Jun 4, 2014, 12:20 AM EDT
Those big trade deadline deals. They can put a contending team over the top. They can also be nothing but a bust.
Put Marian Gaborik into the first category. Although, one opponent remains, as the L.A. Kings prepare to face the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final, with Game 1 going Wednesday.
Gaborik, acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets at the deadline in March, leads all NHL players in these playoffs with 12 goals, including three in the final four games in the Western Conference Final against Chicago. He also hasn’t been a liability in the defensive end of the ice. In fact, he’s been solid in that department, too.
And the Kings, even after finishing 26th in league scoring during the regular season, have been lighting it up in these playoffs, averaging a league-best 3.48 goals per game.
The plan to bring in a forward that could help the Kings in the scoring department began long before the deadline.
“This is something (head coach Darryl Sutter) and I had talked about last summer. We were always a top defensive team,” Kings general manager Dean Lombardi told reporters on Tuesday.
“You want to be able to do both, but you never want to lose that hallmark of what our success has been in being a good defensive team that’s hard to play against.
“It had to be a player that most important fit, that gave us an element, that was willing hopefully to buy into what it takes to play here.
“But the thing, too, with the timing, it’s the fit of the player, what type of character he has, but also the timing of when you bring in a player of that caliber. Certain things have to be established for a franchise before you do something like that.”
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