Forum answers I

Please feel free to keep posting questions, but here’s the first set of answers…

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Question: Do you think we will be signing any other UFA’s or are we just about done? What are your thoughts on Moller playing this year or being sent to Manchester?

Answer: Lombardi seems open to the idea of bringing in one more veteran defenseman, probably one in the $1-million range who could fill that 6/7 spot. He mentioned, in passing, bringing back Denis Gauthier, but I don’t know if that will happen. That’s the only addition I would anticipate the Kings making before the start of training camp.

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Question: Where do you put us in points this year? Playoffs?

Answer: To be honest, I really haven’t analyzed the rosters of the other Western Conference contenders, but I think there has been enough improvement by the Kings for them to be in the hunt around 7-8-9-10 in the conference. Anything above or below that would surprise me.

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Question: Hey Rich, Do you see Hickey making the team at training camp replacing Quincey? Do you see them signing or trading for another scoring winger? Kovalev?

Answer: No, on both accounts. If you’re going strictly person-by-person, Scuderi replaces Quincey. Then the question would be, who replaces Gauthier? It might end up being Gauthier, but whomever it is, that person probably isn’t going to play much. Doughty, Johnson, Scuderi, Greene and O’Donnell are already in place, and then there is Harrold and Drewiske, among others. If Hickey makes the team, it’s not going to be in a situation where he’s playing 6-8 minutes a night. As for forwards, highly doubtful. There’s not a lot of cap room left, and Lombardi wants to leave himself some room to make an in-season trade, if needed. Kovalev doesn’t fit at all.

—–

Questions: How long before the Smyth trade were you (even off the record) aware of it? Does Lombardi expect Hickey to replace Quincey or will they go with Gauthier. I would think Gauthier would make the better seventh D-Man.

Answers: I was aware, prior to the trade deadline, that it was a possibility, and I was aware, at the end of the season, that there was a very good chance that Colorado would look to move Smyth. I don’t think either of those was a huge surprise to anyone. I knew what the Avalanche was asking for at the trade deadline, and that Lombardi wouldn’t go anywhere near that. I didn’t know what the particulars of this trade were until it was done. And, based on my previous answer, I completely agree that Gauthier (or someone similar to him) is a better fit as a 6/7 defenseman.

—–

Questions: 1) What are the chances that the roster the Kings have right now will be the roster they have come October? And if not, we’ve heard that DL is looking for another veteran defenseman. Who do you think the Kings are most likely to get? 2) Does DL have any timetable on trying to sign Johnson to a new contract to try to avoid what happened with O’Sullivan last season?

Answers: 1) I think there’s a 50-50 chance that the Kings will add a veteran defenseman. There’s a long, long list of people it could be. It could end up being Gauthier, but it definitely would be someone in that mold who would fit in the $1-million range or so. 2) There’s no timetable, and no real need for a deadline. Johnson isn’t arbitration eligible and can’t sign an offer sheet, so there’s no deadline. I don’t think Lombardi feels he made a mistake in how he handled O’Sullivan last year, so I doubt that would influence the way he handles Johnson.

—–

Question: Do you think the Kings will add a left winger to play with Handzus and Simmonds on the third line?

Answer: Not unless it’s at a (relatively) very low salary.

—–

Question: Did the trade for Smyth pretty much seal the deal for Frolov? After doing the math I find it hard to believe they will fit him under the cap next season, assuming the cap goes down.

Answer: Well, it certainly doesn’t increase the chances of re-signing Frolov, that’s for sure. It all depends on where that cap ceiling ends up. The Kings basically have committed a little more than $37 million to 13 players for 2010-11. That’s quite a bit, but remember that every other team is going to be in a bind if the cap ceiling comes down. That would greatly reduce Frolov’s ability to get a huge raise.

—–

Questions: Can you ask why we do not play the Ducks and Sharks rookies any more? Also, didn’t rookie camp use to be 5 or 6 days? Why the cut back? Can you also ask, maybe a scout, what they saw in Berube, the Goalie? The rest of the draft looks great, but this one is confusing.

