Crown Conversations: Trade Deadline Sadness Day
Sarah A. once again joins James and Robyn to discuss the Kings’ latest trades and grade their deadline day performance.
In a somewhat surprising move, the Los Angeles Kings traded Jeff Carter to the Pittsburgh Penguins just ahead of the NHL’s official trade deadline. While Carter was the most expendable veteran who could be moved, fans were still disappointed to see him dealt away, signaling what is likely the final crushing blow to the team’s (extremely slim) playoffs hopes for this year. It’s also the end of an era as all the members of 2014’s famed “‘70s Line” are no longer with the Kings. On top of that, Carter’s exit leaves only four players from the 2012 and ‘14 Cup wins: Drew Doughty, Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Quick.
But it’s not all doom and gloom for the team. There’s hope on the horizon, as the kids are starting to look comfortable, even when they struggle for consistency. Alex Iafallo signed a nice extension that could prove to be a huge boon to the Kings down the road.
Finally, in other Deadline Day news, the Anaheim Ducks did ... something, Kyle Dubas and the Toronto Maple Leafs worked cap loopholes like Swiss cheese, and Steve Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings swindled Brian MacLellan and the Washington Capitals out of a lot of stuff for Anthony Mantha. How is he so magical?
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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 a very sad edition of Crown Conversations. Joining me and James today is of course, Sarah. Sarah, thank you for joining us today.
SA: I have emerged from my sadness hole in order to join you on the show.
RP: Well, we appreciate it, thank you.
JN: Sadness hole is what I call my bathroom.
[Robyn and Sarah laugh]
SA: Hey, you don’t know my life.
JN: So, uh, Everyone’s really that broken up over Alex Iafallo extension?
SA: [laughs] I’m still I’m still like traumatized from, you know, Mike Amadio.
JN: That’s fair. I mean, I’m really glad we have a such a good forum to discuss Christian Wolanin and his play thus far.
SA: Elite. Elite!
JN: But really we’re all sad about Jeff Carter.
RP: Wait, who?
SA: He’s not dead, he’s just in Pittsburgh. Is that where we’re going here?
JN: Yeah… I guess... I guess... I mean, I-I know who I’m working for for the Stanley Cup playoffs now because the Kings won’t be in it.
RP: I can’t bring myself to root for Pittsburgh. I’m very sorry, Jeff. I want him to have personal success, I just want the Penguins to not have any success at all as a team.
SA: Like, that was my feeling about Vegas whenever they treated Alec Martinez there last year. I was like I want Alec Martinez to be happy and have success and have a good time, but I don’t want Vegas to ever experience anything nice. So, I-I definitely get that feeling.
RP: Listen, Sidney Crosby has, I don’t know, what four rings now? It’s fine. He doesn’t need anymore. He can take a chill pill.
JN: Yeah, well just to quickly recap the trade: Jeff Carter goes to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 2022 conditional third round pick and a 2023 conditional fourth round pick; the third can become a second if the Penguins reach the Stanley Cup Final this year and if Jeff Carter plays in at least half of the games; and the fourth round pick becomes a third round pick if Jeff Carter plays in at least 50 games next season. So the Kings... They got some draft picks. They... They did a thing at least and they extend Alex Iafallo and that’s cool and I think yeah, the Kings now have... They have a lot of picks in this upcoming draft, which apparently is going to be very difficult for all the teams involved because none of the players who are draft eligible have played that all this year.
RP: [surprised] Oh.
JN: So that’s why, especially for this trade deadline, we saw a lot of 2022 draft picks being traded. But yeah. Now uh now [Pittsburgh accent] yinz rootin’ for the bird there?
SA: I mean, I texted my mom last night and was like, “hey mom you just got my favorite “King”. And she actually is very astute in her hockey knowledge and she was like, “I always liked that Jeff Carter”. So you know, my mom is excited about it and I’m excited for my mom so I… Like, it’s one of those things on a personal level, I hated the trade but also I liked it because at least he went to a team that I like because I grew up with the Penguins. You know, if he had gone to some other team that—I mean, not really many teams in the league that I just could not root for under any circumstances, but he at least went to a team that I’m like, “Oh that’s cool. I like that.”
JN: Yeah, I mean he’s going to fit I mean, I feel like any time a veteran goes to a team—like Pittsburgh, there is a role like there is a definite game plan for that player. Like, there’s a clear purpose provided, like no one’s going to be surprised by, you know anything no one’s... Jeff Carter’s not going to be in over his head, I think is what I’m trying to say. It’s going to be really obvious what’s expected of him and I think you know, obviously with Ron Hextall having been the assistant GM when the Kings traded for Jeff Carter in 2012 from Columbus, having that familiarity with him… Yeah, like there’s going to be a good level of familiarity there. And, he even said today, “I made the trade for Jeff Carter to reward the players for playing so good lately.” [Robyn laughs] And they have played great all of without Evgeni Malkin. Or Brandon Tanev. Or Kasperi Kapanen. Like they’ve been on a really... They’ve been on a tear lately and it’s been pretty fun and impressive and I’m... I’m excited to watch third line Jeff Carter in the playoffs.
SA: Like I was talking with the host of Locked On Penguins the the where I do other podcasting stuff and he was kind of comparing it to when the Penguins got Matt Cullen a couple of years ago. Kind of a different kind of player but sort of that same, you know, “We’re just shoring up our depth with a guy who’s been there and done everything and seen everything” and it’s kind of a similar profile of he you know, they’re they’re not acquiring a guy to go out there and be everything. They’re not expecting Jeff Carter to suddenly score 50 goals down the last like two weeks of the season or whatever. He’s very much a complimentary piece, which I think will work for him and will work for Pittsburgh. And Pittsburgh as a team where you blink and they’re six guys on the roster you’ve never heard of who all put up 30 goals this season because they’re playing by Sidney Crosby and there’s a lot of young guys and Pittsburgh doesn’t exactly have like a deficit of leadership. They’ve definitely got a lot of strong characters in that room, but I feel like you know, the one thing that we keep hearing about Jeff Carter right now is how important he was for the young players in the Kings’ room and helping them adjust to being a pro and all that stuff. So, I feel like he will certainly find ways to keep himself busy in Pittsburgh with a fair roster made of Sidney Crosby and some guys.
