Looks like there will be a need for one more set of answers, which might be a record. Here’s the seventh set of answers…
Questions: What were your thoughts on the Smyth trade? Do you think Smyth is worth the $6.2 mill he earns. Was there any rumblings of anyone else coming via trade? I know DL has his Philly connection, was there any truth to the Gagner or Hartnell rumors?
Answers: 1) The Smyth trade can’t hurt. The Kings got rid of a quality defenseman, but they (at least potentially) have a bunch of those ready to come up through the system, and they got rid of an awful contract when Tom Preissing left. In exchange, they get a team leader with 30-goal potential. 2) Define “rumblings.” That’s pretty vague. Smyth was the first target, so there really wasn’t any need to go beyond him. 3) Hartnell, yes; Gagne, no.
Question: how much does Scuderi know about Doughty? Lemme rephrase that … Are you as looking forward to (as we are), of hearing Scuderi say into Daryl Evans interview microphone (after say the first 20 games of the season): “Wow … I had no idea this kid was this flippin’ good, this young.” Just curious? Thanks
Answer: It seemed, based on talking to him, that Scuderi certainly was aware of Doughty, but I would be surprised if he knew much more about him than from just catching Kings games on TV. Obviously they didn’t play together growing up and they haven’t met in any international tournmants, but I’m sure Scuderi has seen a bit of Doughty and heard some good word of mouth.
Question: Who if anyone will be replacing Quincy on the fan cruise later this month?
Answer: Haven’t heard, but I doubt that he will be replaced by anyone at this late date.
Question: I’m always curious when the Kings trade for a new player, like recently with Smyth, you say “I’ll be able to get an interview with him by tomorrow.” I take it you don’t already have his contact information. How do you get a hold of a player if you’ve never been able to talk with him before? Do you contact the Kings and request that they give you Smyth’s information?
Answer: There was a similar question earlier, but yes, the Kings’ communication staff is very helpful in terms of getting me in touch with newly acquired players.
Question: Who do you think the leader is for the 2nd line center position? Handzus? Stoll? or someone who can produce scoring wise?
Answer: Good question. I think I would work backward, and say that because the Handzus-Simmonds pair was so successful last season, the Kings might be inclined to keep them together on the third line. Also, Stoll and Brown seemed to have some chemistry too, so that might increase Stoll’s chances of taking that spot. I guess, based on those factors, I would give Stoll the edge.
Question: What ae the Chances we trade for Kaberle now that Beauchemin has taken his place? it would replace Quincey’s production almost exactly.
Answer: Tomas Kaberle? Of the Maple Leafs? The guy who will make $4.25 million next season. I’ll go with “zero percent” on that one.
Question: Do you think TM spoke to brother BM for insight about Heatley’s character (flaws) before pulling out of any reported trade dialogues or do you think they got word of the “red flags” through the media like everyone else? I think there’s quite a few GM’s that would be willing to forget about his negotiation tactics and take him on for 40-50 goals a season. How forgiving could DL be and for what price?
Answer: I don’t know, for a fact, that Terry Murray talked to his brother, but I certainly don’t think your theory is ridiculous, by any means. I don’t think Lombardi, or any GM, is influenced by media reports when it comes to players. They have much more reliable sources they can go to, people around the league whose insights and opinions they trust. I don’t think Lombardi completely cut off Heatley. Obvioulsy he at least talked to Ottawa about a possible trade, but he concluded that the price, coupled with the risk, was too much. Edmonton looked at the same factors and decided that it was worth the risk, but then Heatley bit Edmonton’s hand.
Question: Understanding that Smyth has made Heatley a mute point for the Kings, where do you see him landing? Are there GM’s that care more about stats and less about character?
Answer: wow, I really don’t know. Given that there weren’t many realistic options to begin with, and two of them (the Kings and Edmonton) are off the table, I guess I’d say that the odds have Heatley staying put. Edmonton’s willingness to pull off a trade certainly indicates that there’s a market for Heatley. The questions are, who can afford him, and where will he agree to go? It’s going to be difficult to find a team that answers both questions.
