The trade deadline may have come and gone very quietly for the Los Angeles, but other teams around the league were busy making moves for what they hope will be a deep playoff run. The Colorado Avalanche managed to get deeper and scarier in their bottom six while the Tampa Bay Lightning just kept on keeping on with their already stacked roster. However, in a hilarious twist of fate, the Vegas Golden Knights are not only struggling on the ice, but their big move on Monday to free up some cap space was nixed due to some unseen errors from many parties (but namely the Ottawa Senators).
On this special episode, Ryan Dunn and Sarah Avampato join James and Robyn to discuss the Kings’ (lack of) trades and what will hopefully be a lengthy playoff for the team’s AHL affiliate, Ontario Reign. Questions pondered include how will Troy Stecher fit in with the team and what are they going to do with their 12 restricted free agents and how that impacted the deadline day? “Dry Island” makes a special appearance in this episode and all four podcasters take a strange trip down memory lane.
Do you love Crown Conversations, but you’re not sure when the next episode will drop? Never fear, you can keep tabs on our podcast by hitting the subscribe button down below, right there just beneath the audio. You can follow us on Spotify, Apple Music, or Google Podcasts.
And as always, we’d love to hear from you so if you ever have any questions or comments, leave ‘em below! Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit us up on Twitter (@crown_podcast) and we’ll be happy to include that, or better yet, include you, in any of the next podcast episodes.
INTRO: [Musical interlude plays, then VO] Are you ready for the most informative, well-thought out hockey podcast on the Internet? You are?? Sorry, it’s just Crown Conversations with your hosts, Robyn P. and James Nicholson.
RP: Hello and welcome to Crown Conversations, a very special round table party trade deadline edition. Joining me today are my co-host as usual, James, James Nicholson, thanks for joining me. But also, also! Very special guests Ryan Dunn and Sarah Avampato. Thanks guys for joining us.
SA: Of course.
RD: Howdy. Again.
JN: Ugh, sorry guys I am just as sleepy as the Kings at trade deadline.
SA: Ooh, starting off spicy.
JN: I mean–
RP: Oooh James brought the heat early.
JN: Yeah, oh yeah. I’m okay with sleepy this time. I’m glad we didn’t ship Vilardi out for a recently injured defenseman. I’m… Happy that we didn’t give up any of the prospects. We’re just holding and hoping that they bust on through. But guess who you’re going to have to bust through? That’s right, it’s Blake Lizotte–is it two or three more years?
JN: Yeah. No. According to Twitter, Robyn and Ryan have some opinions.
SA: [laughs] Shocking. And do you have to bust through him or can you just go over him?
RD: It doesn’t take much to knock him over.
RP: I have long said that Blake Lizotte’s theme song needs to be Tubthumping. Chumba-Chumbawamba.
JN: Oh man, I–J. Fresh today did a an infographic on Blake Lizotte and… Really what the best part of it was was a response by somebody on Twitter, I think their name is like buppychubbard or something, which is just a very fun name, but their response was Cogliano, Jr. And I’ve never seen anything more after it to describe like Lizotte.
RD: That is really, really apt, yeah. Wow.
JN: Speaking of: Andrew Cogliano, he goes from very mediocre team to the best team in the league. And man, the Colorado Avalanche just wanted all bottom six players at the deadline.
RD: It’s what they needed.
SA: How? I hate them. I mean, them and Tampa Bay, like how–like how did… They can’t keep getting away with this.
JN: I mean, you are ostensibly like… The fourth line for the Colorado Avalanche can now be Arturri Lehkonen, Nico Sturm, and Andrew Cogliano. And that is a team that will not score on you, but dear goodness, they are going to be such a pain in the ass to play against.
RP: They’ll put your ass into the ice. Which, for Lizotte, is, you know, just his typical Tuesday. [Sarah snickers]
JN: Yeah, but like… I don’t… Blake Lizotte is the exact player like a coach and a teammate loves where like… Just… They’re going to do their job no matter what. There is an absolute reckless abandon to Lizotte’s game and like you said he will get knocked down but always get up again. And I mean if you’re asking for that from a fourth line center that–you couldn’t walk more I mean and do we really want JAD as our fourth line center? Probably not. You know, do we want Alex Turcotte as our fourth line center or Rasmus Kupari as our fourth line center? Probably not, right?
RD: No, I mean in the short term–and again, like, I need to make it clear like I don’t hate the deal. It’s a little pricier than what I thought I was gonna be or should have been, but I mean we’re talking about like $200,000 against the cap, which is, in the grand scheme, nothing. I thought it was more curious the timing of, Ah! Here we are the trade deadline, half your roster is, you know, on injured reserve. And this was the… This was kind of reminiscent it seemed like of the Alex Iafallo signing last year. I don’t know I just thought the time was strange more than anything else. Again I’m not against them standing pat but it just seemed like, the wheels returning and then at the end of the day nothing really happened except for yeah, Blake Lizotte coming back for a couple more years. And and I’m an agreement with I think in the long run you don’t want to have Turcotte or Anderson-Dolan as your fourth line center. At the same time you need to start getting their feet wet in the in the NHL Again that was really kind of more more about head-scratcher. Not like, “Oh what the hell are they doing this time!” More just like, oh! Okay. Sure, I guess. All right. It really wasn’t an offensive signing but it also wasn’t like oh my god this is gonna… I don’t know. I don’t know what I really expected from Rob Blake at the trade deadline. I was… I either figured he was gonna do something crazy or nothing at all. And yeah, nothing at all. Nothing at all!
SA: It feels like… It feels like with Lizotte, too, it’s like okay, if like it’s such a low risk like kind of friendly deal that It’s like if someone rises up and is even better in that role he won’t be hard to move if they like if they need to. Like, yeah the timing of it was a little strange. It’s like were you talking to his agent about something else and were like oh, well, we’re here. Let’s just get this done, too.