JN: Yeah, no. And like I’m looking at their roster right now and right now Jake Guentzel’s only 26—he seems like he’s so much older—Jared McCann’s 24, Zach Aston-Reese is 26, Radim Zohorna is 24, Teddy Bleuger’s 26, Sam Lafferty’s 26. Freddy Gaudreau is 27, Mark Jankowski’s 26, Evan Rodriguez is 27... Like that forward group has a lot of like mid-20s guys and, I feel like if Jeff Carter is on a line with any of those guys that becomes a better line. And it makes sense. Oh, by the way, did you need to get in an ad for Milk Bar since you mentioned your other podcast, Sarah?
SA: I will keep that to myself, but they are delicious.
RP: That sounded really fake, Sarah.
SA: No, they’re seriously delicious. I buy them all the time like any money that I have gotten. Like residual ad money, I swear to god, goes right back into Milk Bar [chuckles].
JN: [laughs] Well that’s awesome. Do you guys... I mean, obviously there is the sadness that we lost the most handsome King of all time.
SA: Just devastated.
JN: Yeah. How do you guys feel about what Rob Blake did with the trade deadline?
RP: For me, I go back to thinking about the tweet that Sarah sent out from Locked On the other day. I don’t remember if it was when they were beating the Sharks or when they were losing to the Sharks the day before but you mentioned, Sarah, imagine that if they had just won like three of those games against the Sharks, this would be a totally different trade deadline and I’m thinking, yeah, win… win a couple of those games against Minnesota, win one or two more of those games against the Sharks, do we still lose Jeff Carter? I mean... What do... What does this team look like come today had they actually managed to win anything instead of trying to repeat 2015 in all its failing glories?
SA: Yeah, I feel like as much as Pittsburgh acquiring Jeff Carter was a reward for their players, I feel like had the Kings just knocked out a couple more of those wins and were maybe just out of that playoff spot or you know, just clinging to it or whatever, keeping Jeff Carter could have been a reward for the play—like, you know, you want him down the stretch. You don’t want to, you know, you don’t necessarily know that your young guys are gonna fill that spot in the playoffs. Like, maybe we would have seen you know, Iafallo walk or something like it... The “what if?” like butterfly effect game is crazy, but yeah. Like just looking at the standings, they’re so tight that just like... three or four more wins would have had this whole picture be completely different for the Kings and I think that’s the most frustrating part because I don’t know that we anticipated them going to the the playoffs this year, but we certainly expected to not be sitting around at the end of the season being like “well that was fun,” like time to just check out until the next season starts. You kind of hope to be a little more competitive but it is what it is, I guess.
JN: I mean, I’m not really surprised at all. You know, it sounded like the Penguins had approached the Kings a few weeks ago about Jeff Carter and like when Rob Blake brought up he’s like “Jeff Carter nixed it” out of respect to Jeff Carter and then... You know, I guess the Pens asked again and Jeff Carter thought about it, I guess, and said, “Hey, playing with Sidney Crosby’s pretty cool, I guess.” And... You know, there was tweets last night that you know, the players were saying their goodbyes to Jeff Carter and... I-I think first answer that the thing about what I think about how Rob Blake handled the trade deadline: I’m not surprised. I kind of figured it was going to be something like this. I think... If you wanted to see them make a push for the playoffs, I think you were… Yeah, you weren’t paying attention to the way the team has been playing lately. I think we see the big trade, if there is one to be made, happen in the off season, maybe on the day of the draft. I think in terms of the Jeff Carter and the teammate saying goodbye, it’s kind of crazy that people don’t realize what a good teammate Jeff Carter is and you know, maybe this goes back to you know, the whole “Dry Island” catastrophe thing. Where I think there was you know, and like there was plenty of pictures from back in the day of him and Mike Richards partying, getting into you know, nonsense and such but I.. I mean, Jeff Carter is a guy who... I think was really well respected by the guys around him for being a professional for being somebody who… was reliable on and off the rink. You know it if you remember in the is it the 2014 or the 2015 year? where Mike Richards actually gets sent down to Manchester
JN: Yeah Jeff Carter picks him up from the airport when he’s called back up. Like, yeah they had the bromance thing going, they were best pals, but also, you know... Even during the pandemic, we saw like Alex Iafallo flying his drone with toilet paper to Jeff Carter’s roof, you know like... He was great with the camaraderie it was great to have in the locker room and… You know, those are things that that seems like down the stretch because when you’re in the NHL playoffs and you know, you are likely going to need an operation in a matter of weeks and you don’t know if it’s going to be worth it for you know, maybe not winning the Stanley Cup, having a guy next to you who can keep your spirits high goes a pretty darn long way. Because these guys... NHL players, their bodies get so... Just like, it’s unreal what they put their bodies through. Like I-I was like enough to have stuck into the party after they won the cup in 2014—
RP: Oh, jealous!
JN: The only intern not given a wristband to the party—[bitterly] not bitter—but I got in there. And like, just watching all those guys like try to party and dance but like still obviously in pain, it was mind-blowing to see yeah and... Yeah, so you know, Jeff Carter is 36, I believe.
JN: Yeah. That’s asking a lot of a 36-year-old to go through that again, to put his body through that again and I don’t think you would have been down to do it if he didn’t think he had a really good shot at a Stanley Cup this year and next year potentially.
