Why Heatley to Kings Doesn't Make Sense (but still might be good)
Matthew Barry just posted Why Heatley to LA Makes Sense. I'm of two minds. One of my minds could talk myself into pretty much anything. The other has a low tolerance for locker-room poison (e.g. Cammalleri, Blake, Avery). For the sake of argument, though, I'm going to pretend to agree with Matthew's assertion that Heatley couldn't possibly pull the same stunt twice (asking for a trade, etc.), because then he would really be toast and would have nowhere to turn but the KHL. I would like to believe that. I would have to believe it once he was here. But I don't believe it really.
Nevertheless, let's pretend.
So...what would the Kings have to give up?
I don't agree that it would be young prospects. First of all, the Kings would need to clear some salary, otherwise Heatley puts them a couple of million over the cap. So someone with a real contract would be going the other way. Who are the candidates? Kopitar? No. Smyth? No. Williams? Have to say no, because that would be weird. Frolov? Call that a maybe (especially given the LW logjam Heatley's arrival would create -- see below, unless I forget to come back to it). Handzus? Well, it's possible. Brown? People would riot, so...no. Stoll? Maybe. Greene? No. Scuderi? No. That's it.
So you've got yourself Frolov, Handzus and Stoll as options.
Getting rid of one of Stoll or Handzus would weaken us in the faceoff circle, but would eliminate the annoying $4MM fourth line center problem. So that's got to be an attractive option, even if it would (in the case of Handzus) put a significant dent in Terry Murray's team defense.
Trading Frolov for Heatley is in my opinion a non-starter. Because I think Frolov will score 35-40 goals this year, and Heatley will score a couple more, maybe 40-50 goals. But that's for a cap hit of $4MM over Frolov's cap hit, and at the expense of team defense, since Heatley doesn't do that. So that seems like a trade that would create more problems than it would solve, just to get 10 extra goals.
Now, what about Stoll or Handzus? Okay, let's just say it's one of them. Could I live with that? Maybe. We'll have to look at what the lines would likely be (more on that later). First, though, we have to finish looking at who else would be part of the package.
The Edmonton deal nixed by Heatley had Edmonton sending Cogliano, Penner and Smid. I immediately notice that this is only about $1MM in cap relief for Ottawa. Let's tailor a deal that mimics the Edmonton deal. Stoll/Handzus/Frolov is the Penner. Who is the Cogliano? Cogliano is a young center with two seasons under his belt, 18 goals each season, former 1st round pick, on an entry level contract. Who is the Kings' version of this?
Moller, Simmonds or Purcell. Maybe Lewis. [Cogliano is a step up from Lewis or Purcell at this point in their careers, so maybe a prospect gets tossed in.] For me, personally, trading either of Moller or Simmonds would be unforgivable. I think (hope) that Lombardi feels the same way, since they are two of his success stories thus far in his Kings tenure. Purcell or Lewis? I like them both, but under the right conditions, I might be willing to let them go. In any case, we can call it one of Handzus/Stoll, one of Purcell/Lewis, and ...
...who's the Smid of this deal?
The obvious comparable is Jack Johnson. And that can't happen, can it? It could, but I don't want it to. In that case, the deal would probably be something like Handzus, Purcell, Johnson. If not Johnson, the other options are a couple of prospects, like, say, Voynov and Zatkoff or Jones.
(Ottawa is going to want more than Handzus, Purcell and Johnson -- e.g. Frolov, Moller, Johnson and a pick -- but I'm trying to come up with something I can live with, as a Kings fan who over-values his prospects and doesn't like n'er-do-wells.)
I mean, Lombardi isn't going to be able to foist Richardson and Ivanans on them, is he? That would be like getting Smyth for Quincey and Preissing. What? Oh.
Okay, let's see what the line-up looks like if we give up Handzus, Purcell and Johnson.
The thing that leaps out at me about this is that (1) we are over-loaded on the left side, (2) we now have one experienced D on the power-play (Doughty), (3) our fourth line is going to suck, and (4) we will have no shut-down line.
Let's try it with Stoll instead of Handzus.
Better, because now Frolov is in a defensive role, on a shut-down line, and it's a line that worked last season. But still the fourth line is garbage, and we've got a problem on the power play at the point.
And about that crowding on the left side? There's no chance Frolov is going to stick around willingly to be third on the depth chart behind Smyth and Heatley. So he would be gone next summer...except not because Lombardi would deal him before he could walk, so he would be traded this season, so we're back to trading Frolov's 40 goals for Heatley's 50 (whatever numbers you actually think they're capable of, I think it's not really debatable that Heatley is good for about 10 more goals than Fro, at best).
Now, Lombardi could easily sign a couple of crusty old dudes to skate on the fourth line, instead of Zeiler, Ivanans and Harrold. And he could do the same on D, signing -- say -- Mathieu Schneider for peanuts and using him on the power play. That would be kind of cool, I grant you. So that kinda sorta works. Especially for the one season where Frolov is still here and Smyth isn't too old yet. That line-up would look sorta like:
Lewis/[Chris Gratton]/[Rob Neidermeyer]
(I picked two available names, but you get the idea)
That's workable. But the whole point of adding Heatley falls apart when Frolov leaves, unless someone steps up to take Frolov's place. Loktionov? Okay, maybe. And he's on the 2nd unit with Moller (not this season, but 2010-2011), and Smyth drops to the Handzus line. Or something. It's problematic, but I can see it. I don't really like it, but I can see it. Question is, are any of these iterations better than this:
I don't know. I don't think so.