February 27, 2011
The problem with being GM Dean Lombardi is that the world knows there's pressure to make The Move; you know, the one that's going to take the Los Angeles Kings from middling contender in the Western Conference with offensive deficiencies to within reach of the Stanley Cup after a deadline blockbuster.
Lombardi's been patient in the past -- some would say to a fault -- but this deadline feels different. Maybe it was the Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) chase last summer that signaled a change in his desire to add big-money assets; then again, that wouldn't have cost the Kings a player.
Which is the problem with the trade deadline: If you want a Brad Richards(notes) or a Ales Hemsky(notes), the Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers are going to ask for one of the most precious items in the Kings' treasure trove. So Lombardi decided to let the world know via a text message to Eric Francis on Saturday that no, center Brayden Schenn(notes) isn't leaving at the deadline. From the Calgary Sun:
"Brayden Schenn is not going anywhere," read the text from the Los Angeles Kings GM.
Clearly itching to stop having one of the hockey world's most prized prospects linked to almost every trade rumour involving the Kings, Lombardi told the Calgary Sun Saturday the 19-year-old Team Canada star is off-limits.
That won't stop Schenn from spending trade deadline day stick-handling the remote control in his parents' Saskatoon basement Monday. "Obviously, that's nice to hear, I guess," said the Blades' stud of Lombardi's stance. "Obviously, it's the first time I've heard it. My name is tossed all over the place because they're looking for that dynamic player. So, I guess we'll have to wait and see."
There's an HBO 24/7 special waiting to be filmed about players watching for their names on TSN and Sportsnet during deadline day ...
Then again, periods during Saturday's win over the Colorado Avalanche, Lombardi told reporters this regarding Schenn, relayed by Yahoo! Sports' Nick Cotsonika:
"It would have to be really something significant. The way his stock has risen here with the world junior and what he's done, it would have to be really special, and quite frankly, I don't think he's going anywhere."
"Don't think" vs. "not going." Hmmmm ...
Francis also passed along news from a Colorado Avalanche managerial type that "they will not trade Paul Stastny," despite his not being listed on Adrian Dater's group of "untouchables" in the Denver Post. (Matt Duchene(notes), Erik Johnson(notes) and Milan Hejduk(notes) made the cut.)
Malkin To The Kings, however, not only doesn't buy the Avs' denial that Stastny is in play, but believes the newly reinvigorated Buffalo Sabres are a team that's hot for him at the deadline. From the Toronto Sun:
New owner Terry Pegula, who wanted to win before he took over the franchise, has given GM Darcy Regier the green light to spend to the salary cap to win a Stanley Cup. That's not something the Sabres have always shown a willingness to do, so don't be surprised if they are a player on either Dallas centre Brad Richards on Colorado's Paul Stastny.
While the denials might be coming fast and furious out of the Rocky Mountains about Stastny's future with the Avs, don't believe them for a second. Pretty much every player on that roster is available.
Our simian brains can't process the Buffalo Sabres adding an all-star center making $6.6 million per year through 2014 at the deadline. But welcome to Pegulaville.