Answers: 1) There was some disagreement among executives of the four teams about how to handle the rookie tournament, so the Kings and Coyotes broke off on their own and decided to stage their own two-day tournament. I’m not sure why the Kings decided not to do a scrimmage this year at the end of the development camp. I know there were concerns about opposing scouts getting a good look at what the Kings have. 2) Berube was stuck behind a really strong goalie on that Montreal team, so the Kings believe he will shine when he’s given the opportunity to be a full-time starter. That’s the short answer, but I can try to get a longer one.

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  • Rommel

    Who will be the LW of 3rd Line ? King, Wudrick or Moller?

    Scuderi is a player other than the Quincey, Rich. Quincey is PP QB, and this lack in the team. Hickey should rise, I think.

  • Goon Squad

    Hey Rich,

    I have to respectfully disagree about Hickey. Number one, there’s every opportunity for him (or Voynov, or Drewiske) to grab the number 6 spot on defense. Even if they do bring back Gauthier. Number two, while he’s not Drew Doughty, he has had an additional 2 years of junior experience plus captaining Team Canada – it’s certainly not a stretch to think he could come in and be the story of training camp. Number three, while Gauthier is an experienced veteran, I disagree that he’s a better fit than Hickey in the #6 slot. You already have Greene, Scuderi, and O’Donnell as stay at home, steady defenders. I would lean towards another mobile guy, personally.

    And a question, back at the trade deadline was it Frolov the Avalanche wanted for Smyth or was it Bernier, Teubert, and a pick. I remember it both ways!

    Thanks.

  • JJ4Pres

    How would you grade this Kings offseason with the Scuderi signing, Smyth trade, Boyle trade and the attempted Hossa signing??

  • maz

    Rich–

    What happens with Purcell? I can’t see him cracking the top two lines with the addition of Smyth, and he just doesn’t seem suited for the type of third- and fourth-line minutes DL is building towards. Is he done here?

  • Derek

    What about Jason Smith for the 6/7 dman?

  • Timoteo

    Hey Rich, i have to say I don’t think Gauthier makes much sense as an additional D. We have Sean, Greene and Scuderi as defensive D and PK guys. I don’t think any of the 3 are really the guy you want on the PP. JJ and Doughty who both can play on the PP, PK and a regular D shift. Stoll has also been used on the point for the PP. So that would make one think we need another D who can play on the PP or another forward who can play the point on the PP. If we look inside the organization Harrold, Voynov, Drewisky or Hickey would seem to fit that PP role. Given that the first three have played in the NHL or AHL, i would expect them to have a better chance of making it than Hickey because he’d have to jump past the AHL to make the Kings, something Lombardi has said he prefers not to do (despite multiple guys doing just that last year).

  • DanH

    Ok Rich, you are the coach and GM…how do you set up the lines and finish the roster?

  • Quisp
  • Cynic

    Beauchemin To Toronto…3.8mil/3yrs

    Kovalev to Ottawa 5mil/2 yrs

    Two more gone….

  • cry Baby

    Jason Smith would be an excellent pick up for the 6/7 D-Man. What is the price and he probably wants more than a year.

  • Will Hutchison

    I think that the good goalie, Jake Allen, that Berube is behind in Montreal was drafted in 2008, and will be there this year unless he plays with his NHL team in St. Louis. He’ll be 19 in August.

  • Big A

    Jason Smith is coming off a very bad year. I don’t want to write him off completely, but I’m pretty sure he’s lost his game. Definitely would much rather see one of the young guns step up than put Smith into the mix.

  • Derek

    How about Chelios.. I know he’s old, but will give the leadership AND can fill in the small minutes if need be. Probably wouldn’t cost a lot either. And yes, I know he mentioned he would rather stay on the east coast. But if anyone can persuade, DL can

  • Dave

    Rich, thanks for the fine job covering the Kings. You give us fans tremendous insight in regards to the Kings.