RD: Now, that was pretty much the same sort of vibe I got from it. It was, again, just kind of weird that I… Kind of what you said in regards to moving him. I’m not saying they should move him or they’re going to move him, but it did seem strange where it’s like this wasn’t something that you know wouldn’t have waited to the summer after you know you get to the–I mean, because the Kings are probably going to make the playoffs and playoffs are usually when you know role players kind of elevate their game. We’ve seen it time and time again where a third or fourth line guy will break out a bit and… I don’t know. I kind of felt like it was it was strange time. Just, I don’t know. It felt like Blake Lizotte was gonna have a big playoff; either play himself into a bigger contract or into a more attractive trade piece. So–I don’t know. Again, this is just kind of weird. I don’t know. Not offensive but weird.
SA: Like thinking about like you said about the playoffs, like I do like that they like… If he goes like beast mode for some reason in the playoffs like well, great. Now you have this guy who just went totally ham against you know Vegas or whatever and he’s on a good deal and like look how great this is instead of you know the the Brian Bickell treatment of now we’re paying you a gajillion dollars because you had one good playoff run. Oops. Turns out that’s not actually the player you are.
RD: Yeah. Now I mean that’s–
JN: [interrupting] I’m just looking at the Kings’ roster right now and their contracts. Like. Really, I think this is just the first RFA to be re-signed because the Kings have a lot of RFAs after the season. You’re looking at Vilardi, Kempe, Lias Andersson, Lemieux Movarare, Sean Durzi… There’s a lot of guys… Have to figure out something to do with the Tkachev, Södergran… Yeah there’s… A lot of… Matt Villalta’s an RFA. So yeah. They’re… Rob Blake has a lot of work to do and I think this was just him just, “Okay. Time to start getting to work and start chipping away at these contracts,” maybe.
RP: The they also have… seven UFAs plus Carter’s 2.6 is coming off the books this summer. So, I mean like you said tough decisions have to be made. But at the same time it’s kind of like, “Well, okay, this is one decision made.” You know when you have like a lot of things on your mind and you’re like where do I start? I don’t know what I’m doing. You start with the easy low-key–like okay I can do this. I want to keep Blake Lizotte. That I know. Okay, great. Now we’re-now we’re keeping Lizotte. The rest can wait till the summer. Oh and Christian Wolanin is also–he’s a UFA. I forgot about him.
RD: How can we–
JN: Protect him at all costs!
SA: Superstar in the making.
RP: Well he doesn’t count against their cap right now that’s why I forgot about him.
JN: Yeah. But… No, I mean… Yeah, the heavy lifting happens in the offseason this year. You know, I-I have my fun little like internal conspiracy theory that I haven’t quite said but like [dramatic pause]
RP: Well share it!
JN: I really think the Kings could–basing this off of nothing but Twitter interactions between these players–the Kings could go after Filip Forsberg this summer.
SA: Give Viktor Arvidsson is his friend.
RP: I want–
JN: Exactly. It would be Richards and Carter 2.0.
RP: Yes. James, you have no idea how badly I want this. Like… I legitimately was–like I haven’t signed up for any like the hockey viz stuff but I started looking at it and-and I signed up for it. [Pause] Yeah, but basically, I mean it’s, “oh god, if only! If only! If only!” But I mean also Predators Twitter is like slow your roll, even though our GM sucks at his job like he’s gonna get the deal done.
JN: Yeah, I mean we’ll see. The fact that they didn’t trade him I think is really a-a good faith effort to re-sign him in the off season. I mean, who knows what can happen? Sports is weird/ Weird things happen all the time. You honestly kind of feel like the weirdest thing possible would be him re-signing with Nashville at a certain point. But I think, you know, it’s a little bit surprising that the Predators didn’t move him, but they did move a minor league defenseman to the Kings.
SA: They did.
JN: In exchange for Brayden Burke, who–
JN: Is a World Junior hero for Team Canada. And I believe is the son of Sean Burke, former Kings goaltender.
RP: Sarah, tell us about this trade.
SA: I’m so… I feel like… Putting on my AHL hat this–so like earlier in the day someone on Twitter was asking like, okay, what-what–we know Rob Blake is not going to swing for the fences. We know he’s not because he’s Rob Blake. But like what smaller deals would you want to see him do or what else do you think he’s gonna do today? And my response was that I want him to make some moves to shore up the Reign because yeah, the Kings were most likely gonna make the playoffs but of the Kings in the Reign the two–the team that is most likely to have a lengthy playoff run and a legit shot at winning a championship is the Reign. Sorry to the Kings, but you’re not there yet. But as we know all of the Kings defensemen are dead. So they had to take all the Reign’s defenseman which has left the Reign with like… Like Cameron Gaunce and some children and ECHLers and it’s no surprise that the Reign have been on what like a three or four game losing streak which is their worst losing streak all year. So they got Frederick Allard from Nashville. He’s a–he actually finally made his NHL debut this year. He’s an AHL main stay; has been basically a fixture on the Milwaukee Admirals on the Nashville’s AHL team. He’s not flashy. He’s not gonna like score you a hundred goals from the blue line. But you know whenever teams talk about that like, you know “we want the guy who’s hard nosed and hard to play against” and whatever, he’s that guy. And you know is physical but without taking a bunch of penalties, he’s good on the forecheck, he’s just irritating. And as someone who watches the Milwaukee Admirals like 12 times a season, I’m glad I don’t have to see the team I cover play him anymore because he’s really annoying to play against. So veteran experience, you can remove one of those ECHL guys you brought up on a PTO and can kind of help to hold the fort down until any of the like other children come back from the Kings.
JN: We also saw Marcus Phillips get shipped out today, which I was really sad about. I always liked Marcus Phillips. I thought he changed his whole development path in his last year or two of juniors in order to accommodate what the Kings wanted to have him. And there just was not a role for him anymore and I hope he–he went to Winnipeg, right?
