To add the scoring threat he felt the
All of which is fine. When not injured, Gaborik is a pure scorer who brings speed and commands attention from opponents. Vey will be back as soon as the math of daily cap hits allows. And Frattin had absolutely no impact with the Kings, who acquired him, goaltender
But will Gaborik be able to play to his potential in the Kings' defense-first system, which demands diligence at both ends of the ice and tends to turn 30-goal scorers into 15-goal scorers?
Lombardi, speaking to reporters on a conference call Wednesday, said Gaborik will have to adjust his game and cited
"It's buying into the way this team performs. Not changing your game but knowing you have to do those little things and then go do what that God-given gift you have that very few people have," Lombardi said. "But you've got to take the first step first. And those little things I'm talking about are essentially just being a teammate. Everybody's got to pay the price and that's why this team has had success.
"The high-end guys, like Kopitar, Carter, Doughty, all these guys never have lost sight of the fact there's a price to be paid. Now go do your thing. And that's what we're expecting from him, meshing in that team, and then bring to this team what it does not have in its arsenal: an explosive player that can make something out of nothing."
He said Rob Blake, the Kings’ assistant general manager, and defenseman
Lombardi said he had gotten permission from Gaborik's agent, Los Angeles-based Ron Salcer, to gauge Gaborik's interest in re-signing with the Kings if they acquired him. The response was positive from the perspective of Lombardi, who had considered acquiring him a few years ago but thought the Kings weren't at a stage where Gaborik could be a difference-maker.
"So I like this, that he's coming here with the purpose of staying here, versus some of the things you saw out there with some of the other free agents, where the player says, 'I'm going to July 1,'" Lombardi said, referring to the date free agency begins. "I have a hard time thinking somebody's going to go get his head smashed in, in St. Louis or San Jose, when he's already talking about going July 1."
Two other quick points: Lombardi was high on the potential of 6-foot-4 defenseman Brayden McNabb, whom he acquired from Buffalo with Solana Beach native Jonathan Parker and the two second-round draft picks the Kings had given Buffalo for defenseman Robyn Regehr. Lombardi said giving up forward prospect Hudson Fasching was "very, very hard," but included him in the trade -- with defenseman-turned-forward Nicolas Deslauriers -- to get a promising defenseman.
"He's still green. His skating needs to improve. He's got to work some on his fundamentals and his reads but he has a lot of the attributes that we value and has a chance to be a top-four guy," Lombardi said. "And with that, he's got some snarl."
Also, Lombardi said negotiations to re-sign defensemen
"We found out, to our chagrin and surprise the other day, we had been told the cap was going to be $71 [million] and now with the Canadian dollar having tanked, that the cap could be as low as $68 [million]. That's a huge swing," he said. "So that's more of the talks with our three guys, Mitchell, Lewis and Greene, who we'd all would like to bring back. That's more of a hindrance than anything we acquired today. And that was something that we did not expect to hear. ...
"All three of these guys, we want them back and hopefully they want to stay here and be part of it but that's not always the case."
Gaborik was expected to meet the Kings in Winnipeg for their game Thursday against the