Kings' Dean Lombardi blasts Edmonton Oilers over Ryan Smyth trade
Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi, contending the Edmonton Oilers have twice traded him players who are not able to play, said Friday he will “look at our legal avenues” to get a remedy.
“The bottom line for me, I would have rather invested my money with Bernie Madoff than invest in Edmonton’s word,” Lombardi said.
Lombardi initially agreed to take forward Gilbert Brule in exchange for left wing Ryan Smyth but balked when he said the Kings’ lawyers determined Brule had not been procedurally cleared following a concussion. Unwilling to void the trade because Smyth had asked to leave Los Angeles -- and because Smyth’s departure would take a huge burden off the Kings’ salary cap -- Lombardi agreed to instead take center Colin Fraser and a seventh-round pick in the 2012 draft.
Lombardi said he knew Fraser had suffered a fractured foot last season but was told Fraser was days away from being cleared.
However, Lombardi said the Kings’ doctors found not only an unhealed fracture but an alarming cyst in Fraser’s foot and a blood disorder. Lombardi said Fraser will require surgery that would keep him out four months. Lombardi also said Tim Leiweke, the chief executive of the Kings’ parent company, AEG, tried to broker a settlement but the Oilers have not responded to the Kings’ requests for further discussions.
“Tim has made several overtures to try and settle this in a fair manner to put the deal back where it’s supposed to and we’ve gotten no response,” Lombardi said. “So the heck with it, we’ll look at our legal avenues right now.
“This kid needs surgery now, which is going to put him out four months. It’s not even close. To be told he’s going to be cleared that Wednesday and now we get him and he’s clearly not cleared and to clear him he’s going to need surgery … and that’s the one [injury] they told me about, let alone the other two. On the heels of Brule? Holy smoke.”
He added, “In my 20 years I’ve never had this happen once, let alone twice in one week. And people used to think maybe I was crazy but when I was scouting for Philly, Edmonton was my favorite city because of the history of the building and the crowds seemed like honest, working-class people. You still had a blue-collar feel at times. And I don’t think this conduct is emblematic of that city at all.”
Lombardi said one possible solution would be for the Oilers to take Fraser back until he’s fit to play. The Kings can't waive or trade Fraser if he's injured and unable to play.
An Oilers spokesman said General Manager Steve Tambellini was traveling and unavailable for comment.
Never a dull moment with the Kings …
Oh, and when asked if there had been any progress in his negotiations with restricted free agent defenseman Drew Doughty, Lombardi repeated what he told The Times earlier this week, that an agreement is not expected for a while.
Photo: Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi. Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images