    If you have another open forum, I would like to know if you think Ryan Smyth will be the teams captain next year.

    Thanks

  • Smitty

    Rich, if the Kings didn’t sign Frolov, wouldn’t that pretty much kill all the hype of the Ryan Smyth trade? Last season, Frolov had 32g+27a=59pts and Smyth had 26g+33a=59pts, both in 77gp. I thought the point of the trade was to add scoring depth, by keeping all of our current scorers and adding another. Otherwise, it almost turns out to be Smyth for Frolov, Quincey, Preissing and 5th rounder. (You can throw in Scuderi on the Smyth side since we just paid money for him, but I think you catch my drift here) Smyth will be great at knocking in the junk, which our forwards rarely did, and essentially makes it 5 x 30 goal scorers…Kopi, Brown, Frolov, Williams and Smyth…not that all 5 will score 30+, but it’s neat to finally know we have 5 guys that have in the recent past.

  • Tommy

    Rich,
    Does the trade for Smyth mean we wont be in the running for Kovalchuk next year? Don’t get me wrong, I love the Smyth trade, but i still think we need that pure goal scorer. Your thoughts?
    Thanks

  • Some fan

    Do the Kings have any interest in defensemen Mathieu Scnheider?

  • Don

    Berube should see a bit more time this year. Jake Allen is the favorite to be Canada’s WJC goalie, so he’d be absent for a few weeks.

    Plus it wouldn’t be surprising if Montreal (the QMJHL team, not the NHL one) traded Allen at some point if the team doesn’t look poised for a Memorial Cup run. Since Allen is AHL eligible next year, they could deal him to a contender since they’ll likely lose him after this year regardless.

    Allen himself was stuck behind Shark draftee (and now current Duck prospect) Timo Pielmeier during his draft year. An awesome performance at the 2008 U-18s vaulted Allen from a mid-round pick to the top of the 2nd. After that, they dealt Pielmeier and went with Allen as #1 last year. So it wouldn’t shock me if they went the same route with Berube eventually.

  • Arron

    Hi Rich,

    I would like to go back to the draft if I may. Just before the New York Rangers were about to pay tribute to Alexie Cherapanov the analysts on TSN said that the Rangers were going to receive a conditional draft pick in the middle of the second round for compensation of Alexie’s Death. My question is, Does the NHL have something written where a team receives a draft pick when a player dies or was this done for this particular circumstance. Do you also know if the Vancouver Canucks received a compensatory pick for the death of Luc Bourdon? Both Alexie and Luc were selected 10th overall in the first round in their respective drafts.

    Thanks a bunch Rich

  • Axel

    Rich,

    Do you think DL is going to make a push for Travis Moen to play LW on that 3rd line? Seems like a perfect fit with Simmonds and Handzus, rough tough third liner for not a lot of cash…?

  • iansez

    Perhaps Rob Neidermeyer would work well in that role too Axel, along with Handzus that’s a lot of size on line. Although I’d personally prefer the Kings not sign any ex-duck!

  • Kevin Y

    Rich, do you know if DL is actively talking to other GM’s about a potential trade, either for another scorer or somebody for that third-line LW, or looking for free agents to fill those roles?

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  • Don

    @Arron regarding Cherepanov

    The Rangers used the literal translation of the compensatory pick process. If you draft a guy in the first round and you’re unable to sign him (generally speaking, you lose his rights after two years), you get compensated with a 2nd rounder.

    The rule was in place to give teams some compensation if a first round pick held out for more money. Like Blake Wheeler in Phoenix or Mike Van Ryn with the Devils back in the day.

    Teams also kinda abuse the rule in that they can get compensated if they end up making an awful first round pick and would rather have a redo in the second round rather than sign the original player (A.J. Thelen and Jens Karlsson, off the top of my head).

    The Canucks did not receive a pick for Bourdon because he had already signed, plus he had played a couple professional seasons.

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