SA: Yeah. Yeah. I feel like a lot of people, if you don’t follow the Kings particularly, their knowledge of Jeff Carter is frozen in about 2011, 2012 or so. Everyone just still thinks of him as the party dude. and I like I don’t know how to explain to people who don’t watch this team and have no reason to have kept up with Jeff Carter like that he’s just like a boring dad now. Like he is not... Whatever happened, something clicked and he grew up, you know? And and he is not that same player who was getting into shenanigans and who was visibly like disgruntled in Columbus. Like he has gotten the respect of all the guys around him and you know, I just think about how you know, whenever Jaret Anderson-Dolan was first kind of coming up that that one season where he only played a handful of games and they sent him back to juniors and you know, Jeff Carter just had like glowing words to say about Jaret Anderson-Dolan and even compared him to Mike Richards, which I was like, I need a moment after that one. But yeah. I think a lot of people just think of him as that guy who got himself traded out of Philadelphia for whatever and I think that they they don’t realize how much he has changed as a person and I think that you know, we also heard from him at the beginning of this season that he was like this is the “first time I’ve been fully healthy in years because of the long layoff because of covid” and everything. And I think the people still really underestimate how-how much damage that ankle injury a couple of years ago did to him and his skating and when skating is your game, like that is what he is known for of course, you’re going to look bad and of course people are going to spend the next two seasons trying to get you traded because you look terrible because you’re not playing on a healthy leg and you have to relearn how to play basically. So I think a lot of people you know... I-I have no shame in being a like Jeff Carter apologist or whatever. But I think a lot of people just don’t really realize the full picture of who he is as a player and just see him as like the party guy or whatever.
JN: Yeah, I mean like... The way the media portrayed him and Mike Richards way back when like it was pretty vicious and those guys really... It changed how they handled the press. It changed how they talked with reporters. And you know... There were more than a few times where I saw reporters asked, “hey can we talk to Richie”, “hey can we talk to Carts” and the PR staff would have to come out and be like, “oh sorry, they’re working out” or “oops they’re already gone.” Like they specifically didn’t feel like talking. But when the Kings took away the “C” from Dustin Brown—it’s still mind-blowing but they didn’t give Dustin Brown an “A” at least—but that “A” instead went to Jeff Carter. Like, that’s how well thought of he was by the team, by the executives, by everybody in the organization. And yeah. Now, I would assume Dustin Brown gets the “A” again, but who the heck even knows?
SA: If he doesn’t, we riot.
JN: Yeah. No, they’ll give it to Brendan Lemieux.
RP: Oh God. / SA: Oh Jesus.
RP: One last thing on the Carter... You know, Sarah, you talked about how like everybody’s kind of stuck in 2011-2012 of their feelings on Jeff Carter, but what do you expect when you give 20-year-olds like 10 million dollars?
SA: Yeah, I would’ve been a mess. I would’ve been absolutely a mess and I was the most boring 20-year-old ever. And I still would’ve been like, “I don’t know what to do with my money.” I actually knew rich kids in college. Like, long story, but I knew kids who had way too much money. Like, not professional athlete wealth or whatever and like, legitimately one of them would wander around the bar out, like when we were out, and just would buy drinks for like the whole bar and be shouting, “I don’t know what to do with my money” because he had no concept of like, how to be an adult in that way. And like yeah, of course. Of course you’re going off the rails if you’re a millionaire at the age of 20 and you’re playing a professional sport and people want to like hang out with you and be with you and whatever. Like… Of course! Of course all that happened.
RP: Sorry, that is such a painful story, Sarah. Like that physically hurts me.
SA: I mean, it it was it was... That that individual was a wild, wild person.
RP: “I don’t know what to do with my money.” Oh! I just… Oh, give it to me. Just give it to me. That’s why you should have told them: “Just give it to me. I’ll keep it—”
SA: Yeah, right?
RP: “I’ll keep it safe for you”. I mean, this is the same thing was was said of Tyler Seguin in Boston. I mean it is a very similar situation; he landed in Dallas and by all accounts it seems like he’s really grown up over the last several years. Sorry, James but guys are notoriously slow to mature emotionally. Like especially when…
JN: [mock shouting] No!
RP: [laughs] I mean, especially you have guys like Carter and Richards and Seguin who were the best players on their teams for so long. They’ve been treated as like demi-gods since they were I don’t know 14 years old. What do you expect them to do when you hand them essentially a blank check? Like...
JN: Yeah. Yeah, I get it.. I mean... I’m gonna miss Jeff. Carter being a King. And you know, it’s weird that he’s not a King and he has been for almost 10 years. You know, I think especially this year talking about like, “oh we only have five guys left from the Cup.” The the... way time marches on and things change it’s a bit of a bummer, it’s you know better sweet but... I mean, I... I really hope that Jeff Carter freaking tears it up and Pittsburgh and then you know, they take the Stanley Cup down Carson Street and see what kind of shenanigans they can get into.
SA: I would legitimately book a plane. I would I would just drive home. I just drive home and go to that, like no shame. I-I would admit it right here if Pittsburgh somehow me and just a win a Stanley Cup with Jeff Carter on the roster, I’m freaking going back to Pittsburgh.
RP: I may have to like, I don’t know go with you and and just sneak into your luggage and and…
SA: I mean, I’m already fully prepared for whenever the first Penguins-LA game in LA next year. I’m... Listen, I-I came out t o LA for the first time that Mike Richards and Justin Williams both came back when they were on the Capitals. I specifically flew out to LA for that game. I will one thousand percent, I will see you guys there, fly out whenever the Penguins come to town this season.
RP: I like it.
JN: Yes, um... How do we all feel about Alex Iafallo being extended for four years?
RP: It’s fine. Like, I kind of felt they extended him, maybe one year too many. I thought maybe two to three would have been better but... Eh.
SA: Yeah, I don’t have a problem with it. I think that, you know, is that contract maybe gonna look a little ugly in year four? Maybe. We don’t, you know... Who knows what his game is gonna look like—I think he’s what 27 as well?
