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Kings Keep Dealing, Get Stumpel

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

Less than an hour after being introduced as the Kings’ newest acquisition at a Forum press conference Friday, left wing Luc Robitaille was sharing the spotlight.

That’s because General Manager Dave Taylor had already made another deal, trading goaltender Byron Dafoe and forward Dimitri Khristich to the Boston Bruins for center Jozef Stumpel, right wing Sandy Moger and a 1998 fourth-round draft choice.

“This is a trade that gives us added size up front and a play-making center,” said Taylor, who had traded left wing Kevin Stevens to the New York Rangers for Robitaille on Thursday.

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Stumpel, 25, led the Bruins in scoring last season with 21 goals and 55 assists. In five seasons, he had 54 goals and 176 points. The Kings plan to use Stumpel, who is 6 feet 3 and 210 pounds, as a first-line center.

“There is definitely a different feel with the team and it all starts at the top . . . just look at the moves that they have already made,” said Robitaille, who played with the Kings from 1986 to 1994.

“I really like Stumpel. I got a chance to face him more playing in New York and we knew that he was a great player with great hands.”

Moger, 28, is also a big forward at 6-3, 208. He scored 10 goals in 34 games last season.

But in gaining more size up front, the Kings had to give up one of the team’s most popular players, Dafoe, who was 13-17-5 with a 3.11 goals-against average last season, and Khristich, who had a team-high 56 points last season.

The key to the trade was that goalie Jamie Storr, the team’s top draft pick in 1994, now has a regular roster spot behind starter Stephane Fiset. For the last two seasons, Storr has been regarded as the team’s top minor league prospect.

“This opens up an opportunity for Storr to play,” said Taylor, who also confirmed that the Kings will continue to pursue a deal for Vancouver forward Pavel Bure. “Our goaltending coach, Don Edwards, feels that Storr is ready to play in the NHL.”

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King Notes

Jozef Stumpel is a restricted free agent, but the Kings expect to sign him before training camp begins Sept. 9. . . . The Kings also exercised the option in veteran center Ray Ferraro’s contract, meaning that he is signed for the next two seasons.

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