SA: Mm-hm to the Moose.
JN: Yeah. I hope he-he does great with Manitoba and yeah.
SA: Yeah. He just feels like someone who like just kind of got pushed out of the Kings’ like depth chart. You know if they hadn’t gotten so many other prospects who jumped over him. Yeah, I think he could have had a future. But I think he’s-he’s a decent death player for a team and you know the Kings have certainly made deals with Winnipeg before at the AHL level kind of. And I think the change, I think the change of scenery will do them both well. The player the the Kings got in exchange is another kind of veteran defenseman, hasn’t really done much at the NHL level, but has been again kind of a mainstay for the moose. Also not a big scorer. But you know, the Reign have so many other people who can score goals. I don’t even care if they’re defenseman know how to score like whatever. Martin–well if they send back Martin Frk for the playoffs once the Kings are done who cares?
RP: I still wish that he would get more time in the NHL. I really have not seen anything wrong with his play to send him consistently back to the AHL. Just bring him and Gabe Vilardi up. They’ll be fine together. They’ll make it work. Like don’t split them up because that’s Gabe’s–that’s Gabe’s security blanket as Sarah said. But like they do really well together, I don’t understand it. But I’m-I’m not a coach, I’m just an armchair GM.
JN: So speaking of armchair GM, what do you guys feel like was maybe the best trade on trade deadline day?
RP: Um can I just say this Dadanov situation with Vegas? So we’re recording this Monday night and at the time of this recording, Vegas is blaming Ottawa for the Dadanov–okay, for those who don’t know, Evegenii Dadanov was traded to Anaheim earlier in the day, pending a trade call and they had like 33 calls in the queue at the time of the deadline, which is nuts. And then it turns out several hours later that apparently Dadanov does not want to go to Anaheim, which is really funny because he has like a partial no-trade clause like 10 teams on his list, Anaheim was on that list. He is adamant that it’s not his fault and he doesn’t want to go to Anaheim. And so now this is a PA issue and it turns out that Ottawa didn’t disclose this when they traded Dadanov to Vegas.
RD: Oh, Ottawa.
SA: One of my fellow podcasts hosts over at Locked On messaged me, asked to kind of pre-plan for a show later this week and she’s like I know what we’re talking about. And my response was just the gift of Marie Kondo from the her Netflix show that just says “I love mess.” This was not by far–this was not even, this is a trade that is happening maybe–but it certainly is the funniest trade that may or may not happen. It’s like Schrödinger’s trade. It’s definitely the funniest thing that’s happened today.
JN: I, for one, liked the deals made by the teams who pilfered the Anaheim Ducks and I think Hampus Lindholm going to Boston with Anaheim retaining salary was very, very good for Boston and especially Rickard Rakell going for two guys who have not quite worked out with the Penguins as expected. Now Jeff Jeff Carter has a very good shooter on his way.
SA: [disappointed] Yeah. There was like a brief rumor for like two seconds that–because there was something saying that like two Pacific Division teams were working on something and it appears to that have turned out to be the whole Vegas Dadanov-Ducks thing–but there was a rumor I had heard for like one hot second that the Kings were actually looking around at Rickard Rakell and I was like that would be insane, do it! It would make everyone so mad. But this is also very funny.
JN: [laughs] Yes. Man. And then Fleury goes to Minnesota.
JN: And I think maybe one of the most fun things with today is that Toronto did not get a goalie. [all laugh] They get Mark Giordano and Colin Blackwel,l who I think are good players, who they need help on the blue line. They need, you know, guys who play hard.
RP: Today’s trade deadline was kind of wild in–and that’s not really a pun on Minnesota’s team–it, it’s just like everything happened kind of like all it once.
RP: I don’t–
SA: It all happened when I was in like a meeting for work.
RP: Of course.
SA: Just like usually historically I would take off trade deadline day and I would take off free agency day for work back when we did Jewels from the Crown because I was like I know I need to like cover this nonsense and whatever. So I was just, I just didn’t vacation day. And I wasn’t able to do that this year actually had to like give an hours long training on how to be a good manager. And so I’m giving this training but I’m also like peeking ia Twitter every so often while I’m asking people to like share their thoughts and opinions on you know the case study I just asked them to do. I’m looking at Twitter to be like who just did what? And it all happened like literally while I was giving my presentation.
RP: Sarah’s over there like discreetly checking her phone being like, “Uh-huh And yeah, thank you for your thoughts on this–What?! The Vegas Golden Knights did what? Fleury went where?! What the fuck?! Yeah. And back to our presentation today.”
SA: Pretty much, pretty much. Fortunately I’m working from home.
JN: Yeah, I didn’t do that, so I’m a good employee. I just helped my boss make more money. I don’t–I’m not selfish like that.
RP: I didn’t take today off because I was like, I don’t know, like it’s not that big of a deal. Like it’s the trade deadline. Who knew that like the first four hours of–well, for me it’s the first four hours because it’s like 8 to 12–first four hours of the day would be like non-stop crazy? And of course like right when everything was going down that’s when a couple of my clients were like, [knocking] “Hey. Hey. I need you right now.” Like… I’m like no, I’m busy. I’m scrolling Twitter okay??
SA: Clearly crucial.
JN: Oh my gosh I mean… Okay. It… Was there any trade or transaction that you guys really thought were head scratchers? What even the point was that?
RP: Oh um Boston. They got… They-they traded Zach Synyshyn for Josh Brown and it was kind of like–
RP: Okay? I mean Josh Brown’s not particularly good. Synyshyn didn’t fit in their system and he wanted out so like okay, whatever. But still it’s like… Uhhh… Sweeney, what are you doing?
JN: To be fair, they also said that when they drafted him and Jake DeBrusk.
SA: That’s true.
JN: While Matt Barzal and Kyle Connor were on the board.
