Report Card for Los Angeles Kings' 2014 Trade Deadline Decisions
The Los Angeles Kings went into the 2014 trade deadline with a few important needs—a talented, high-scoring forward being one of them.
Two years ago, general manager Dean Lombardi made a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets to acquire Jeff Carter. The rest is history, as the Kings went on to win the Stanley Cup for the first time.
When the Kings look to build on their five-game win streak Thursday in Winnipeg, they will have a new star on the roster and hopefully in the lineup.
Here is a report card for the Kings' 2014 trade deadline decisions.
Stats and trade information courtesy of NHL.com.
Columbus Blue Jackets Trade
Kings acquire Marian Gaborik.
Blue Jackets acquire Matt Frattin, Toronto's second-round pick (2014 or 2015) and a conditional pick.
Consider your team's needs met, L.A. fans. Gaborik is a three-time 40-goal scorer who, at age 32, still has plenty to offer. He has struggled over the past couple of years with injuries, but in good health and on a contending team with a strong system, he will have an opportunity to thrive.
As a part of the trade, Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times reports that Columbus will keep about 50 percent of Gaborik's salary.
Yes, Gaborik is prone to injury, but it's well worth the risk considering the Kings only gave up a single player, Matt Frattin. Frattin is a hard-working winger, but never met expectations after coming from Toronto in the Jonathan Bernier deal. Frattin had just six points in 40 games with L.A. this season.
Meanwhile, Gaborik could potentially be a difference-maker come playoff time, just like Jeff Carter was in 2012. Look for Darryl Sutter to try a few different line combinations, but ultimately Gaborik should spend significant time on a line with Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter or both.
Buffalo Sabres Trade
Kings receive Brayden McNabb, Jonathan Parker and two second-round picks (the Kings' picks in 2014 and 2015 that Buffalo acquired in the Robyn Regehr trade).
Sabres receive Hudson Fasching and Nicolas Deslauriers.
Fasching, 18, and Deslauriers, 23, have yet to play an NHL game. They both have potential, but the Kings benefit more from having McNabb, who adds insurance to an already solid defensive core. At age 23, he has played 37 games with the Sabres and brings great size at 6'4", 208 pounds.
According to Jon Rosen of LAKingsInsider.com, head coach Darryl Sutter had this to say about McNabb.
Obviously, yeah. I’ve seen him play four or five years. He was the captain on Kootenay. But, again, that’s like talking about Gaborik, too. When you haven’t seen guys play live, then you have to evaluate ‘em when you get ‘em.
On top of that, the Kings got their two second-round picks back from the Regehr deal. So, without sacrificing anything that could have a negative impact on this year's playoff run, Lombardi addressed both short- and long-term needs.
Dean Lombardi deserves a lot of credit for how he's managed the Kings. Aside from these two trades at the deadline, he made a few other deals this year—most notably trading Ben Scrivens to the Edmonton Oilers for a third-round pick.
Lombardi has developed a reputation for making big deals at key times without sacrificing the future. These other trades that may seem small now could turn out to be a major factor in a few years, based on how the prospect develops or who the draft picks are used on.
As for Marian Gaborik, his impact should be felt within the next week or so. And in the playoffs, when the Kings inevitably find themselves in a 1-1 or 2-2 game, it's players like Gaborik and Jeff Carter who will likely make the difference.
As for Gaborik missing time this season due to a broken collarbone, Darryl Sutter isn't worried. According to Jon Rosen, Sutter said, "He should be fresh then, right?"