Question: Please answer if this hasn’t been brought up more than a couple of times: How is Drewiske not the 6th defenseman? I hear a lot of talk about another veteran d-man coming in to fill that spot. Granted, he played what, a quarter of a season, but he was the best defenseman on the team not named Doughty over that stretch. Poise, vision, intelligence – the kid has what it takes. What are your thoughts, and the thoughts of the KIngs’ organization on this? I think it’s his spot to lose. Anybody else coming in is purely insurance and our 7th guy. Then of course, there’s Harrold…
Answer: At this point, I think Drewiske would be the favorite to fill that sixth spot, but I’m definitely not shocked that Lombardi would look for another veteran. Remember that other than O’Donnell, the Kings don’t have a defenseman over age 30. When you have that many young defensemen, it’s never a bad idea to bring in a steady hand who can provide some leadership. It could very well end up, as you suggest, that the “unnamed veteran” is the No. 7 guy, while Drewiske fills the No. 6 spot. The chances of that increase even further if the Kings decide to keep Harrold at forward.
Questions: 1) I’m confused as to why Quick isn’t our No. 1 goaltender for ’09-’10 (at the very least tentatively, if not clearly) coming into this season. Granted, I didn’t get to watch every game, but nearly every game he gave the team a chance to win. He was nearly perfect when it came to breakaways and odd-man rushes (so many spectacular post-to-posts). To me, he’s the best thing that’s happened to the Kings in goal since…since…wow, it’s been a long time, huh?
2) How do you see our third/fourth lines changing, if at all, this next season? What ‘personalities’ do you think TM will want out of those lines?
3) What odds would you place on Simmonds putting up 30+ goals this year? I’m sorry, I love the kid, and I really hope he turns out to be our best surprise. He’s got grit, speed, and a great shot. I think if given the chance and experience in the upper lines he can be a fantastic player. Any chance TM will give him a shot in the top 6 for a while?
4) Is there any truth to this ‘sophomore slump’ rubbish I hear tossed about? With folks like Simmonds, Doughty, and Quick coming into their second year, it vaguely worries me, like that spicy burrito you eat before a long drive.
Answers: 1) A couple things. First, I would agree that Quick seems to be the Kings’ best option at this point, and logic dictates that as long as he performs well in training camp, he will enter the season as the No. 1 goalie. I’ll give you a couple words of caution though. One is that Quick has yet to play a full season in the NHL, and the stress of being a No. 1 goalie is much different than coming in, without many expectations, and thriving as a midseason call-up. Second, remember that 12 months ago, a lot of people were ready to hand the No. 1 job to Ersberg based on his strong play at the end of 2008. 2) I would expect that Handzus/Simmonds will remain the anchor of the third line. The other four spots, in my estimation, are completely open and are subject to Terry Murray’s whim and the way that players perform in camp. 3) Simmonds with 30 goals, this year? Wow, that’s VERY optimistic. I would set my realistic sights more in the 15-20 range. That said, Murray wasn’t shy about moving Simmonds around when Simmonds was playing well, so I don’t doubt that Simmonds could play his way into a more prominent role. 4) No, I don’t really believe in the term “sophomore slump.” There’s no question that a player’s performance can dip in his second season, but I don’t think there’s anything inherent about a second season that makes a player likely to slump.
Question: Rich, does it scare you with such young players on our team that need to be developed from a fitness perspective consistently and properly, that the strength coach was fired in the offseason, or simply let go? Players like Doughty, Moller, Simmonds are very young and need to properly exercise with clear goals in mind over these months. Another player like Purcell, needs to gain weight but his body type needs to be examined and scrutinized by the strength staff to properly put weight on him, he is 23-24 and needs 20+ lbs. What are your thoughts? If I was going to fire the strength coach I would have done it prior to the end of the season so as to not lose one second of time for the new guy coming in…
Answer: Not particularly. The new coach is in place now, and he now has more than two months to get the players where he wants them. Frankly, if they’re dedicated pro athletes, they shouldn’t even need a coach looking after them all that much. They should be self-motivated and know what they need to do in order to get themselves in top shape. Remember that Doughty, without any supervision from the Kings, dropped something like 20-25 pounds before last year’s training camp. I certainly agree, though, that the timing was odd, particularly since at the end of the season, Murray and Lombardi spoke so passionately about the need for an offseason plan.