The Kings hadn’t acquired a thirtysomething player in more than a month, so they rectified that by sending center John McIntyre, 23, to the New York Rangers on Monday for defenseman Mark Hardy, 34.
Additionally, the Kings received the rights to Ottawa’s fifth-round pick in the entry draft in June. New York had acquired the Senators’ draft choice in an earlier deal.
“It feels unbelievable,” said Hardy, who had asked Ranger General Manager Neil Smith on Feb. 24 to be traded. “I can’t believe it happened. It’s like a dream. There was one place I wanted to go: Los Angeles.”
By picking up Hardy, the Kings have nine players age 32 and over. Hardy, a former King who was traded to the Rangers in the Ron Duguay deal in 1988, had played in 44 games with the Rangers this season, scoring 11 points and recording 85 penalty minutes. He hasn’t appeared in a game since Feb. 27, having been phased out since Coach Ron Smith took over on Jan. 4.
Hardy will join the Kings in Edmonton for their game Friday. McIntyre had played sparingly, with seven points in 49 games. He dressed for last week’s game in Buffalo but didn’t play. The last game he played in was Feb. 27.
McIntyre hasn’t fit into King Coach Barry Melrose’s system, although he did prosper during the Tom Webster regime. McIntyre had been acquired from the Maple Leafs in November, 1990, for Mike Krushelnyski in an attempt to make the Kings younger. Melrose had made frequent remarks about McIntyre’s weight, saying he needed more muscle and weight. “John has to decide whether he wants to play in the NHL,” Melrose said Friday.
But McIntyre, who is 6 feet 1, said Monday that he weighs 192. “I try not to figure out what management is doing out here,” he said. “I thought when Barry came here I would be his type of player. That didn’t work out. It looked like they were going with youth, and they make this trade.”
McIntyre was home when he received the news, saying that King General Manager Nick Beverley had given them all memos Saturday telling the players they should stay home until 12:30 p.m., a half an hour after the trading deadline.
“I don’t want to disparage John’s game,” Beverley said. “From my point of view, his game was stagnant. I don’t think there had been an improvement. But I don’t think he had gone downhill.”
” . . . I think he (Hardy) is very sound defensively. He very seldom gets beat one on one. He’s a robust physical player who doesn’t take a back seat to anyone. . . . It’s an experience factor.”
There is a substantial difference between salaries. McIntyre was making $250,000, and Hardy has reached $475,000, which included a $25,000 bonus for playing 40 games. He will earn another $25,000 if he reaches the 60-game mark. Next season, his option year, he will make $450,000.
The Kings also loaned defenseman Rene Chapdelaine to the San Diego Gulls of the International Hockey League for the rest of the season and the playoffs, completing the Rick Knickle deal. . . . The Vancouver Canucks acquired high-scoring left wing Murray Craven from the Hartford Whalers for left wing Robert Kron. Craven and Kron were among 15 players to change teams in nine deals made before the league’s trading deadline.
The 32 Club Kings who are age 32 and over.
PLAYER POSITION AGE Dave Taylor Right Wing 37 Mark Hardy Defenseman 34 Pat Conacher Center/Left Wing 33 Charlie Huddy Defenseman 33 Tim Watters Defenseman 33 Rick Knickle Goaltender 33 Kelly Hrudey Goaltender 32 Wayne Gretzky Center 32 Jari Kurri Center/Right Wing 32