RP: And probably the most famous tweet–well the most infamous Boston-related tweet now lives on and history.
JN: Those never–uh, they re-signed Jake DeBrusk for two years, which was kind of weird.
RP: Yeah, but I think that’s more along–see, I think that’s more related to the Hagel trade because everyone saw what Tampa was willing to fork over for Brandon Hagel and then lost their collective shit.
JN: I can see that. Especially, okay, now maybe you lost some of the terms. Now you don’t maybe have to worry about the qualifying offer as an RFA. Yeah, no. I’m really surprised I didn’t see more from Vancouver maybe they sent out Tyler Motte to New York. They brought in Travis Dermotte, moved out Travis Hamonic. I. Yeah. I mean, everything felt very inconsequential in the way. And they’re a team that, you know, until very recently, had been scalding red hot.
RP: Well, moving out Hamonic, it was a little bit less of a of an inconsequential move so much as the fact that… Very delicately players were saying that they hated his guts.
SA: Where did he go to?
JN: Well yeah, there’s that. Ottawa, I think.
RP: Ottawa, I think?
SA: And the whole with him was that they wanted like… Because he was on like what the Islanders and then they like the Islanders basically were like hamstrung because he wanted to go back to Western Canada.
SA: Because of like family stuff. And now Western Canada is like “nope, toodles.”
RP: He’s not vaccinated. And so that like at the beginning of this season that was a really big deal because Canada has different rules than the US. And so the fact that he wasn’t vaccinated it like kind of left a sour taste I think in everyone’s mouth in the locker room and there was something else that went down besides just him being delayed because of his vaccinations status. I don’t think we’ll ever know but there was something about him personally that kind of rubbed them the wrong way.
SA: I–also Seattle getting rid of like half of their team like who’s going to play on the Kraken like tomorrow or whatever?
RD: Do they have a farm system?
RP: Ryan, Ryan is.
SA: Right, like they know they don’t get a second expansion draft, right? Like they’ve just gotta make-do with what they’ve got.
JN: I think they’ve contracted out like split the foreign team at the AHL-level. We’re waiting on the Coachella Firebirds to get going.
SA: Oh yeah.
RP: That’ll be next year.
JN: Yeah. I–I whatever. I think Jim Rutherford is now trying to back pedal from his expansion draft be like actually Vegas did do it right and traded for all the draft picks, okay we have to do that now. You know, I–wait, no it’s not Jim Rutherford there, it’s–
RP: Ron Francis.
JN: —the other one. Ron Francis. Yes, thank you. I’m–
RD: All the Carolina folks.
JN: Yeah. Yes
SA: They all came from the same pool.
JN: Yeah. Speaking of Carolina
RP: [simultaneously] Old hockey white men.
JN: Yeah. Why-why didn’t Carolina have to trade for Max Domi?
SA: I don’t know. To give Tony DeAngelo a friend.
RP: That’s what I was gonna say.
RD: Oh man.
SA: He can start another podcast. I mean do they want Brendan Lemieux? Yeah I know the [unintelligible] tried to punt over.
RP: Sorry, Ryan. What were you saying?
RD: No, I was just fully agreeing with her, No I like this move by Carolina if it means, you know, they gotta reunite Brendan Lemieux out there. I mean they just gotta.
RP: He’s tough and gritty.
JN: It does… Yeah, I … Whatever. I… I don’t get that trade. I… I don’t know. I… I-I couldn’t figure out what Columbus was doing when they traded him away. It felt–well I guess they did all their big fire sale and summer was getting a king’s ransom for Seth Jones and then re-signing Zach Werenski, But um did… [Sighs] Man. It felt a lot like the rich got a lot of richer, especially with Carolina in Florida and Claude Giroux going down to Florida for not that great of a return for Philadelphia.
RP: It was weird seeing him at the podium today behind the Pan–or in front of the Panthers’... whatever, background. It’s wrong.
JN: Yeah, it is and… I don’t know. You feel like they’re going to be very good and they’re going to be even better with him playing a middle six role, like oh my gosh, look out. Florida… I mean I guess the obvious was the last two years Tampa, but you know it was was the 2002 Red Wings where they just like looked up on everyone including Luc Robitaille at the trade deadline? Ah man, it’s just–
RD: Was that the deadline or just a free agent? I can’t remember that was, oh so long ago.
JN: Yeah. It was long ago.
RP: 20 years. It’s only 20 years, Ryan. Can’t you remember back that far?
RD: I was… We’ll just say substantially younger.
JN: Oh, weren’t we all?
RP: It was interesting. This guy, he, I think used to work for the Reign? Jonathan Hawks. He basically said that the Kings should have traded for Kempe–and I know Ryan’s been on the trade Kempe train for a while–but I was like, you know, if they could have gotten two second round picks for Kempe, it only mildly actively hurts their team.
JN: Ohhh. As someone who knows John personally, yeah. No. I think all of us I’m kind of at one point or another been like hey trade Kempe, please. Please, please.
RD: Value’s never been higher.
SA: Yeah, yeah.
JN: No, there is absolutely that I… I mean, whatever mojo he had working through the first half of the year is it’s gone right now. It’s gone for that whole line. Although Kopitar get did get back on the board the other night. But I just… I don’t know man… It… I understand having guys in a room and Robyn, when we talked with Jim Fox about that, you know, like he had friends who were constantly being traded away from the team and how much that hurt him and how resentful he became of management.You know. the Kings last year, last few years of traded out a lot of guys from the room and maybe it’s just hey, we can’t make one more trade just for everyone’s mental well-being in the room.
RP: Yeah, I guess that’s fair. McLellan flat out said that the team sucked last year after Carter left because everyone loved Jeff Carter. [Beat] Because there’s no more dry island.
SA: He is old and boring and in Pittsburgh now. I feel like if you could go back in time and talk to like 2009 Jeff Carter and be like, “hey bro guess what?” He’s gonna be like–
RP: He has three kids now. He’s married and has also likes six dogs.
