Yesterday, Ron Hextall left for the Kings’ East Coast Affiliate. Today, Dean Lombardi traded a conditional 5th round pick for ex-Flyer Daniel Carcillo, maintaining the Philly West population at seven (Carcillo, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Justin Williams, Colin Fraser, John Stevens, and Lombardi). I’ll leave it to someone else to point out that Lombardi seems to like to acquire injured players (Williams, Michal Handzus, Fraser — I feel like I’m forgetting someone…). My primary concern is that (with the — now official — departure of Dustin Penner) Carcillo, with his 2 goals last season, is now at the very top of the Kings’ depth chart at left-wing. Yes, I know that Dustin Brown is now comfortable playing the off-wing, as is (supposedly) Matt Frattin, but it’s still odd that the natural left-wingers on the team are Carcillo, Dwight King, and the unsigned Kyle Clifford.
The other thing is, the Carcillo move gives the Kings 25 NHL players, 14 forwards, 9 defensemen and 2 goalies. Two bodies are going to disappear by opening night (and in case you’re wondering, Tyler Toffoli is the only current Kings player with waiver exemption left). If the top six forwards are Kopitar, Brown, Williams, Carter, Richards, and Toffoli — that leaves Stoll, Frattin, Lewis (unsigned RFA), Carcillo, King, Clifford (unsigned RFA), Fraser and Nolan.
Is trading for Carcillo supposed to be a shot across the bows of Lewis and Clifford? If so, it’s pretty weak sauce. I would much rather have either Clifford or Lewis than Carcillo. And, anyway, aren’t Clifford and Lewis “Lombardi guys,” Kings’ tattoo guys? Maybe Lombardi is stockpiling Plan Bs for several interlocking what-if scenarios. What if Willie Mitchell isn’t good to go (in which case: Jeff Schultz, Keaton Ellerby)? What if Lewis gets all the way to arbitration and Lombardi can’t afford what he’s awarded.
Duh. I should have thought of that earlier. That’s probably it. What if Lewis’s arbitration award prices him off the team? It’s not a threat. It’s insurance.
So, off the top of my head, that’s Penner, Richardson, Scuderi and Bernier out, and Frattin, Carcillo, Schultz and Scrivens in. Is that good? It doesn’t sound good.
I was just updating the Reserve List page, and noticed that the summary counted eight Kings UFAs for 2014. I assumed I had made a mistake somewhere. But, no. Brown, Mitchell, Fraser, Scrivens, Ellerby, Greene, Schultz and Carcillo. Four of those names are new since January.
I’m guessing Lombardi wants as much flexibility as possible in signing Dustin Brown to his presumed eight year-ish 56-million-dollar-ish deal.