Westgarth for Stewart, and I say Lombardi’s not done yet

Kevin Westgarth, loved and appreciated by pretty much everyone, lost his roster spot at some point in the spring of 2012, so it’s not a surprise that Dean Lombardi moved him when he got the chance. I have to say though, I am once again surprised by the excellent return (former 25th overall pick RW Anthony Stewart and two later round picks) Lombardi got for a player I assumed was going to be lost to waivers pretty soon.

What’s interesting about this move, though, is that doesn’t address an immediate need (which would be defense, to replace Willie Mitchell’s minutes until he’s healed, whenever that is). And it doesn’t so much relieve our log-jam of big bodied forwards in the bottom-six as it upgrades the logjam. Add Stewart to the mix that includes Kyle Clifford, Dwight King and Jordan Nolan (the big bodies), and Jarret Stoll, Trevor Lewis, Colin Fraser and Brad Richardson (the skilled and/or small), and you have eight guys who ought to be able to expect decent NHL minutes. Nolan still has waiver-exemption left. None of the others do. Oh, and when Kopitar comes back (soon?), Simon Gagne will likely be dropping into the bottom-six. So that’s nine guys, at least one of whom will be dropped off the active roster when Kopitar returns, and two of which will spend a lot of time in the press box. Brad Richardson is an obvious go-to scratch, not so much because he’s worse than anyone (which we can debate) but because he’s shown the ability (like Davis Drewiske) to be able to step in on a moment’s notice and play well. But I really don’t think we’re going to see Kyle Clifford or Trevor Lewis or Dwight King spending a lot of time as a healthy scratch. That would just be a waste.

That, and the fact that Willie Mitchell’s minutes have to be replaced — at least for a few weeks and maybe longer — tells me that the Stewart move is the precursor to another trade. Will Stewart be flipped to another team? Or will one of King, Nolan or Clifford be moved?

Something’s about to happen. And I will be surprised if it doesn’t involve a defenseman who’s older than 28 and who can play top-four minutes.

Who is Lombardi targeting?

 
  • Guest

    At Toyota Center today, line combos are

    Penner/Carter/Williams

    Gagne/Richards/Brown

    King/Stoll/Lewis

    Clifford/Fraser/Nolan

    Toffoli/Richardson

    Not sure about D pairings.

    • http://www.mcsorleys-stick.com/ Quisp

      Scuderi-Doughty, Martinez-Voynov, Drewiske-Greene, Muzzin-Bodnarchuk

      • Kingnation13

        On paper, the absence of Willie, leaves a huge hole. I’m feeling rather uneasy at this moment.

        Also, I saw a picture of Doughty looking rather… How does he look on the ice, Quisp?
        Give us a report on first impressions of Toffoli.

  • https://www.icloud.com/ DougS

    I am astounded at the return for Westgarth. Astounded. Even the two draft picks impresses me, much less an ex-1st rounder.

  • Floyd

    The rumored targeted d-man is Jordan Leopold

  • Kdruff2

    Probably not the point of this article but it’s been a long long long long time since I can recall a Kings’ roster devoid of a heavy weight. I know the NHL is evolving and less and less teams feel the need to carry someone like that but just saying.

    In fact, from my very far from perfect memory as a Kings’ fan, I seem to recall a very small gap in not having a heavy weight in the lineup between the period when McSorley was traded (post Greztky era) and before…Matt Johnson came into being???…a few months at most.

    • http://www.mcsorleys-stick.com/ Quisp

      The biggest problem with the heavy-weight enforcer plan is that he can only fight other heavy-weights. Think of all the times someone would run (Doughty, Kopitar, etc.) and the next shift Westy would take to the ice and ask several people to dance, always being turned down. Meanwhile, Nolan, Clifford, King, and other slightly smaller and much more skilled players can get the job done and chip in some offense at the same time. Or at least not be a liability.

      • Kdruff2

        Yeah, someday soon, maybe in the Stanley Cup this year, we’re going to have to face down the Bruins. They’re mean and nasty (like us, the Kings I mean…but not as mean because they’re our players). One day, the Kings will have to face down Lucic, Horton, CHARA!!! and the rest of the goonie googles that dawn the Bruins’ jersey that take regular shifts (because as you pointed out, they have the skill set to throw those guys out as part of a regular rotation).

        I just want to make sure if anything happens to Kopi or Quick, we’ve got enough fire power and team strength to deter or avenge whatever comes up….Umm, how about Clifford or Gagne and D. Drewiske (and throw in a pick 3rd rnd or later) for R. Clowe ;-)…just dreaming. We would be the most nasty/tough and skilled team w/ great goal tending in the league.