There was a sense of anticipation around the Los Angeles Kings since free agency opened on the morning of July 1st. The Kings put their best foot forward, and finally their efforts have paid off.
It's official. The Los Angeles Kings and General Manager Dean Lombardi have signed Simon Gagne to a two-year contract worth seven million dollars. Despite reports of Gagne signing in Montreal and even Tampa Bay, the Los Angeles Kings came out on top.
The news wasn't all good, though, as Dean Lombardi and many other members of the Los Angeles Kings brass made a trip to Newport Sports Management to make a strong pitch to Brad Richards and his agent. It included speeches from management and the coaching staff.
Clearly, Brad felt that he could be a better fit in New York, and the situation just wasn't meant to be.
Tim Leiweke, President of Anschutz Entertainment Group, the parent company of the Los Angeles Kings, stated, “This is the best effort I’ve ever seen in chasing a player for the Kings. That’s for sure."
It's interesting to hear that when you consider the reported effort the Kings put into courting Ilya Kovalchuk, now with the New Jersey Devils, a year ago.
While the Kings many have lost out on Brad Richards, Simon Gagne will be a welcome addition on the wing beside either Mike Richards or Anze Kopitar. The Kings look as though they will be a serious contender next year, with Dean Lombardi finally showing fans that he can make big moves.
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