SA: I know four years from now he’s in his thirties, which is just wild, he was like a child last time I checked and now we’re thinking about Alex Iafallow being 30. But like, I think that he... I don’t hate it and by the time it becomes a problem... I like... It’s just gonna be so far in the future that they’ll figure out something else to do. Like it’s not it’s not the end of the world. I’m sure that the term was probably the sticking point between the two sides. I imagine the Kings probably maybe wanted to go shorter as well, but at the end of the day, they got it done, he and Kopitar played together so well, I know people hate it because they’re like Kopitar should have a legitimate scoring winger and maybe they’ll find him one finally that’s off season, but for right now like they play together well. Iafallo’s offense has been getting better every year and just imagine when the Kings are fully competitive again and maybe he gets bumped down the line up and now he’s your third line winger and he plays like a first line. Like you know, tha-that’s a good problem to have is oh we have to bump down this guy who can take down… Like, who can take on hard assignments and who we trust in all situations like, “Oh oops, we had to bump him down the lineup.” Like... The-the Stanley Cup winning-Kings teams were so deep and that’s the only way you win is by having a deep team. Unless it’s the year the Blackhawks won with like Duncan Keith and no other defensemen—that’s another story. But you know, I think it’s a good problem to have of you know, this guy potentially being bumped down the lineup by other prospects, but he’s experienced, he’s well liked in the room and he has a collection of surfboards that he made that I’m sure he did not want to have to move to like, you know, Ottawa.
JN: When you look at other fanbases and you see them like at the trade deadline like, “Oooh who do I want on my team?” Ooh, like “who would fit well?” Like looking at a lot of fanbases, a lot of people like in Boston, in Toronto and Montreal they wanted Alex Iafallo on their team.
JN: Oh yeah.
SA: Yeah. Oh yeah.
JN: Yeah, like they really wanted him because that’s the type of player who, to Sarah’s point, you need in the playoffs. Who is not going... You don’t have to worry about them screwing up a play. And I think that’s the reason why he gets to play with Kopitar. It’s like Kopitar can trust him to be where he needs to be at all times. There’s never a question about what he’s doing on the ice. He’s like a coach’s dream and yeah, like that’s a really nice luxury to happen. Sure, maybe it’s a year too long. I’m fine with four years. At four million, it’s literally the same exact contract that the Kings pretty much gave Martinez and Muzzin years ago, who, you know, who were in similar positions. When you talk about the breakdown of a roster and you start looking at, in terms of like age tiers, the Kings don’t have anyone on their active roster who’s in their late 20s. Like the only other two guys in the organization are Martin Frk and I think Daniel Brickley.
SA: Yeah, they’re not… [awkward chuckle] Sorry guys, but…
JN: Like everyone else is either in their mid-30s or like 21. Like I think the next oldest guy is like... Well maybe Olli Määttä… How old is Olli Määttä?
RP: Well, Grease Lightning, Andreas Athanasiou, he’s 26 and Trevor Moore.
JN: Yeah, and Sean Walker.
RP: Trevor Moore has been getting better of late and I appreciate him but we’ll get back to that later.
JN: I mean, he has that Alex Iafallo thing. Like, people in Toronto miss Trevor Moore.
JN: Yes! They’re just like, “Man, how much fun would he be on our fourth line now, running around with Jason Spezza?” Like yeah. Like because he... He’s always where he should be and like that goes a long way. Like being smart enough to not screw it up for the other guys is a really valuable thing in the eyes of an NHL coach.
SA: yeah and I feel like you you need those guys like, you know, no offense to Mike Amadio, but for good reasons he got pushed out of the lineup because Jaret Anderson-Dolan emerged as a great option and I think as we see more of these guys step up and emerge as viable NHL players, those fringe guys who, you know, all respect to like Austin Wagner or whatever, but no one’s gonna trade for him, like he’s not gonna move the needle for any team that’s a competitor or whatever. But like, you start moving out those guys because you-you finally have the the bodies to put in there who are better players and you know, that’s what we’re seeing and we yeah... Like Trevor Moore. Like you need a guy like that you he’s-he’s feisty, he plays well on that sort of like grindery line, but also is providing offense and is getting all those like dirty goals that I feel like we don’t always... It’s like Dustin Brown gets them and that’s kind of it. You know, I think that as we see more of these young guys emerge, those sort of fringe players who we’re like, “oh you’re fun, but um, what exactly would you say you do here?” Those guys are going to be pushed out of the lineup and once we start seeing some of those kind of in-betweener guys starting to fall off, the Kings are going to be in a much better position because they’re going to be a much deeper team than they are right now.
RP: You know, I remember when Alex Iafallo first got put on that line with Kopitar. It was very unsettling but the more he played with Kopitar the more I liked it because I always called Alex Iafallo a Golden Retriever. He’s going to go into the corners and he’s going to go get that puck for you and he’s like probably at least seven times out of ten, he’s going to be the one to go into a puck battle and come out with the puck and that’s... Hey, that’s worth four million dollars, isn’t it?
JN: I think so. I mean, I think that’s awesome. Give me that type of player every single day. Because all that does is it takes pressure off of your star players. And the Kings are going to have star players in a year or two. I mean besides like Kopitar... And... Kopitar…
[Sarah and Robyn laugh]
RP: Is there a way that we can clone Kopitar so he can take a little pressure off of Kopitar?
JN: Why don’t we just sign Ryan Getzlaf after this?
[Sarah and Robyn groan]
SA: Oh god. I mean, this is going to play for a million dollars? Like…
RP: I talked to a Ducks fan and he thinks that Getzlaf is not going anywhere. He’s like, no, Getzlaf is not leaving Anaheim, he’s too comfortable in Anaheim. He does... He’s got his ring, he doesn’t care, he wants to shepherd in the next generation or whatever for the Ducks. If they get a ring, great, that would be cherry on top but... He’s not leaving, he’s dedicated to Anaheim, which surprised me. I was like yeah, what about like all this stuff that Teemu said and it’s like yeah but that was Teemo’s beef.
