The trade that would have sent Ryan Smyth to Edmonton for Gilbert Brule and a draft pick, reported as complete at one point Friday, is off.
Dean Lombardi told reporters Saturday in Minnesota that talks broke down when it became clear to the Kings’ GM that the proposed trade wouldn’t leave him enough cap space to sign a replacement for Smyth, a 23-goal scorer last season.
Lombardi didn’t get into the specific reasons why — the NHL prohibits general mangers from tampering with players under contract to other teams — but he offered some general reasons.
Given the four choices he had with the player (Brule) he was reportedly acquiring — playing him, trading him, buying out his contract or sending him to the minors — “I have to have the last three,” Lombardi said. “I’m losing Ryan Smyth here, a 20-goal proven scorer. I’m not going to get that back from any team I’m dealing with.”
Lombardi went on to say that “it’s not a money issue. Whether it’s a two-way or a one-way contract, your ability to buy out or waive, there’s certain things that have to be in place to keep that ability in place.”
That explanation seems to agree with a report on TSN.ca that Brule, who missed 41 games last season due to injury and illness, is still injured and therefore unable to be bought out by the Kings under the terms of the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement.
Lombardi said he’d rather not be stuck with playing Brule. “I’d rather go to the marketplace and say, ‘OK,’ like the deal I have with the other team, I’ll go and get it,” he said.
Smyth, an Alberta native, requested a trade home, so Lombardi’s “other team” is presumed to be the Calgary Flames.
This could all change by the end of the day. For now plan on reading more, along with a recap of the Kings’ draft picks, in tomorrow’s editions.