Goalie Jonathan Quick could be sidelined by a groin injury until mid-February. (Photo by John McCoy Daily News)
Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said Wednesday he now expects injured goaltender Jonathan Quick to be sidelined until at least mid-February, or one month longer than the original three-month layoff projected back in mid-October. Lombardi spoke with traveling beat reporters before the Kings’ practice in Buffalo, N.Y., breaking the news during a rambling answer about the prospects for a trade to bolster the team’s goaltending in the absence of Quick.
The Kings have been without Quick since he injured his groin in the first period of the Kings’ season-opening game Oct. 12 in San Jose.
The Kings’ combined goals-against average is 2.40 and their save percentage is .904. Peter Budaj has started 23 games in Quick’s absence, going 13-7-2 with a 2.66 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage.
The Kings are 14-12-2, fifth in the Pacific Division, after opening a seven-game trip with a 6-3 loss Tuesday to the Buffalo Sabres. Jeff Carter, who had two goals Tuesday against Buffalo, said the Kings were a “fragile team.” The Kings’ trip continues Thursday against the Detroit Red Wings, who are 13-13-4, sixth in the Atlantic, after a 4-1 loss Tuesday to the Arizona Coyotes.
Here’s more from Kings general manager Dean Lombardi, who talked at some length Friday afternoon about giving forward Tyler Toffoli a two-season, $6.5-million contract extension and how it enabled him to also trade for physical forward Milan Lucic, and what’s next on his summer to-do list:
“I have to say our first priority, in terms of signing now, is (signing Anze) Kopitar (to an extension). The other thing I’d say, that shows this team cares about winning, is what Tyler Toffoli did. It shows how everything ties together. With the threat of offer sheets and everything out there, the way he handled the situation was exemplary.
“This is a top young player. He could wait for an offer sheet (from another team). He could demand millions in a long-term deal. We talked to him, and it’s certainly a fair deal but it’s still a good deal for him, but in no way did he hold anybody hostage. If Tyler Toffoli doesn’t step up and do this, we can’t do this (Lucic) deal.
“Then we would have exposed ourselves to an offer sheet. It’s just exemplary for a young player, to realize his time will come and take a good deal, but not try to shoot for the moon. So the team is allowed to go out and make itself better. Once this (trade) got rolling, it was not doable without Tyler signing. If we had done this without Tyler signing, we were exposed to an offer sheet. It’s a great example of guys caring about the right things. They’ll get their money when the time comes.”
Kings general manager Dean Lombardi agreed with the conventional wisdom in fandom, but he also explained the team’s trade Friday afternoon with the Boston Bruins for physical forward Milan Lucic this way, “This deal, we gave up quite a bit, but I was very clear I would not give up that unless it was not only the player, but a fit. Is it the loss of the other player (Justin Williams)? Yeah, but that’s not what drives it. This isn’t done unless it’s that type of player (Lucic).”
Lombardi all but acknowledged the departure of Williams as an unrestricted free agent next week.
UPDATE: Kings confirm via Twitter
It’s not official yet, but reports Friday morning from NHL Draft HQ in Sunrise, Fla., indicate the Kings and Tyler Toffoli have agreed on a two-year, $6.5-million contract extension. Toffoli’s return was among the top items on general manager Dean Lombardi’s offseason to-do list. The 23-year-old Toffoli has scored 37 goals and 83 points in 148 career games over two-plus seasons in the NHL.
Check back later for more updates.
Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said Sunday things got so bad for the inconsistent team this season that after a victory Feb. 7 to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the players barricaded themselves behind locked doors and garbage cans and held a players-only meeting.
The cans were stacked in front of the dressing room and meant to be a signal to Kings coach Darryl Sutter to stay out. The Kings then snapped from a midseason funk to win eight consecutive games before faltering down the stretch and missing the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Lombardi said during an hour-long session with reporters at the team’s El Segundo practice facility that he didn’t have a problem with the meeting in general, but took mild offense to the extreme measures the players took in locking out Sutter.
“I guess it’s fair to say there was a little scuffle in Tampa,” Lombardi said when asked about a report in the New York Post that suggested the incident happened during a winless trip to play the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers and Calgary, Flames, which knocked them out of the playoffs.
Lombardi corrected several elements of the Post’s story, including the date and location of the incident.
“I could look at it and say, ‘That’s when we won eight in a row, so let’s do this more often,’” Lombardi said when asked if he was troubled by the incident. “In terms of what actually happened, maybe they don’t have to go to that extreme, but theoretically I don’t have a problem with it.”
Neither Sutter nor the Kings players were available for immediate comment.
KINGS AT OILERS
Faceoff: 6:30 p.m. TV/Radio: FSW, 790-AM
Kings general manger Dean Lombardi didn’t make a deal at the NHL’s trade deadline Monday, so the roster will remain intact for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs, if they make the playoffs. The Kings have lost three consecutive games, including a lackluster 5-2 defeat Sunday to the Winnipeg Jets, and fell from a playoff spot after winning eight consecutive games and returning to the postseason field. The Kings are 29-21-12 overall, but only 9-14-6 away from Staples Center. Only the Buffalo Sabres (seven), Toronto Maple Leafs (seven), Edmonton Oilers (eight) have fewer road wins than the Kings, which explains their predicament. Coach Darryl Sutter hasn’t been pleased with the play of his veterans during the Kings’ three-game losing streak, but he hasn’t named names. The Oilers are 18-35-10, and last in the Pacific Division and in the Western Conference.
Here’s one man’s perspective on the winners and losers at the trade deadline. OK, it’s not my view, but give it a look, anyway. There is some solid analysis courtesy of Yahoo Sports: https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-2015-trade-deadline-report-card–puck-daddy-s-winners–losers-150357318.html
The NHL’s trade deadline is at noon Monday (Pacific time). Last year, Kings general manager Dean Lombardi pulled off a major move to get veteran winger Marian Gaborik from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Gaborik scored a team-leading 14 goals during the playoffs, helping to guide the Kings to their second Stanley Cup championship in three seasons. Can Lombardi swing another deal that will benefit the struggling club? There was a rumor early Monday that the Kings would attempt to deal suspended defenseman Slava Voynov, but that was shot down quickly.
Last week, Lombardi acquired puck-moving defenseman Andrej Sekera from the Carolina Hurricanes for a draft pick and a prospect, a move designed to fill a void created when Voynov was suspended indefinitely Oct. 20 by the NHL over a domestic violence charge at his Redondo Beach home. The addition of Sekera means the Kings are prepared to move on without Voynov.
Here’s some of what Kings forward Jordan Nolan said about his new three-year contract extension after the morning skate Tuesday in El Segundo:
“My agent called me a few days ago and said there was an opportunity to maybe take care of some paperwork and get locked up for a few years, so I sai, ‘All right, sounds good.’ Two days later, I got a call and he said, ‘We’re all set.’ There’s no easy contracts, but definitely a lot quicker than the first one I got. …
“Any time you feel wanted in the organization, it gets your confidence up there. I spent a lot of time in Manchester (in the AHL) in development with the coaches and he (general manager Dean Lombardi) shows a lot of confidence in me, so to give me that three-year deal definitely makes me feel good.”
Kings general manager Dean Lombardi continued to reward his players with contract extensions. Tuesday, he inked Jordan Nolan to a three-season deal with an AAV of $950,000. Nolan, a 25-year-old forward, has only 24 points in 170 career games in the NHL. He was a member of the Kings’ Stanley Cup championship teams in 2012 and ’14, however. Lombardi has been generous in giving extensions to his players, with Marian Gaborik receiving a new seven-year deal and Matt Greene getting a four-year contract during the last offseason.