JN: Yeah, it’s true. You know, Ryan Getzlaf supposedly the only place he said he would be traded to was Vegas which, obviously Bob Murray is still angry that he gave up Shea Theodore. Like they traded away stuff to make sure that Vegas picked Shea Theodore, like which is just... It’s bonkers like… And how did the Ducks trade for Haydn Fleury today??
RP: They got rid of... Okay, I’m gonna totally butcher his name… H-Honka-paw-ah?
SA: [smoothly] Yonni Honkenpaw (Jani Hakanpää).
RP: Yes, thank you. Sarah apparently speaks fluent Finnish.
SA: I just hear his name a lot.
SA: Um from my Ducks colleague at Locked On.
JN: Brought to you by Milk Bar.
RP: James, we’re not the ones getting any money from Milk Bar, so stop it.
SA: I can send some to you.
RP: Well then maybe keep going if you’re gonna send me some chocolate.
SA: I feel like that was a very random move. Like not to defend Ducks fans or anything but... Like, for all the complaints about Rob Blake and the people unhappy with how he’s doing his job or whatever, at least he very clearly he and Luc and ownership and whoever, like realized that this team needed to just shed some bodies and start over again and like I’m glad that the Ducks aren’t good and don’t look like they’re going to be good for a little while but like that is a team that needs a rebuild, retool, whatever and is not doing it because their front office is just like... sticking their heads in the sand, I think.
RP: God bless Bob Murray. [Sarah laughs] The weird thing with Bob Murray is that so the Ducks... Maybe not the last couple of years, but a couple years before that, they kept getting close enough to the playoffs that it’s like “Do we... Do we trade for somebody or do we just start off like tear it all down and rebuild?” Like when Rob Blake came in it was obvious the Kings needed a complete and total gut job. They just needed to tear it all down and start over, but the Ducks… They’re just sort of spinning their wheels and it’s like Bob Murray can’t really seem to make a decision. He’s sort of… stuck, like the team.
JN: I-I get it. I mean do you guys remember the year of the draft when like Dean Lombardi was originally hired by the LA Kings? Like there’s a great moment where like he’s interviewed on the draft floor and he announcers are kind of like “oh, you know, this is a team that’s very much middling, are they going to make a push to the playoffs or are they going to rebuild? Who knows?” and then like they bring Dean Lombardi and he’s like “No, we’re rebuilding, we’re tearing it down.” Did it in the most Dean Lombardi way ever. Like, didn’t talk about neurons at all, but like. You know. Like yeah, this is the plan. When Rob like took over he was like, “Hey, we’ve got some mileage left on these tires,” like, “We’ve got some tread on them,” like, “Let’s go.” And like he signed Kovalchuk and then yeah everything went bad when Dustin Brown breaks his hand in the preseason and all the lineup gets shuffled and and then Carter gets injured and Tanner Pearson doesn’t score a point like for 20 games. And it like it was just such... It was bad luck. And the Kings were just like well, like, “We can try to push off the inevitable or we can just go for it.” And they went for it and I mean, you know... We’re seeing now all a lot of excitement in Ontario and Ontario is up and down and all that but like, you know guys like Kupari, Thomas, Turcotte, Kaliyev, Byfield… There’s a lot to look forward to with this forward group moving forward. Forward… Forwards… Forward...
RP: James, James, James come back to us!
JN: Oh, sorry. Sorry. Thank you.
RP: Yeah, there’s definitely a lot to look forward to... Or look to the future to with Ontario. I still feel like the back end needs retooling but it’s exciting watching Bjornfot get more and more comfortable as time goes on and I love how everybody just loves to crap on Drew Doughty, and like... I have zero problems with Drew Doughty. Eleven million dollars? Fine. Worth it. Sean Walker, he’s great. Olli Määttä, he sucks, but oh well. I mean, there’s some holes in the in the in in the probably their third pairing defense, but... Could you upgrade the second pair? Ideally yes, but... That’s where, you know, Ontario was a little iffy to me, it’s just on the back end.
SA: You mean Kurtis MacDermid isn’t the answer?
RP: Ohhh! He tries so hard, bless him. He tries so hard, Sarah.
JN: I mean… What do you guys... I mean, that’s... This is where, now that we’re done with the trade deadline, we can now start trying to predict free agency.
RP: Oh, god.
JN: And... I don’t want to get your hopes up but I’m going to because a certain jazz handsy defenseman will be a free agent after the season.
SA: Oh man. Oh no! Oh no, now my hopes are up and he comes back on a really cheap deal and just hangs out.
JN: Yeah, man. Like he gets to be with Matt Roy again on that second pair. Like yeah, baby, just give me that every day the week. He called him partner and he put it on his jersey, you remember?
SA: [laughing] Yes!
JN: Remember?We get “partner” again. Party and partner.
SA: I would not hate that.
RP: It’d have to be a really cheap deal and really like a year, maybe two.
SA: That’s fine, that’s fine. We can talk him into it.
JN: Maybe they spend a lot of money on Dougie Hamilton.
[Simultaneously] RP: No. / SA: Yes!
SA: I love Dougie Hamilton!
JN: Oh man. I did not think it was going to elicit that immediate of a response from both of you. That’s fun. Oh my gosh. Sarah, why do the Kings need Dougie Hamilton?
