Trade deadline time is a crazy season; all it takes is one vague rumor on Twitter to get everyone riled up. Conveniently, we don't ever hear the source of these things: instead it's put down as "whispers" or "rumblings."
I'm a little surprised this one is getting attention, so I'm going to point out the biggest obstacle to this "Gaborik to the Kings" idea: cap space.
Marian Gaborik, unlike Jarome Iginla, wouldn't be a pure rental. His $7.5 million cap hit continues next season.
The Kings have cap issues already
As we know, the cap is going down $6 million in 2013-2014, to $64.3M. Quisp took an in-depth look at the choices and trade-offs that the Kings need to make over the summer, and I followed up with a vote of confidence in Lombardi's careful management of the cap.
The Kings have a lot of RFAs to sign, including the all-important Slava Voynov, and will also need to make use of cheap ELC prospects like Tyler Toffoli to fill out the roster. It's doable, but it's going to be unquestionably tight. In fact, it's so tight we started off assuming the Kings would have to let Simon Gagne and Dustin Penner walk no matter how they performed this year. To top it off, it seemed like they would have to also lose one of Mitchell, Scuderi, or Stoll.
Now the Kings are going to add one of the priciest wingers around, just when the cap's about to get squeezed?
Why do we need Gaborik, again?
I don't even care what the Rangers might want in exchange for Gaborik (this group of fans wants Richards or Scuderi, because clearly the Kings have surplus stay at home D; Bernstein seems to think Justin Williams, who has incredible chemistry with Kopitar, is a candidate). What I want to know is how this makes sense for the Kings.
Los Angeles was hard up for top six talent before the Richards and Carter trades, so I'm sure they inquired after Gaborik before those trades were made. But Lombardi made his moves. This left them with both little wriggle room and less need.
What is the point of swapping roster players or losing picks to take on this crippling salary now? The Kings are the defending champions, and the best puck possession team in the league. A little more scoring depth would be welcome, but we have a strong roster now. Gaborik is unquestionably talented, but the Kings aren't in an emergency situation on the scoring front. If you get Gaborik at the cost of a quality forward like Williams, the benefit is weakened further still.
In short, I can see why Glen Sather might want to clear salary off his books, but not why Lombardi would take on the burden of trying to make it work. They can always keep Penner, who is performing better lately; and if they desire more scoring depth for a Cup run this year, keeping Tyler Toffoli up with the big club is a less costly solution.
Here is the Kings' roster page on CapGeek. If anyone can explain to me how this could work and make the Kings better at the same time, I'm all ears. Right now this seems both far fetched and nuts.
Rumor Verdict: I'd want Lombardi's head examined. He doesn't ever ignore the cap.