SA: It’s perfect,
JN: And no one drinks beer in Pittsburgh. [Laughs] No. Also I’m just so mad they never made that a portmanteau and just called it Dryland.
RD: That was right there this entire time and we just now got this?
[Sarah and James laugh]
JN: We’re doing important work on this podcast, guys.
SA: Right. Just, you know, 10 years late.
RP: Me here with my timely references.
RP: Alright. This podcast is full of old people now.
RD: We’re so over the board right now. We’ve been talking about the Kings and the Red Wings from 2002. Dry Island references, oh man.
SA: Had to walk uphill both ways in the snow.
RP: All right.
SA: Hey kids, you know what a VCR is?
RD: It’s the thing that flashes, you know, 12 o’clock.
JN: I made a whole fort out of free trial for AOL CDs.
RP: Oh my god.
JN: Okay All right we should get back on track here a little bit because speaking of old people.
RP: Okay. Back to the current day Kings. Okay. So the Kings have about 21 million in UFA money that theoretically is coming off the board. And then about 11.7-11.8 million, just shy of 118 million in RFAs. We know that they’re gonna make the playoffs. There’s 18 games left. They only need to go basically .500. I think Anaheim’s tragic number is 34? And they’ve got 60 points, 65 points. In theory they can make it but it’s not very likely because Anaheim would have–
SA: They just traded everyone.
RP: Yeah. And they’d also have to win out the season and everybody else ahead of them would have to–or multiple teams ahead of them would have to lose. So, not very likely that they’re going to make the playoffs. So…
JN: I think the Kings have like eight games remaining on the schedule against like Anaheim, San Jose, and Seattle
RP: I thought we were done with San Jose. Can we be done?
SA: Yeah, I think it’s Chicago. They play like Chicago like two, three times or something. Yeah.
RP: They play Seattle two more times at the end of the month and Chicago. So Chicago, Seattle, Seattle. And both games against Seattle are at home.
JN: Okay. Well that’s-that helps the Kings coming down the stretch. I know all the end the season playing Anaheim twice.
JN: Man. I– who knows? Maybe Evgenii Dadanov keeps Vegas from making the playoffs. [laughs] I couldn’t even keep a straight face, that’s fun.
RP: Hey, Matthew Tkachuk did it once before, okay?
JN: Eh, yeah. Yeah.
RD: [unintelligible] … far more tragic.
JN: Yeah, definitely. But I… Eh. Yeah. The playoffs feel like an inevitability. I mean you-you aren’t… You aren’t going to be surprised if they make the playoffs. I think everyone is going to be surprised if they win the first round, right?
RP: I… Yeah, I forgot–I, maybe I was talking to Sarah. I don’t know if I was talking to you, James or Sarah. I was like, I think they might win a game of the first round, depending on who they play. If they manage to get into the second seed they would play at the moment, I think it’s Vegas, right? Or is it Edmonton?
JN: Right. Well, I think as of today it’s Edmonton and Edmonton added Brett Kulak, who I think was a good fit for them. He’s just a stay-at-home defenseman from Montreal.
RP: Oh right, him.
JN: And goodness knows, they need someone to actually stay back on the blue line in Edmonton because Tyson Barrie and Darnell Nurse say, “No, thank you!”
RP: Yeah, but they still have Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen as their goaltenders. So…
JN: Yeah, they sure do!
SA: Good luck and godspeed.
JN: Yeah, yeah. They also had a rookie come up and play pretty well for them. He might just steal a job or two and… I forget his name right now and that’s all very dumb for bringing it up but–
SA: Uh Skinner. Stuart Skinner.
JN: Yes. Stuart Skinner, thank you.
SA: You’re welcome.
JN: If they play Vegas, you kind of know that the cap circumvention of Mark Stone means he comes back. Now Eichel is hurt again. Pete DeBoer is worried about that. So I-I mean, if you had to pick between the two I would probably want to face Vegas and instead of Edmonton because Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are scary. But we also know they don’t call penalties against Conor McDavid in the playoffs. So Drew Doughty can just punch him as much he wants and he doesn’t have to fear a reprisal.
RP: Yes. But I like, I don’t want to face Vegas because even when Vegas is like matching LA injury for injury and being the walking dead, they can still whoop LA’s butt.
JN: Yeah. No, I mean you’re right. The recent game definitely confirms that. But, you know, the a game versus a whole series, who knows what could happen? And I don’t know. Having Drew Doughty back in the lineup hopefully for the playoffs would be a big a big get for the Kings. Sounds like they’re worried and are going to be reassessing his injury. It might be a longer-term injury than what they originally thought. And that’s why the Kings now have Troy Stecher. Let’s go.
RP: Yeah. Ryan, what do you think of the Stecher trade? You didn’t seem overwhelmed by it.
RD: I’m sorry. was that to me?
RP: You’re Ryan aren’t you?
RD: I thought you said Sarah for a second. You know they sound very similar.
SA: They have R’s in them.
RD: There’s A’s and R’s and other letters.
RD: The Troy, Trey–I mean, yeah that tells you how much I know about him, I don’t even know his last name. I-I don’t know anything about it. I really don’t besides the fact that there’s a few people in Detroit I know they’re like., “oh, that’s kind of a bummer.” And that was really about it. That’s-that’s my extent So my knowledge of Mr. Troy Sketcher? Stretcher. Whatever it is.
RP: Stecher. Stretcher without the extra “R”.
RD: Either way I really hope Matt Roy comes back as soon as possible. If not Drew Doughty.
RP: And hopefully he does not have to carry Olli Maatta up and down the ice again.
RD: Yeah. They definitely needed some help on defense. I mean Durzi has obviously been revelation this year/ I’ve been really impressed with Spence so far I think he needs to stick around even if, you know they, do get, tend to guys back off the injury list. But yeah that left side… I know it’s only been a couple games and he’s been out for what, like three months with Alex Edler? He’s looking like yeah pretty rusty. He’s looking pretty old by athlete standards.