SA: Um, I think that he kind of fits that model of young puck moving defenseman that we keep talking about. But you know, he also has the NHL experience that he’s been around for a while and and he gets he gets the way it works. I feel like the negatives of him like the whole like “he didn’t get along with the team because he likes museums” or whatever is all just like BS. I think the Hurricanes are gonna try real hard to keep him. But you know, I think him like with all somewhat older players, my biggest concern would be committing to him for too many years and then suddenly you have like a 35 year old defenseman who can’t move or whatever. But you know, he has been there have been nice where he is the best player for the the Carolina Hurricanes, he has kind of forgettable night today, but he has been really reliable for them and you know, right now the Kings have you know, what in terms of goals from their blue line they’ve got Drew Doughty Curtis MacDermid has a couple Matt Roy finally… Matt Roy and Sean Walker finally got like one each. And like I’m pretty sure that’s it, you know. So I think that it if you want to get more offense coming from your blue line, he’s a great place to start and if they could make the money work and the term work, um, dear Rob Blake, do the thing.
JN: Now, okay Robyn, why are you opposed to Dougie Hamilton being on the Kings?
RP: Well living not like strongly opposed but, he’s... He is a really good player and if he manages not to have any freak injuries, I think he’d be a good value. But I mean, he will be 28 come free agency, so that’s where you have to start, unfortunately, you get to start really being careful with how much you commit to him and... Because Dougie Hamilton is one of those guys where when he’s great, he is awesome but when he’s like not having a good day, he’s not very good. Now, you could say the same thing of everybody and especially of Drew Doughty. Like when Drew Doughty sinks he stinks big time, but maybe we don’t want somebody quite so what’s the word? Streaky.
JN: Volatile. I think the big thing for me is Dougie Hamilton plays the right side. The Kings, they’re set at the right side they have Doughty, Roy, Walker. Like they’re fine there. They need somebody on the left side. I’m … I don’t think it would be more fetched to ask any of those guys to play on the left side other than Doughty. I mean, Dougie Hamilton makes your team better. There’s not a ton of great free agent defenseman coming up. Like I think it’s like him and Tyson Barrie. He also plays on the right side and then Martinez, who plays the left. And he just looks so good doing it.
RP: Hey, James.
SA: In all facets of the word.
JN: [laughs] He looks great with those jazz hands. Yes?
RP: Do you think Kevyn Adams can be talked out of a certain Swedish defenseman who is currently only 21?
JN: Ohhh man!
RP: And he’s left-handed!
JN: Apparently all we need to offer is like a bag of Skittles and a fourth round pick.
SA: Yeah, the Taylor Hall trade just completely changed every expectation I had for the Kings making a deal with Buffalo. Because A) Like I don’t necessarily want them to trade for Jack Eichel but like, you know, Jack Eichel, Rasmus Dahlin, like any of these guys. I’m like, oh man that like Quentin Byfield is the opening conversation for those trades. Now I’m like could we give them like, a slightly used Austin Wagner you know? Like that trade was brutal for Buffalo and if that is a that is how he negotiates, the King should be picking up the phone to see what they can do.
RP: I mean to be fair it seems like Taylor Hall kind of hamstrung Buffalo, but still like... Kevyn Adams didn’t have to accept Anders Bjork.
JN: Yeah and like I think Taylor Hall could.., One of the things that I think it’s important to remember about Taylor Hall is like his mentor is Bobby Orr. There’s a reason why Taylor Hall wears number four, obviously he won’t be able to wear that in Boston. So, I think he was going to steer everything towards Boston as much as he could. I... Yeah. Like, Kevyn Adams like he also traded Eric Staal, Brandon Montour... Who else did trade? He traded someone else that I can’t remember.
RP: He gave up a lot for Eric… like I think he only got like three... three picks or something back for Eric Staal, it was something crazy.
JN: Yeah and and... did not net a single first round pick.
JN: And like here’s the thing that blows my mind, like especially blows my mind: all of the picks are for this year. There’s no scouts. I mean, I guess if you just like or like we can’t blow it because there’s no expectations with this draft class, so why not because we don’t have anyone to look at these players anyway, so we’re on equal footing with everyone else, I guess. Oh! Freakin’ terrible. Why am I so angry at Buffalo??
RP: Wait. I looked it up. I had to know. The Habs traded for Eric Staal and Buffalo retained half the salary, $1.625 million, and they got in return a third round and a fifth round for this year.
JN: I mean obviously all these guys later numbers are terrible like so there is maybe this like being out negotiated of just like yeah like you’re selling low on this guy, but... I don’t know. This is just… Ugh. Things are bad in Buffalo. Give us, Rasmus Dahlin. Kevyn. Kevyn. Give us Rasmus Dahlin. [High pitched voice as Kevyn Adams] “Oh, ok! Sure thing, Rob Blake! Sure we’ll take Brendan Lemieux.” [normal voice] That’s right.
SA: Yeah, I just looked at the list of pending free agent defensemen, it is dire. I feel like if they don’t think they’re going to be able to get something done in free agency with any of these guys who quite frankly I don’t particularly want like... Yeah, it’s like Dougie Hamilton, Alec Martinez, like a lot of these guys like I don’t I don’t want them. I don’t want them at all so I feel like if they feel like they’re gonna strike out in free agency and they really want to solidify their defense, it has to be via trade and then that opens up a whole a whole new world.
RP: Hey, Paul LaDue is a free agent.
SA: I mean Derek Forbort’s gonna be a free agent.
JN: Derek Forbort who’s been playing 21 minutes a night for Winnipeg?
JN: Oh my gosh. Like, h-how? How has he…
RP: They have no defensemen, they have no...
JN: Well I know that but they’re also very good. Winnipeg is kind of scary with how good they’ve been. Did they add a defenseman at all?
SA: They got Jordie Benn.
JN: Oh, okay. That’s fine. Yeah, they didn’t really do much. Yeah. Yeah. It’s hard to get guys to be stoked about Winnipeg. But yeah... Alex Goligoski, Hjalmarsson, Ryan Murray... Ryan Murray could be a pretty good fit actually. I do kind of like that one, left side, dependable. Not much offensively... Okay. I mean former number two overall pick. A good pal of our friend Jon Rosen’s.
