A quick interview with Dean Lombardi…
Question: How did this one come together?
LOMBARDI: “We were trying to avoid what happened last year with Orpik. It was the exact same situation. With Orpik last year, we knew what Pittsburgh offered, and we made our offer but the (current team) is always going to get the last chance, and they got him. In this case, we found out what Pittsburgh was offered and we knew we just had to blow them out of the water. When you’re talking about offers, it’s not just the money. It’s cost of living in L.A. and it’s taxes. If you’re offering $500,000 more, it’s really not that much when you look at everything. So we knew we had to blow Pittsburgh out of the water, but we wanted this guy. He has a ring and there are no questions at all about his character.”
Question: Where do you see him fitting in with the guys already here?
LOMBARDI: “He’s a steady guy who can go with Doughty and a steady guy that can go with Johnson. We like the guys we have, the Quinceys and the Greenes, but the real steady guys I’ve got are the ones that are coming up through the system now. I didn’t want to have to play those kids right away. I wanted another guy with experience, and now I can put all of those kids in the minors for a year and I’ve got a guy with a ring. Now hopefully I don’t have to go back into that (free-agent) market for a while looking for guys (on defense).”
Question: Looking at the roster, it would seem that you have six NHL-ready defensemen. Is there a chance one of the kids could still jump out at you?
LOMBARDI: “Sure there’s a chance, but there’s also a question of how the money might even out. It’s a huge price to pay to break a kid in at this level. You get him in, then he maybe has one good year and then, boom, he’s asking for (a big contract). When you build depth, you try to do it the way Detroit did with (Jonathan) Ericsson, and bring them along slowly. Let’s say Hickey comes in and lights it up in training camp. OK, that’s a good problem to have, but in the long run, if you can wait until your guys are completely ready, you hopefully end up like Detroit. It gets tough when you have a situation like we had with Moller. He has a great camp and we take him, but he’s not really a man yet. I hate to do that, so this (Scuderi signing) helps us.”