RD: It’s a bit of a concern, I think, is the speed now on defense with some of the veteran guys. They’ve been getting cooked a couple–more times than I think I recall at any earlier point this season of where it’s just looking a little too flat-footed. But… I don’t know. Maybe he shakes it off. I’m hoping he shakes it off.
JN: Maybe if they pair him with an old linemate, you know an old D-pair partner, things kind of jump start that. See? Troy Stecher saving the day, guys. He is our savior.
RD: If that’s what it requires, is going to the church of Troy, sign me up. Just the–yeah, I mean I was with you in the.. I’d much prefer Vegas as a postseason matchup. I think Edmonton speed is just going to be a nightmare.
RD: Vegas is still really good. But… I don’t know. I think the Kings match up a lot better with them than they do Edmonton. Edmonton… I mean, they run either really hot or really cold and I think that would be the best bet for the Kings. If they went up against Edmonton, just pray for a cold streak because I don’t think they would beat them in seven games. Vegas I can see them pulling out.
RP: See, I thought that in 2017–
RP: [laughing] Damn it, Sarah. No, okay. But seriously–
SA: That series was so painful.
RD: It was terrible.
RP: [sighs] Yes. They scored like four goals in four games. So I-I’m–
JN: But to be fair, every game was a one-goal game.
JN: We lost by one goal in every single game.
RP: Except for the last one which I think was like two-nothing.
RD: Yeah it’s a real barn burner. I remember they got shutout, but…
RP: I’m just–look, I’m just a little bit scarred from four–five… I can’t do math. Five years ago. I’m just a little bit reluctant because Vegas got better and deeper and… LA… got younger.
SA: Yeah, but this year half of their team is dead. Also the only thing that made that series bearable for me was that I was in Cabo with some friends and so I watched that series basically like drunk the whole time.
RP: [jealously] Oh!
RD: Only way to make it palatable, yeah.
SA: Which made it not as painful, I think, as it would have been otherwise.
RD: Really quick on Vegas. I mean… Is anyone else really, like, kind of weirded out by the fact that on paper they keep getting better but each year they keep getting worse? It’s kind of remarkable.
SA: I love it.
RD: Yeah, I mean it’s about time. But it’s weird.
RP: No, but it’s-it’s–they’re the Toronto Maple Leafs of the west. Except they can actually win a round. [suppressed laughter]
RD: There it is!
RP: I don’t mean to poke fun at the Leafs–
SA: Yes, you do.
RD: Oh yes, you do. We all do it. It’s fine.
RP: All right, maybe I do a little.
JN: I think I heard… I think I heard that clip with maybe it was Brian Burke where he says yeah, no, I think all the players are pretty much finding out Vegas is a great place to play for six months.
JN: Yeah. Well, because then how often do we then see them look for the next big trade or free agent signing and just kind of ignore who they had when they already had a really good team with a really good coach? And yeah. I.. I mean… Does the same one else had to keep forgetting that Alex Pietrangelo was there?
RP: Oh my god, yes. I genuinely forgot.
SA: Also, did they like murder Alec Martinez? Like, where did our boy go?
RP: He is injured.
SA: Why? Well I hate them.
RP: I think lower body?
RD: Didn’t he get a skate to the face earlier this year too?
RD: Yeah, like 50 stitches or something.
SA: How dare– His–
RD: Looks like a Bond villain now.
SA: His face! How dare they!
JN: Yeah. We can say that is the opposite of not–er, yeah. That’s the other side of the spectrum of not trading Kempe. It’s just like on paper we have to be maximizing value and keep getting everything as perfect as we can. And man it can kill the vibe in the room really quickly and yeah. I-I… I don’t know. I… am sort of… I think we all have the schadenfreude of watching them struggle down the stretch here and no one in the NHL outside of Vegas would feel bad if they missed the playoffs.
RD: It’d be very funny.
SA: Oh yeah.
RP: It would be funny. Like everyone that I follow on Twitter, they are rooting hard for Vegas to somehow fall out–fail out of the playoffs.
SA: Like the best thing that ever happened to me–so for anyone who doesn’t… listening who doesn’t know me already, I’m in Chicago and I cover the Chicago Wolves in the AHL, who for Vegas’s first couple seasons of existence the Wolves were Vegas’s AHL affiliate. That relationship ended because Vegas even managed to muck that up and now they’re with the Hurricanes as their affiliate. That was–that change was the best thing that happened to me because it means I don’t have irritating Golden Knights fans all up in my Twitter mentions all the time. I’m so glad that I don’t even have to like nominally sort of vaguely pay attention to the Vegas Golden Knights anymore. I can ignore their existence and like when prospects from the Wolves now graduate to the NHL, like I have nothing against the Hurricanes, they exist. They’re kind of fun, whatever. Like I don’t feel things when their prospects go to the NHL. When like Wolves guys went to Vegas, like Zach Whitecloud, Dylan Coghlan, Nick Hague… All three guys that I covered in Chicago, just the nicest guys. Like Zach Whitecloud is the sweetest, like nicest guy to talk to, has like really thoughtful things to say when you’re asking questions about the game, really cool like life story. You know, First Nations heritage. And like I’m like ugh, I like you as a person but I hate your team and I want you to never be happy again. But like I don’t have to have those feelings anymore because Vegas is out of my life entirely.
RD: Just nice to have.
RD: Was there anyone that, you know, you hated? The flip side of the Zach Whitecloud.
