Are the Kings' moves a prelude to a deal -- or just bookkeeping?
The Kings waived defenseman Tom Preissing on Monday and recalled forward Oscar Moller from Manchester of the American Hockey League, where he had been sent on a rehabilitation assignment after recovering from a fractured collarbone.
Nothing major there. Preissing had been put on injured reserve because of vertigo and was activated on Sunday. But before he went on IR he had been a frequent healthy scratch because Coach Terry Murray didn't think he competed hard enough.
Murray said before the team left on its current trip that Moller would have to play among the top six forwards to merit a return and a lot of playing time. It's not clear where Moller will play, but he has the skill to be a top-six forward if he continues to progress.
The Kings remained at the center of a number of trade rumors but they haven't made a move. General Manager Dean Lombardi can afford to be patient and wait for the best deal before Wednesday's noon Pacific time deadline.
With the Kings out of the playoff scramble all but mathematically, it makes no sense for them to acquire someone who would be a rent-a-player for a playoff drive that isn't going to succeed. (That means you, Marian Gaborik. And I don't think Lombardi likes Gaborik, anyway).
They have gotten inquiries from contenders about Sean O'Donnell, but they're reluctant to part with him because he is a good mentor for Drew Doughty and a good influence in the locker room. The trade rumors that have Alexander Frolov heading east (Ottawa, the New York Rangers or Pittsburgh) don't seem realistic. Lombardi has lots of cap space but he's not going to waste it and take burdensome long-term contracts.
We'll have more at latimes.com/sports as things develop.
-- Helene Elliott
Photo: The Kings' Oscar Moller skates around the St. Louis Blues' Carlo Colaiacovo on Dec. 11, 2008 at Staples Center. Credit: Alex Gallardo/Los Angeles Times.