But That's Not What He Said

From Kukla's Corner, with headline boiling-down Hammond:

Kings Plan to Keep Frolov This Season

Rich Hammond lf [sic] LAKings Insider has a Q & A with GM Dean Lombardi,

Question: If, over the next few weeks, it seems unlikely that anything will happen there (Frolov contract), does that influence what you do with him?

LOMBARDI: "No. This is the other thing too, another sign that you’re getting better. Certainly, in the first three years, it was very clear. It was all about getting draft picks. That’s the crappy part about building. You’re essentially making your team worse, immediately, and all you’re doing is getting picks. I don’t see us doing anything like that with a player of his caliber, to say, `OK, we’re going to lose him, so let’s get a second-round pick, or a first-rounder.’ I don’t see us taking good players out of our lineup at this stage.

via KuklasKorner : Hockey.

But wait. This does not translate to "Kings plan to keep Frolov this season." I'm tempted to say you have to know how to speak Lombardi, but really this one isn't even really that hard to parse. He lays it out pretty plainly. From the part of the interview not quoted by KK, with my emphasis in bold:

"Two years ago, maybe even last year, you might say, yeah, like with Brad Stuart. Again, it’s those subtle signs that you’re moving along. That’s [moving a roster player for picks] not even a consideration. So in terms of a trade, you can’t ever say that somebody is untouchable. If you’re asking me, if we can’t get a deal done, if we would trade him for a first-round or a second-rounder, no. That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t make a hockey deal, but I don’t see us making our team worse, which is essentially would I did at every deadline up to this point. The reality was, when you’re trading all those guys, you’re making your team worse but you’re making your reserve list stronger. Now, with a guy like Fro, I don’t see that. A hockey deal? Maybe."

Shorter Lombardi: I won't trade Frolov for picks, but I might trade him, or anyone, for players that help us short term and long term. That's what he means by "a hockey deal." It's a deal that is neither a buyer's deal (trading away prospects and picks for help now) or a seller's deal (trading away pricey vets for picks, prospects or cap relief). I can't think of any blockbuster hockey deals in the last few years, but Lombardi has made two mid-sized ones: Visnovsky for Greene and Stoll, and O'Sullivan for Williams for Cole 3way. An example of a Frolov hockey deal would be:

Frolov, Brown and Teubert for Kovalchuk and Bogosian.

Not that I'm advocating this, or that DL would offer it, or that Waddell would bite. Insert smiley face.