SA: Yeah, there you go.
RP: Maybe the Kings could lure the Zdeno Chara out west.
SA: Oh gosh.
JN: Man... I mean, I don’t... I mean he’s been fun to watch with Washington.
RP: He’s not very good anymore.
JN: No. I mean he’s not… Yeah…
RP: Sarah’s right. Looking at this list of eligible UFA defensemen. Oof.
SA: It’s ugly.
JN: I think... If we aren’t going to get someone for free agency, you know to fill in on defense, I think the other need would likely be center, correct?
RP: Well, they always need centers but literally every team is always trying to shore up their center. Hello. Nashville. Nashville has been trying to get a center for... Ever? Since they had Ryan Johansen.
SA: Yeah I feel like any any moves for center I think would also prob... Like there are so many prospects in the system who are our centers and of course, you know, you can convert one of them to weighing whatever that I feel like any any anyone who they acquired to fill that center position, I feel like would have to be kind of a bridge deal sort of person because I don’t think they want to lock up that spot for a long-term knowing that they’ve got Byfield, Turcotte, uh what’s his name? Akil Thomas. Rasmus Kupari, like all these guys are coming up, so. Yeah, maybe they get someone on a short-term deal for, you know, two, three seasons or something, but they know they’re gonna have to make way sooner or later for for those young guys.
JN: I’m just looking at the guys for UFAs for next year and like…
RP: It’s ugly.
JN: Yeah but like if you still want the young guys to get plenty of time and like you still want to have guys who are useful for your team on a on a two or three-year deal, I mean Phillip Danault or Adam Lowry... Those are kind of guys or you know... I mean Paul Stastny if he wants to come out west. Again.
RP: But he’s kind of old.
JN: Well yeah, he’s old. But a year or two and then he’s gone, right? And the kids take over full time.
RP: Athanasiou was listed at center, do you re-sign him?
JN: It seems like they are content, he’s an RFA. I think they’re in content with him on the wing. You know, I think they need help at center. I-I have always thought that Vilardi is going to be better on the wing than he is at center.
RP: Hey, what do you think of Mikael Granland or Erik Haula for a year or two?
JN: I’d be fine with with those guys. I mean like, to parallel it to previous Kings moves, is this the kind of like Michal Handzuš type of a signing? You know, like... like where they’re just like we have a veteran he’s reliable maybe he’s not the flashiest, the splashiest, maybe we have to overpay a little bit but oh my gosh, will he help like stabilize and solidify things in the lineup.
RP: So is this your Patrick O’Sullivan trade?
JN: Well it’s a signing, it’s not a trade. I mean, yeah at a certain point, that’s coming. I don’t know who goes where. I think… I think we... You know after the expansion draft where you know, where Seattle takes Quick or Määttä or Austin Wagner or Athanasiou or whomever and it’s nothing was really drastically different for the Kings roster. We... Who knows where things go? Who knows if that trade happens at the draft? I mean freaking... It... I mean if they could trade for Rasmus Dahlin, like yes, please give me that every day. My gosh. I mean the like... If Buffalo is really rebuilding, maybe... He probably just goes, hey notice you don’t have a second first round pick, you want one? I’m fine with giving up a first round pick for Rasmus freaking Dahlin!. Like like... I’m... I’m getting... getting... all riled up, you’re angering up my blood.
RP: Well looking at for … Well, this is just a free agent list of goaltenders, I mean, it’s it’s obviously not complete but... There’s not a lot of... It’s it’s hard to say, of course who Seattle would take but I just, I find it hard to believe that they would take Jonathan Quick. Just personally speaking.
JN: My assumption is that they would take Holtby and/or Freddie Andersen.
RP: But Freddie Andersen sucks.
JN: Well he’s hurt this year, but he’s been... He’s been fine, he’s reliable. Holtby’s super up and down. I mean, Andersen is a good regular season goalie and terrible in the playoffs, so you just get Andersen for the regular season and then Holtby for the playoffs.
SA: Bold strategy.
JN: [laughs] It’s a bold strategy, Cotton.
RP: Holtby’s been so bad in Vancouver. It’s like yikes. I think he misses Washington.
JN: Yeah, and yeah…
SA: I mean who wouldn’t, playing in front of the Canucks? Like.
JN: Yeah, exactly.
RP: Their baby goalie is like their savior right now.
JN: Yeah, Demko, he even got an extension five years at five million.
RP: Something Hockey Twitter was like, “Huh. Okay.”
JN: Yeah, 62 career games. Here you go, kid.
RP: Alright, well, do you guys have any last-minute thoughts on the trade deadline?
SA: It happened.
RP: Besides we miss you, Jeff Carter?
SA: It happened to us.
JN: How did Detroit make the single best trade of the entire deadline?
RP: I have two words for you.
SA: They fleeced the Capitals. That deal is… Bonkers.
JN: Like, I would’ve loved Richard Pánik and Jakub Vrána and a first and a second.
JN: Anthony Mantha? Like we could have given you Kempe and like thrown in Wagner for fun for that. Come on!
SA: And the fact that that deal came down like after the buzzer and no one had heard a peep about it like all day long and then it was suddenly like bombshell, PS. And like whenever I first saw it reported I only saw the player’s names, the picks weren’t attached to it yet and I was like well, that kind of like, you know, it’s sort of a hockey trade-ish like one for one and a half, Panik has been kind of in and out of the lineup. And then I saw the picks and I was like, what did Washington just do?
RP: What? I missed the picks. So they also traded, on top of Vrána and and Pánik they traded their first and second round picks to Detroit?
RP: Why? All that for Anthony Mantha??
JN: Yeahhh! Right??
RP: But like I mean Mantha’s good, but he’s not Taylor Hall.
JN: [struggling for words] Yeah. No. What?? Yeah!
