Former King Teddy Purcell finds success with Tampa Bay
Add Teddy Purcell's name to the list of players who seem to thrive after the Kings trade them away.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound winger was a prolific scorer in the U.S. Hockey League, in the one season he played at the University of Maine and in the Kings' minor-league system, peaking at 25 goals and 83 points for Manchester of the American Hockey League in the 2007-08 season.
But he never seemed to fit in with the Kings, scoring four goals in 40 games in 2008-09 and three goals in 41 games in the 2009-10 season. He played with top-line center Anze Kopitar and he played on the fourth line and he sat. A lot. General Manager Dean Lombardi traded him to Tampa Bay in March 2010 with a third-round pick in the 2010 entry draft for veteran center Jeff Halpern.
Halpern made little impression with the Kings and walked away as a free agent. Purcell scored three goals in 19 games for Tampa after being traded and 17 goals and 51 points in the just-completed regular season. He was credited with the game-winning goal in the Lightning's 5-2 victory over the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, which are scheduled to resume Tuesday at Boston.
Like Brian Boyle, Matt Moulson and Michael Cammalleri before him, Purcell has found more success in his post-Kings career than he did here. Is it the Kings' system that held them back? Flaws that they had in common, or different flaws that prevented them from succeeding here?
I asked to talk to Purcell on Monday to get his thoughts but was told by a member of the Lightning's media relations staff that he was too busy after practice and wouldn't be available to chat. However, Coach Guy Boucher was asked about Purcell and defenseman Mike Lundin during Monday's off-day news conference, specifically about how the two progressed from being role players to regulars after Boucher took over as coach this season.
"I think a guy like Teddy Purcell, extremely skilled, very smart, but needed to learn the intensity level of this league and needed to see that he could be doing what he used to be doing in the ranks in the American League and college before. And I think he's realized that now," Boucher said in a transcript provided by the NHL.
"So there's a question of fractions of seconds they need to learn to precipitate their play a little bit at the beginning. But after a while, their legs are moving and their minds are calm. And I think that's where both these guys are right now."
-- Helene Elliott
Photo: Teddy Purcell. Credit: Mike Stobe / Getty Images