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