SA: Um. You know, most of the prospects were pretty nice guys to talk to. The guys who I got like attitude from are no longer in this league. They were not guys who like… I’ll just put it out there: Brandon Pirri, not the nicest guy. Didn’t want to talk to us very much. Like guess what? I don’t want to talk to you that much, either, but like, you know, here we are. Like the guys that like were fussy and like not pleasant to deal with were guys who did not really have NHL futures. The kids were all really great. Like, Cody Glass super sweet; super polite. Like did the thing where he like shakes your hand, repeats your name back to you, so he remembers it. I was like someone trained this boy very well.
JN: Zach Whitecloud famously had the opportunity as a college free agent to sign with the LA Kings and it seemed like it was trending that way. And then he decided to Vegas at the last moment.
JN: Yeah. He should be a King.
RP: Hey speaking of: didn’t the Kings just sign an NCAA free agent?
JN: They did.
RP: I forgot his name.
JN: He is on an ATO with Ontario. He is also the son of a former King and I’m forgetting his name right now.
SA: His name is Taylor Ward and the only reason I remember it is because there’s a base–an Angel’s baseball player, I believe, also named Taylor Ward. And there’s a guy who’s a podcaster who used to cover the Angels named Taylor Blake Ward. And I was like how are there three of you?
RP: I love your memory sometimes, Sarah.
JN: Surprise, it’s all the same guy.
RP: I actually wouldn’t be surprised.
RD: I can’t get on anyone for having the same as other people, because, yeah, you know.
JN: At least you don’t have the same name as the former head of the CIA who authorized torturing people.
RD: Maybe we all got a weird, you know, doppelganger out there causing problems.
RP: Well, name wise, apparently there is an actor named Ryan Dunn and he was on SVU.
RD: There’s another Ryan Dunn?
JN: More Ryan Dunns.
RD: I had to kill the last one. Ugh.
SA: My favorite accidental name intersection that I learned in the worst possible way was learning that there are porn Stars named both Justin Williams and Alec Martinez.
RP: Oh my god.
SA: I learned this by Googling them once to get pictures of Justin Williams and Alec Martinez the Kings players.
RP: Uh-huh! Sure.
JN: And then your mom walked into the room and you exed out of the window really fast.
SA: I legit Googled it at work.
[laughter and exclamations]
SA: Quickly just tabbed away. Just shut the computer down, it’s fine.
RP: Was this on your work computer?
RP: Oh my god!
SA: I didn’t expect pornography! I expected hockey men!
RP: I think that goes against HR regulations. I don’t know, you’re the expert here.
SA: Yeah, I-I had to have a talk with myself about, you know.
RP: [laughs] Sarah, don’t look at porn at work.
SA: Fortunately this was the job that wasn’t using government–this is my old job where it wasn’t government equipment.
RP: Oh my god.
SA: Because, my current job I’m pretty sure like the FBI would have been in my home or something to be like ma’am, that is a government computer.
RP: Don’t download Chinese spyware on your computer, okay? Anyways, I failed us again. I’m sorry. I just thought people needed to know that.
JN: This is all very fun, good podcasting. And yeah. Just bringing it back once again to Trade Deadline Day, is anyone surprised that San Jose added a goalie so they now have three goalies?
SA: Are any of them good?
RP: No. Well–
RD: Reimer? What happened with that?
RP: Well they tried to kill James Reimer because apparently Aiden Hill was either hurt or sucked earlier and then who–Sawchenko wasn’t ready yet. And then they had somebody else, I forgot who else it was when–before Sawchenko came up. And and…
JN: And they added Kähkönen from Minnesota today.
RP: Yeah. Well– So the goalie… I forgot who it was… Mike somebody. But the-the guy… The goalie guy, he’s recently retired, he’s on Twitter all the time and he’s like look to put it bluntly, Kähkönen has a lot of potential but he sucks.
JN: Oh, is that Mike McKenna?
RD: Is that because he like sucked or like…?
RP: What did you say, Ryan?
RD: I was just wondering if it was like does he have potential to suck then? Or just like really? And that’s a rough assessment, oof.
RP: No, he says that either he’s not listening to his goalie coach or like he… like there’s something wrong like mentally or something with him, I forgot what it was.
JN: A goalie having something mentally wrong with them?
JN: Why, I never!
RD: Hey, wait a minute.
SA: Kähkönen was really good at the AHL level. Like I saw him all the time with the Iowa Wild and I was like this kids just like murdering every team he plays and it seems like something has just gone awry in the transition into the NHL. But yeah, goalies being weird about stuff? Who knows?
RD: Unheard of.
SA: That’s new to me.
RP: Yeah. So, basically Kähkönen is not living up to his potential right now and so–oh, it was Mike McKenna! [Reading] “Kahkonen. I’ll be blunt. With his natural ability, he should be performing at a higher, more consistent rate than he’s currently shown. I haven’t seen his game change much from a technical standpoint. So he’s either not listening to goalie coaching - or he can’t change.”
RD: Well, if he’s gonna be in San Jose not listening to a goalie coach, it might be a better career move.
RD: I don’t know who the goalie coach is. He’s probably gonna find me and like, you know, beat the hell out of me and it’ll probably be warranted… But, just look at the track record. It’s been brutal!
RP: Yeah. Ever since they got rid of–well he got old–
JN: Yeah, Nabokov.
RP: Yeah!I can’t believe you read my mind on that, Ryan.
SA: Isn’t he… Doesn’t he… Like isn’t he… I don’t know if he’s the goalie coach, but I feel like he does something goalie for the team now?
[Robyn, Ryan and James all talking at once]
RP: I feel like he would… Like, if he came out of retirement and played for San Jose right now, they could not do worse than him.
RD: Couldn’t be worse than Jones.
JN: Oof. Yeah, yeah the end of the line there for Martin Jones was rough. Also, is any–okay. For weird San Jose but Philly tangents, I kind of thought the Kings would have taken a look at Justin Braun in Philadelphia, especially with this connection to Todd McLellan. And instead he goes, he ends up going to the Rangers for a very reasonable fourth round pick.
RD: That’s all it was? Man.
