1st Trade Toward Free Agency

First trade of the Free Agency FRENZY... well, for the Kings.


Kings trade Lubomir Visnovsky to Edmonton for Jarret Stoll (C) and Matt Greene (D).



My first reaction:

NOOO!! LUBO!!!


A more eloquent reaction to come...

[Update]: Ok, I've gotten enough sleep to think about this for reals.


I guess my initial reaction was thinking more in terms of players on the roster than in terms of salary hits for the next couple of years and the respective ages of the 3 players involved here. Lubo is 31 this year and will be 36 at the end of this contract. When you look at his contract, you can think of it in two ways. (1) Will he be worth $5.6 million when he's 36? Or (2) you can think of it in his actual salary terms, $7m, $7m, $6m, $5m, $3m, respectively. Do I think he'll be worth $3m when he is 36? My answer is yes; he would have been an older puck-moving defenseman while making just $3 million. But on the other hand, that'd only be worth it if the first three years of the contract showed vast improvement from this past season. And, to be honest, with who's projected to be on the blueline, I'm not 100% certain that he would have made that turnaround in one year. And when I say "who's projected to be on the blueline," I really mean, "the gaping holes that are left." When you take a veteran like Lubo away (puck mover and power play quarterback), who do we definitely have left at this point in time? Jack Johnson, Tom Preissing, ... so how exactly does that reassure Kings fans of the fact that we're trying to keep the puck of our own net?

Ok, let's think about this, a cap hit of $5.6/year is now off the books. Who could we feasibly get? Better question, who in their right mind wants to come to LA?

The answer: Someone who wants to be a difference maker. Someone who can get on the roster and make his presence known without being too much of a liability.

Before you say Brad Stuart, I'm actually thinking of someone else. Don't get me wrong, I heart B-Stu and would love him to be back here, but what's this I hear about a shoulder injury?? I don't want to set myself up to be disappointed if he decides to sign with Detroit. Sure it'd be an extremely difficult challenge to try and repeat in Detroit, but how much more attractive is the idea to B-Stu of coming back to LA and really working for it? Not to say that he wasn't working his damned hardest in the Motor City; he was definitely earning his paycheck. But how much greater would the satisfaction be if he were to come back on the Kings roster and help take this sub par team into the playoffs for the first time in... many, many years? Well, only B-Stu can gauge that type of satisfaction. We, as fans, can only speculate what he's going to do in the next couple of days.

So the guy that I really want? Brooks Orpik. Demon on the backend who was part of the Pittsburgh roster in the Cup Finals last year. Yeah, he didn't win the Cup, but just look at the Kings. Wait, no, don't look....

Granted, I don't know as much about Orpik than I do about B-Stu, but I watched every game of the Stanley Cup Finals and I liked what I saw. He got the work done every time he was out there, as much as he could while his team was being dominated by a superior Red Wings squad. He showed enough emotion to where I saw him almost crack a ridiculously frustrated smile on the ice. Character guy who is a difference-maker? Sign him up!

But how much is he worth? Last year he made $1.075 and turned 28. Of course he'd be getting a fatty pay raise, but how much would it take to lure him away from the east coast? $3 million? $4 million? If we were, by some miracle, able to get BOTH B-Stu and Orpik over to the sunny side of So Cal, how much could we spend on those two guys? Well, if we take away Lubo's $5.6 million cap hit and Blake's $6 million, I'd say we have enough leeway to at least garner a valid consideration, no? Let's just hope Blake re-signs (at that discounted rate) to try to lure some Dmen to WANT to come here and try to help make a change.

I now can see why and feel like the no-trade clause and the no-movement clause are handcuffs for both the organization and the player. If Lubo hadn't been traded, the clause would have kicked in on Tuesday and would have 100% committed both parties to this contract. With Dean Lombardi making this move, we free the Kings organization of a risky 5-year contract while getting two roster players who are younger than Lubo. I can't really comment on the two players we received since I don't follow the Oilers at all. Although I did get a funny text from Steph that wasn't actually supposed to be funny. It's hilarious how one misspelled word can change the context of an entire sentence:

"Greene's getting better as he gets older but he makes some stupid mistakes and turns the suck over a lot."

So I'm not sure what to expect from Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene. Although I DID get super excited when I read "Greene" because I thought, "What?!?! Mike... oh ... who's Matt?" In any case, I will greatly miss Lubo in LA, especially since I never got a chance to meet him. I know it's gonna be eff-ing cold in Edmonton, but he's Slovakian. I have no doubt he'll be fine in the snow up there. Kings fans will still see him 4 times next season, but I just hope he's not booed. That's so annoying when a player is traded (but doesn't ask for it) and then gets booed by the fans of the old team!


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