RP: Like this is the kind of haul I would have expected for like Connor McDavid. And even then that would be like underpayment. But still I would expect that sort of thing for like Connor McDavid, not for Anthony—like no offense to Anthony Mantha or his family or his friends or whoever, not that they would be listening to our podcast, but just like, it blows my mind like… [sputtering] How??
SA: I mean, Steve Yzerman strikes again, man. Like, if you’re a GM and he calls you don’t answer, you’re just gonna get robbed.
JN: Mmm-hmm. Yeah. Also, how is Kyle Dubis, so good at the salary cap?
RP: Their salary cap wizard—I forgot his name, I think it’s Luke something, Luke Brash… Whatever, he’s basically they’re Jeff Solomon. Like they will find... Well Toronto actually has like a whole department devoted—I don’t know if it’s actually true, but this is what people say, that they have a whole department devoted to finding loopholes in the salary cap and then they have like one guy who’s just like a giant calculator.
JN: Yeah, well they put him to use because, man, did they make a lot of trades for a team with no cap space. Picking up freaking Nick Foligno... who else did they get? They got Ben Hutton, which was kind of random. They got David Rittich from Calgary. Like they also... They got um... Antti Suomela from San Jose, who is, I think a pretty good player. Like it blows my mind.
SA: Yeah, I think they also like weaponized some of their long-term injured reserve space and I know one of the players they acquired, specifically Riley Nash from Columbus, I’m pretty sure that he’s going right on or went right on long-term injured reserve and and helped free up even more cap space for Toronto so…
RP: Yeah. Well first they had to put Frederick Anderson on LTIR retroactive to like whenever he supposedly got hurt and then they’re like, okay well now that he’s on IR now we can add Riley Nash to LTIR, now we can fit Riley Nash but also it weren’t they like... Didn’t they kick off the three team trade spree that just happened this year?
JN: Yeah they did. That’s how they ended up with a couple of… That’s how they ended up with Stefan Noesen from San Jose, as well, in the Foligno trade.
RP: Yeah, and Detroit like retained 25%... Well, it was half of the half that Columbus had retained. So, basically Toronto ended up with only 25% of Riley Nash’s cap hit which… That’s genius.
JN: Yeah, they did a really good job like... San Jose weaponized their cap space to make some moves. I man, I just... Like other than The Leafs still paying Phil Kessel’s buy out or retained salary, I should say—are they… They’re still paying Mikhail Grabovski, wow. Like, dang do the freaking Maple Leafs look good. That lineup is just stacked right now.
RP: Sometimes but then they go out and lose to like the Winnipeg Jets or the Calgary Flames. Oh, by the way, Big Save Dave, he’s now in Toronto.
JN: Yep, but they have been treating our boy Jack very, very well.
RP: Yes! We have to mention this and then we have to wrap this up. Jack Campbell, dear to all of our hearts, he had a 10-game win streak, which is the record in the modern NHL. Or matches the record, I should say.
JN: Yeah. Well, no, he beat it. He got to eleven.
RP: Oh, he did?
JN: Yeah. Yeah, and they are obsessed with him in Toronto. Be—and they just like they love that he’s the nicest guy in the world.
RP: Oh he is. He is. Ohhh they like... You cannot find somebody who is honestly more humble and down to earth and that was the thing that made his... renaissance, if you will, so... I don’t even know what what what’s the word. But just like when when he was bad and it’s like he’s not really worth his pedigree as a first round draft pick, you know, people were right ready to write him off, it’s because he was taking all the criticism personally because he is so down on earth and he just wants to be that guy that everybody can rely on and so, you know enter Dusty Imoo, Dusty Imoo was like “Yo. You don’t need to take this to heart, just focus on yourself.” Like he got Jack Campbell out of his own head and that was to sort of a match made in heaven.
JN: Oh yeah.
RP: If you had ever talked to Cat Silverman, she has the best stories about like Dusty Imoo basically adopting Jack Campbell as his son.
JN: Steve Dangle told a story on his podcast where like he was at the World Junior Championship and was watching Jack Campbell play for the U.S. and asked the scout in front of him like, “hey who’s this kid in net for the States?” and the scout turned around and he’s like, “That guy, he’s got ice in his veins.” And then Steve Dangle goes, “Yeah and now we know he doesn’t. He has gummy bears in there because he’s the nicest human being.”
RP: [laughs] Gummy bears, I love it. I miss him. You know, the he says he was like he was so nice because he was like “my teammates in Toronto, they’re all awesome, these are the best guys, but I can’t forget L.A. and what they did for me and all those teammates there like they were so awesome.” I’m like, [fake sniffles, pretend tears] “Jack! I’m not even on the team and just like, [more fake sniffles] I love you.”
SA: Like, I don’t want nice things in general for Toronto. I could take or leave them doing anything useful ever but I just, I desperately want Jack handle to have nice things. It’s so... I feel like any professional sport you you wonder sometimes whether or not they’re good people and I feel like Jack Campbell is just universally beloved by anyone who he plays with and it’s been really great to see to see all of the work that he did finally pay off and and to be doing it in, you know, one of the toughest hockey markets ever. I feel like it’s Toronto and Montreal are the two places where it’s like, “oh boy, you gotta be gutsy to go there” and he’s he’s doing it for Toronto so I am, I’m very happy for him. I don’t care about his team but I want him to have nice things.
RP: Okay, I’ll leave you with this last thought: should Toronto actually win the Cup, how great would it be to see Jack Campbell lead the way?
SA: I’m gonna go cry.
RP: [laughs] Well, Sarah, thank you for joining us and I’m sorry I gave you another reason to cry. But at least we can be happy for Jack and Jeff.
RP: Alright, friends, thank you for listening. Thank you again, Sarah, for joining me. And I don’t know when we’ll be back hopefully soon in the Kings hopefully start winning so tata, everybody!