Sutter, who has guided the Kings to two Stanley Cup championships in three seasons, is always just as concerned about subtraction affecting his group. The Kings acquired defenseman Andrej Sekera from Carolina five days before Monday's trade deadline but did not give up a current roster player, sending a conditional pick and a prospect to the Hurricanes.
"That's way more important," Sutter said, "the importance of a team being close, especially if there is a nucleus of guys that have had success together.
"The reason they've had success is that they've had to really dig in on some bad times. That's always your biggest area of concern that there's going to be somebody taken out that's a really important part. That's way more important than who is coming in."
You might say a revolving door symbolizes the NHL's trade-deadline period.
Among the busiest organizations were the Kings' rivals, the Ducks, and the Montreal Canadiens, who play the Kings at Staples Center on Thursday night. Anaheim pulled off a quick blue line makeover, acquiring James Wisniewski from Columbus, Simon Despres from Pittsburgh and Korbinian Holzer from Toronto.
Montreal acquired Brian Flynn and Torrey Mitchell from Buffalo and Jeff Petry from Edmonton. The Ducks and the Canadiens played each other Wednesday night at Honda Center. The teams did business together last week with Anaheim sending forward Devante Smith-Pelly to Montreal for forward Jiri Sekac.
Montreal and Anaheim will be kept busy incorporating their newest arrivals.
"It's everybody getting to know everybody," Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It's not perfect yet, but we're on the right track. … The meshing [of personalities] is really important.
"The terminology … every team has its own thesaurus, we bring out different words, but in the end we all know what the meanings are."
Sekac noted the coaches are giving him "little pieces" of information, trying not to overload him with too much, too soon. He has two assists and is a plus-four in four games with Anaheim, and is coming from a team with a different approach.
"It was harder to play in Montreal, as a defensive forward, taking all the defensive faceoffs," he said. "It sucks a lot of energy from you, and then when you want to put that energy into your offense, you just don't have it. That team is very defensive."
Oilers defenseman Andrew Ference played for three NHL teams before arriving in Edmonton, signing as a free agent in the summer. He played in one Stanley Cup Final with the Calgary Flames — for Sutter in 2004 — and won the Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins in 2011.
Ference said the ideal situation is joining a team mostly free of cliques.
"It's not like everybody's the same, there are introverts and extroverts," he said. "That's a big part of it. Also the atmosphere you are going into, teams all have their own identities and they're usually formed by the older guys on the team, the guys who have been around for a while.
"Obviously, the ideal one is a team that is very inclusive, that really welcomes input on and off on the ice, from young and old alike. The most successful atmosphere I've played under … is when you're not the outsider, you are brought into the fold right away."
The Kings traded for center Jeff Carter three years ago shortly before the trade deadline, again with Columbus. With his club immersed in a tight playoff race, Sutter was glad they were able to get Sekera when they did.
"I'm not so sure how many actual trade deadline day trades help or affect the team," Sutter said. "I think you need players longer than that. I believe that."
KINGS VS. MONTREAL
When: 7:30. PST
On the air: TV: Fox Sports West; Radio: 790.
Etc.: Big minutes are nothing new for Kings center Anze Kopitar, who had 19 minutes 27 seconds of ice time Tuesday night in Edmonton. He has logged 19 or more minutes of ice time in five of the last six games. Kopitar had five shots on goal and a three-point night in the Kings' 5-2 win over the Oilers. He has had four three-point games this season.
Follow Lisa Dillman on Twitter @reallisa
Times staff writer Lance Pugmire contributed to this report.