could get in now, and will fit right now, but will fit even better in terms of when the other kids come through. We’re still looking at that potential right now. We’re not completely done. But there weren’t a lot of candidates in the first place. A few of them have gone, and that’s fine. There’s still a possibility there but we’re not sure how realistic it is.

“Then the second part is, if the last guy goes who fits across the line, we would still probably look at a bridge player on the back, preferably a left shot. When you’re talking about those bridge-type players, you’re hoping to at least get a fit. I’m not saying we wouldn’t look at a (right) shot, but when you’re looking at a bridge, ideally I think we need a left shot. The other thing that showed up, before free agency and even today, as people spend money to get guys in, there might be a `soft’ deal there, so to speak. Maybe we could trade a `B-level’ prospect or a mid-round or late-round pick for a guy who can be here for a year. So there’s also that avenue for a bridge player.”

Question: Were you focused completely on defensemen?

Answer: “It was completely defensemen. One of the things we were looking at, as I’ve said, is that we want to give every opportunity to those three kids who have paid their dues (Boyle, Moulson and Purcell). Then I think Stoll fills a role. It’s not a bad middle, with Kopitar, Stoll, Handzus and Boyle. Richardson could do the middle and you’ve still got (Armstrong). It’s not bad. There’s not enough there to say, `OK, we’re going to push this kid out because we want an improvement.”’

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  • petey

    Hmmmmm…..not looking to good for Armstrong to be playing a lot of games next season. He lists Kopitar, Stoll, Handzus and Boyle as the top 4 centers and then mentions Armstrong like he’s a reserve player.
    Maybe I’m just reading too much into it.

  • Good2BKings


    Incredible work! You must be one of those type who can operate on 4 hours of sleep. Did you really get the feeling that Dean thinks he can actually sign one the guys who will remain nameless? Or is it hot air because he knows how many Kings fans read your blog? Based on this list you created a while ago, Orpik is the on d-man left. Word is he is staying in the East. I guess I will have to hit those cap sites to see who has one year left on their contract.

    Keep it up! We love it!

  • Good2BKings

    I thought the same thing about Army; however, he can also move to the wing on the 3rd or 4th line.

  • Anonymous

    Great job Rich keep that oil burning we are here with you…

  • Ciccarelli

    No, Petey, I got the same impression.

  • ryan oliver

    Interesting. I figured he would sign no forwards, sinve I remember him sdaying he was going with the youth

  • Daniel

    Don’t worry about Army. He is what, 35? He has never had a good year and he’s not getting any better. He is a good teammate so they will keep him on to help in practice, fill in here and there and what-not.

    Lombardi and his staff did exactly what anyone who has actually been paying attention to Rich’s blog expected – mostly nothing. Which is fine. I actually like the team as is. Can it get a lot better? Yes. But what are they going to do? Sign Hossa and Sundin and Orpik? That would be nice but even teams like the Red Wings and Habs would have a hard time making that happen. Once one of our goalies emerges as a true No. 1, someone who can steal games and take the team deep into the playoffs, the top FA’s will follow.

    Be patient. Talent is in nature and nature should always take it’s course.

  • Quisp

    Armstrong is extremely vulnerable right now, not that it’s surprising given the trade for Stoll and the expected emergence of Boyle. I expect him to be traded this summer for…yes…picks (actually that’s probably more like a wish on my part), but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him in camp, just in case someone else gets hurt. He really is starting to remind me of Tim Watters, who I would always pencil OUT before the season started and would always — due to some prospect crapping out or some injury — end up on the team and playing well to boot.

    Or let Army be this year’s Klemm in Manchester.

    The other thing is, if the cap floor is really a consideration (which DL says it’s not), maybe it makes sense to sign someone more expensive for a year to eat up some of that cap, and send Army down where he can inspire.

  • Eric K

    OK, time to be the Army’s advocate for a second…

    The guy had a +4 last year. How many other guys on our team had that high a rating? I will list them all below.

    Brian Boyle (in 8 games!)

    That’s it. No, Army is not a stud, and he’s not gonna be a huge offensive threat. but on one of our lower lines he’ll be fine, and he’s good as a veteran presence in the locker room.

  • PRMan

    Derek Armstrong’s only problem is that he finds himself on the second line and the Power Play. As a defensive third line center, he’s fine.

  • Mike

    Love the work… Im not sure how dead on you are with the goalie commentary. Lombardi is what I see being coy about it. Sadly for the kings I think Havlat may go on the market with Lang, two guys that will send consderable young talent to the Hawks.

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