The last two trade deadlines have been a mixed bag for Dean Lombardi. I think some of you probably would call them unmitigated failures. Jeff Halpern (2010 deadline acquisition) sucked, that's true. And it doesn't help that we gave up Teddy Purcell to get him, only to see Purcell thrive in Tampa Bay last season. Last year's model, Dustin Penner, was good for a couple of games before Justin Williams and then Anze Kopitar went down with injuries, after which Penner all but disappeared. Fredrik Modin, though, was good in his few short weeks as a King back in 2010. And Penner has shown flashes of excellence (and comic brilliance) lately. So, I'm sticking with my "mixed bag" verdict.
Two years ago, the idea was to bring in depth. Last year, it was to add goals. And here we are again, with scoring once again at the top of the trade deadline wish list. A top-six left-winger. How many times have we heard that?
Simon Gagne was supposed to address this, as was Scott Parse, but they're both out, and I presume neither one is coming back this season. That means the Kings' depth at left wing starts with Penner and ends with Kyle Clifford, with nothing in between. We went through this in some detail before Terry Murray was fired, and I said something to the effect of "is there any point in pulling off a blockbuster for a player like Zach Parise if he's just going to flounder like everyone else in Terry Murray's system?"
Well, Murray is no more. He has ceased to be. And now the question is, what's Lombardi's next move? Is it:
- Stand pat, with the expectation that the team has the tools it needs to be successful?
- Make a depth trade, a minor deal or two for role players or veterans?
- Bring in a legitimate but aging (or hobbled) top-six forward who is maybe past his prime or else recovering from recent surgery and therefore doesn't cost Lombardi much?
- Bring in an elite sniper, possibly at significant cost?
- Not going anywhere: Drew Doughty, Kopitar, Jonathan Quick, Dustin Brown.
- Almost certainly not going anywhere: Rob Scuderi, Willie Mitchell, Williams.
- Probably not going anywhere: Matt Greene.
- Hopefully not going anywhere: Slava Voynov, Andrei Loktionov, Jonathan Bernier, Clifford.
- Available: Penner, Jarret Stoll, Alec Martinez.
- My own personal question mark: Jack Johnson.