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Kings are making GM Lombardi look like a genius

May 24, 2012, 8:10 PM EDT

Mike Richards Getty Images

Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi raised some eyebrows when he went out to Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, and Dustin Penner in three separate trades over the last two seasons. None of those players came cheap and all of them had their baggage, but all three have played significant roles in the Kings’ run to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Lombardi wasn’t afraid of their baggage. After the Richards’ trade he remarked that, “You can’t have 23 choirboys on your team.”

We’d say that it’s evidence that he’s not afraid to take risks, but Lombardi didn’t see reuniting Jeff Carter and Mike Richards after Philadelphia dealt them as part of their big shakeup as “much of a risk.”

“I knew those two kids personally,” Lombardi said. “I followed them through their draft year, through World Junior tournaments, got to know them when I was in Philly and obviously I was able to do my digging without having to read blogs to know what the truth was.”

Lombardi wasn’t deterred by the notion that Richards got “a little off track in Philly” because “that heart and soul isn’t going anywhere.”

Penner is a bit of a different case. He wasn’t as big of a gamble because he wasn’t locked into a lifetime contract like Carter and Richards. At the same time, he was easily the biggest disappointment during the regular season. Penner had just seven goals and 18 points in 65 games for the price of $4,250,000.

That’s not exactly a lot of bang for your buck, but he has come up big in the playoffs.

“I kid him now; he went from BP — like the oil spill — to BP — as in Big Play Penner,” Lombardi said.

Of course, the Kings aren’t winning solely on the backs of those three players and they’re not even Los Angeles’ biggest contributors. Still, things might have gone very differently if Lombardi hadn’t gotten those three.

  1. taytay099 - May 24, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    I had my doubts about them, but they sure have stepped up and played outstanding. They really deserve to win the Cup.

  2. ynothockey - May 24, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    Good thing they made that coaching change when they did.

  3. phillyhoosiers - May 24, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    I always liked Richards and Carter when they were in Philly, but I am still happy with both trades. The Flyers wouldn’t have won the Cup with them, and the trades allowed them to get younger and freed them from long commitments. They went to a deep team that they were able to fit in, and not have leadership roles they struggled with in Philly. I will be rooting for them to beat NJ or NY, even though if NJ wins it all maybe Marty will retire.

  4. smushrodriguez - May 24, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    @phillyhoosiers: it’s not like those two guys are old. Getting younger didn’t really help and what they really need is a system and organizational philosophy trade. Ed Snider needs to take a big step out and they need a GM who can manage the cap an a coach who plays a balanced system. On top of that they need forwards who can win face offs and back check.

  5. smushrodriguez - May 24, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    *system and organization change (not trade)

  6. namriverrat69 - May 24, 2012 at 10:58 PM

    Let’s not forget we get back Simon Gagne next year if he can stay healthy. The Kings have a solid team for a few years to come.

    LONG LIVE THE KINGS!!!!!!!

  7. highlander24 - May 24, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    GO KINGS GO!!!!

  8. flyeredup - May 25, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    Mr. Lombardi: we offer Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds for Mike Richards. Can we reverse the trade please?

  9. phillyhoosiers - May 25, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    @smushrodriguez.. But last summer was the only time that you could trade those two because of the no trade clauses. There were obvious reason why one or both had to go. From the outside it didn’t seem like they were showing the leadership qualities that they needed to, and to strip the C from Richards would not have worked (the A from Carter too). The Flyers were not supposed win when this year started, and especially when Pronger went down. Saying that the end of season sucked, but this summer will be interesting. I would like to see them get two right-handed shots from the point not named Pavel Kubina and see how team gels in year two post Richards/Carter.

  10. leafsfaninla - May 25, 2012 at 3:35 AM

    For all the kings fan out there can u please think about BOB MILLER who should be calling the stanley cup playoffs for the KINGS, i dont care about NBC or FOX ,,,,, this is Hockey, and passion and MILLER is a hockey hall of famer!

    • SmackSaw - May 25, 2012 at 2:21 PM

      I always turn the channel to Kings post game as soon as it’s on. Bob Miller is the best. It’s nice to see him having fun.

  11. leafsfaninla - May 25, 2012 at 3:36 AM

    Go KINGS Go!

  12. skezskoz - May 25, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    Good for Richards, he needed a change of scenery and I still think that trade was a win for the Kings, the Flyers, and Richards’ career.

    Jeff Carter can pound sand.

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