JN: I think so.
RP: I mean, there’s a lot of play here with the Kings having what was it? Uhh… 12 RFAs? It was 13 before Lizotte and then they have 7 UFAs to deal with and then now you’re trying to juggle the trade deadline. So I-I feel like the team is going in direction where they want to be where they want to be… try to build from within the house. So they’re going to look in-house for solutions. And this is what Dean Lombardi said back in like 2013-2014. They said–well I guess Dean Lombardi was lying in 2014–but, he said we’re [Sarah laughs] because he said, “We’re not gonna go out and make the big trade. We have to look in-house.” And then he went out and got Marion Gaborik for like a steal.
SA: The Minnesota Wild just said that about tending issue and then they got Marc-Andre Fleury. So. I just don’t believe any GMs. Ever. For anything.
JN: Yeah. Sorry, it was a third round pick, which I still thought was reasonable.
RD: That’s still less.
RP: Yeah but like I said. I mean, I think it just comes down to trying to fix the solutions in-house and then kind of reassessing where they’re at in the summer because this has been such a weird year.
JN: Yeah. Absolutely. And I mean… It’d be fun to get a lot of these young guys some playoff experience.
JN: You know, it kind of feels a little bit like was it the 2009-2010 season where they finally made the playoffs again and we’re promptly and viciously dispatched by Vancouver?
JN: And then yeah the following year they lose to San Jose in the first round. Jarret Stoll gets suspended.
RP: That was the suspended kiss round, wasn’t it? The Revlon Round? Joe Thornton blowing a kiss at center ice?
RD: Oh, yeah.
JN: Yeah yeah yeah. Yehah. No And-and then 2012 everything clicked. And again not every hockey team has the same exact trajectory because the Tampa Bay Lightning went from getting swept in the first round to then lifting the Stanley Cup.
RP: That was more of an anomaly.
JN: No, the Blue Jackets are the best hockey team ever.
RP: No, but I mean… Like the Blue Jackets were a real crappy team and then Tampa just also kind of did not show up to that series. I think they kept expecting things to automatically go right for them and that it didn’t.
JN: No, definitely. But I mean, you know… I think… The point I’m trying to get that is as Kings fans, we are all excited that they are going to be in the playoffs and we don’t expect them to have to do much.
RP: Just score. I just want a few goals it’s and more than one per game.
SA: One win.
RP: One win. I’ll take one win. I would prefer four.
RP: But let’s start with one. And and if they get one, maybe they can get two. I’m not gonna be greedy and ask for four. But you know, one to two wins would be nice.
JN: I mean, if you get out of the first round, hi Colorado or Calgary.
SA: Right. Like, balls.
RP: They scored… I think they-they have managed to score one goal against Colorado this year in two games and allowed eight. No, no. Seven, seven goals against. So…
JN: I think that Colorado’s team might be kind of good.
RP: Hmm, maybe.
RD: Just keep getting better, too.
RP: Oh god. And it’s a murder’s row in the east, too.
JN: Oh, I know. That whole division.
RP: Whoever gets Colorado is just gonna be massacred and then the east is like whoever comes out of the east for the Stanley Cup Finals just Colorado versus that Eastern Conference team. It’s gonna be a shit show.
SA: I’ve been picking Colorado to win for like three years now and so I-I just I need them to do it just so I can stop picking them.
RP: No but see I need Tampa to three-peat just to piss everybody off.
SA: Ugh. I’m so over them.
JN: Hey speaking of weird. No one brought up weird. I don’t know. I’m sorry I was trying to segue.
RD: I’ve been saying weird a lot.
JN: Yeah, did anyone see that very strange trade that St. Louis made? Were they traded Oscar Sundkvist, another player, and a pick to Detroit for Luca Wilkowski and Nick Leddy?
RP: Yeah, they got Yzerman’d. It’s beautiful.
JN: Yeah obviously Sundqvist has been dealing with injuries, but man that seems strange.
RD: That-that’s bizarre.
JN: Um but Troy Stecher does have a very, very good dog.
SA: He does.
RP: Yes! We’ll talk about that to end the podcast.
SA: Her name’s Phoebe.
SA: She’s a Berner.
SA: She’s a Bernese mountain dog and she’s so cute! She has her own Instagram. Sarah, what’s her Instagram?
SA: As all good dogs should. Her Instagram is called Phoebe The Bernese. P-H-O-E-B-E the Bernese or you can just look up Troy Stetcher’s Instagram and just click on any of his pictures of his dog. In one of them she’s wearing a very cute bandana.
RP: Adorable. I love it. We can always use more players with dogs.
SA: Also like, Troy Stecher’s a small boy so I bet his dog is probably like roughly the same size as him.
RP: Oh, speaking of dogs: Bark Madness. Sorry I had to bring it up. Gustl, unseated as champion.
SA: Who ended up winning?
JN: I think it was… It came down to Lucy… I mean. Quinton Byfield’s dog, Lu–. Sorry. Mikey Anderson’s dog Lucy and of Quinton Byfield’s dog who’s name I’m looking up right now and I can’t remember.
SA: So the thing that concerns me is what I have called the Bark Madness Curse. Because other than Gustl, like most of the winners have ended up being traded away. Like Meatball Luff won the other year, he’s not here anymore. I think like, you know, Dodger Toffoli I think won at one point or like at… Like if you go back and look at the history of Bark Madness winners, most of them have been yeeted off the, team so I’m concerned.
RP: Yes but Gustl has not left us yet, Sarah.
SA: Yeah, like cuz Gustl was like the OG. Maybe it’s Gustl’s curse. Like, Gustl’s like every year that I don’t win, now I hex you, Matt Luff.
RP: Yes that’s that’s exactly it. Gustl is a little secretly jealous.
SA: Gustl is a secret magician.
RP: Anyway. Thank you all and have a good night and good luck to the Kings on this journey forward.