ST PAUL, MN - JUNE 24: (L-R) Assistant General Manager Jim Schoenfeld of the New York Rangers, General Manager Glen Sather of the New York Rangers and General Manager David Poile of the Nashville Predators share a laugh during day one of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft at Xcel Energy Center on June 24, 2011 in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Up front: no, I am not talking about bloggers. Just wanted to clear that up.
[...] If you haven’t heard (Hammond just found out), San Jose is on Rick Nash’s top 5 list. So are the Kings. If that isn’t an invitation for a couple of guys with maximum testosterone to one up each other and land the prom queen [metaphor omitted for space]. [...] In the dark days, a certain Southern California team won the Cup. They did it after landing two of the best players in the league, namely Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer. Without those two, not going to happen.
Agreed. Except, I don't acknowledge that the Ducks ever won the cup. I didn't look. It didn't happen.
Almost every season since San Jose fired Dean Lombardi as their G.M., the Sharks have been a Cup contender and each season, they have disappointed. They haven’t even made it to the show. Time is running out. [...]
Or, to look at it another way, at some point, they will need a big excellent slightly dull replacement for big excellent slightly dull Joe Thornton. Either way, I can't imagine Dean Lombardi wants to see one team he helped build win the cup while his current team founders.
[Tim] Leiweke and AEG are not accustomed to failure. They are rich and for good reason. They see what they want. They get what they want. They make a lot of money with what they got. Not so much with the Kings though. Do I need to give you the list of big free agents Dean Lombardi has failed to land? How about the trade deadline acquisitions he never made? [...]
This makes me think: what big free agents have the Kings ever been able to land? The biggest name I can think of is Craig Conroy. Mathieu Schneider? I don't think Lombardi invented this particular problem.
While a logical and hateful side of me wants to see San Jose cut out their intestines for Nash and slowly bleed to their death in the coming years, I wonder if, at present day, Dean Lombardi tells Tim Leiweke he will try his best to land Nash and Leiweke responds, "your best? Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen."
There's no question that the pressure is on for Lombardi. That's actually good. Probably, the pressure was always on, but now it's on much more publicly. My thought about Bobby's imagined Leiweke/Lombardi conversation is that it (not coincidentally) fairly clearly reflects the frustration of your average rabid fan, ignoring the fact that everyone knows -- especially Leiweke -- that Lombardi doesn't have to try very hard at all to land Rick Nash if he's willing to be stupid. Any GM anywhere can land anyone who's actually on the market, if they're willing to offer a moronic, short-sighted franchise-killing deal to score the quick fix.
Lombardi already brought in Mike Richards in what was considered a huge coup. That's as big a blockbuster deal as the Kings have been involved in since...Palffy and Smolinski for Olli Jokinen? Rob Blake and Steven Reinprecht for Adam Deadmarsh and Aaron Miller? The Richards deal is on a par with those.
Lombardi has, in fact, made several savvy deals in his time here: Ryan Smyth for Kyle Quincey and Tom Preissing; Justin Williams for Patrick O'Sullivan; Fredrik Modin for a 7th round pick if the Kings win the cup; Sean O'Donnell for nothing; Brent Sopel for the pick that became Wayne Simmonds that became half of Mike Richards; the aforementioned Richards deal. Black-marks would be Cloutier, Penner (probably), Sturm...and the cost of those was picks and a prospect and (in the case of Sturm) nothing.
I really don't think anyone wants Dean Lombardi to sell the farm for Rich Nash. If we lose any of Andrei Loktionov, Slava Voynov or Tyler Toffoli to make it happen, I will be very disappointed. I understand why Jonathan Bernier could get dealt, but that's a risky move considering how long it took the Kings to get to this happy place with their goaltending (several decades?). And it doesn't make a lot of sense to deal what little scoring you have, just to get slightly more scoring at a much steeper cost; so I would rule out any moves that include our current millionaire forwards. And who does that leave, really? Jack Johnson? Nash for Johnson, maybe that wouldn't suck. Maybe it would be great. Maybe it would be the dumbest thing Lombardi ever did. If the Kings were to swap a defenseman (where they are flush) for a forward (where they are lacking) I can see the logic in that. But it would be, by no means, a sure thing.
It's easy to criticize Dean Lombardi's (perhaps rigidly) conservative nature, or his (perhaps rigidly) long-term view. But I was a season-ticket holder during the Burger King jersey era. And I remember the 80s. How did that Ray Bourque guy turn out, anyway?
If I had to bet, I would say a big(-ish?) deal is coming. One thing's certain, though: as much as any one decision can represent a person's worldview, I expect what Lombardi does now to be a defining moment. I don't think we'll look back on February 2012 and say "why the hell did he do THAT?"