Kings' acquisition of Dustin Penner is biggest splash on NHL trade deadline day
Who would have thought that the Kings would make the most prominent trade on the NHL's trading deadline day?
But there it is: Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi acquired left wing Dustin Penner -- a member of the Ducks' 2007 Stanley Cup championship team -- from Edmonton for minor-league defenseman Colten Teubert, a first-round pick in this year's entry draft and a third-round pick in 2012 that would become a second-round pick if the Kings win the Stanley Cup this year.
"It was time to get better," Lombardi said.
Penner is not expected to be in the Kings' lineup for their game Monday night against Detroit because of immigration issues.
Here are some of Lombardi's thoughts, and yes, this first part was in response to ONE question:
"We were obviously looking for a top forward. I think generally we had a list last month of four or five that were realistic. There's a whittling-down effect, and it's not only what you need but what you're willing to pay contractually. The last couple days we set our sights on him, and it finally gets done. [Sunday] night, I wasn't sure anything was going to get done. It always goes down to the end.
"I think what makes him attractive is that he can do a lot of things but he clearly can play the left wing. I like the fact that he's been to the Stanley Cup finals and knows what it takes to win. All the reports we get on him, including [the former Edmonton players] that are here, Matt Greene and Jarret Stoll, were high on the type of person he is and also said that he would fit in with this group.
"Coming here and just fitting in and doing what he's capable of, we’re hoping he can get recharged. I think he had a lot of pressure on him there going to Edmonton, and this is the type of thing where he’s been to Southern California before. This has a chance to be a real good fit for us.
"The thing I like about it is we’ve become a team that's known as hard to play against. And I think you add a guy this size [6-foot-4, 245 pounds], with his ability, I think he adds to that.”
Asked about his habitual reluctance to give up draft picks, Lombardi said the time and the circumstances made it right to trade a first-round pick. It also helps that this year's draft is considered thin and that the Kings' pick will be late.
"In terms of where the franchise is at, in the first four years it made no sense to trade draft picks. I’ve always said there will be a time and place to trade picks and prospects but it has to be the right time and the right player. Last year was the first time we were a buyer, but we were a buyer on the perimeter. But this time, what dictates ... the No. 1 determinant in terms of when the general manager gets aggressive is what the players downstairs are showing him.
"This team has had some mental slides, but the way this team fought out of the last one [a 2-10 slump] showed me that, in essence, it's time to make us a better team and not take anybody out of that [locker] room. That's where a lot of my other deals were breaking down. I was not interested in taking anybody out of my room and creating a hole to fill a hole. It makes no sense.
"It was time to get better. The building process is trades, free agency and drafts, but it depends on what stage your franchise is at. And the way they battled back and got in this, OK, now's the time to get you some help and not take anybody out of the room. ...The way they battled back said, 'You know, it's time for the GM to go out and get them some help.'"
Lombardi said he wasn't interested in "putting certain players out there," meaning prized prospect Brayden Schenn. Teubert had fallen on the Kings' defense depth chart, though Lombardi said Teubert had played well during Lombardi's last scouting trip to see the Kings' farm team in Manchester, N.H.
"Colten's come a long way. He was really good when I went down to Manchester, but one of the things that allows me to consider this is he's very much a Matt Greene-type player. So I could afford to look at a good prospect like this because I have Matt Greene in the fold for a long time."
Adding Penner doesn't help the Kings' need for speed up front, and Lombardi said "the speed issue" was considered. "In a perfect world, maybe you'd like to have a speed demon that plays in traffic. As a practicality, that wasn't really there. If I wanted to focus on that, then nothing gets done today," he said. "I think the most important thing is speed through the puck. I think Detroit is the best example of that. Sure [Pavel] Datsyuk and [Henrik] Zetterberg can skate, but Detroit looks fast because it's speed through the puck.
"You can't outskate the puck, and I look more at the way they keep possession and move it as more critical than just being able to skate fast. I don't mind adding a guy this size with a clear identity. ... This guy with [Anze Kopitar], the size of these two? And you’ve got to think that's hard to play against."
Before announcing the trade, the Kings announced a four-year, $14.6-million contract extension for right wing Justin Williams.
"That's huge," Lombardi said. "That's an important thing for us. He's one of our more skilled players. We didn't want to lose that level of skill and a guy who's won a Stanley Cup and is not old . There was too much of a potential where we could have put ourselves in a hole July 1 to have to run out and replace him -- we're going backwards. To be able to lock him in and add Dustin Penner, we're not going backwards. We're still positioned in the summer if we want to add a top player, and we still have the guy everybody wanted in [Schenn] in the system. That's a big load off my mind."
Lombardi also said the left shoulder injury suffered last weekend by prospect Andrei Loktionov "is a setback for us. That hurt our depth." He said he's not sure if Loktionov will require surgery but that he should recover for next season.
-- Helene Elliott