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Gaborik trade paid off handsomely for Kings

Jun 15, 2014, 3:56 PM EDT

Marian Gaborik Getty Images

It seems like the team that makes the biggest splash during the trade deadline usually isn’t the one that ends up winning the Stanley Cup, but deadline day acquisitions can still be critical. After all, would the Kings have won it all this year if they didn’t acquire Marian Gaborik?

Los Angeles averaged 2.42 goals per game in the regular season and 3.38 in the playoffs with Gaborik being a big part of that transformation. He scored a league-leading 14 goals and 22 points in the postseason and contributed to Anze Kopitar‘s equally impressive showing.

His presence also gave the Kings the flexibility to split up Jeff Carter and Kopitar. That move gave them two dangerous lines as Carter scored 10 goals and 25 points in the playoffs.

What makes that trade truly special though is that the Kings didn’t mortgage their future to make it as they gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a pair of second rounders and 26-year-old forward Matt Frattin.

The Kings have made some other solid acquisitions over the years, with forwards Carter and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Justin Williams being the most noteworthy additions, but Kings GM Dean Lombardi knows those kind of moves alone couldn’t hope to keep this team on top.

“The ability of this team to continue to grow isn’t going to from acquisitions. It’s going to be on the inside,” Lombardi told LA Kings Insider. “People overlook, I think a lot, how young Doughty was last time, Kopitar, Brown was still growing. Carter was just entering his prime. Jake Muzzin, Martinez, Clifford, Nolan, King – all these kids, you look at the age distribution chart on ‘em, there was tremendous upside here. Now, the trick for them and the coaches was to not let ‘em get complacent and keep pushing them to reach their potential.”

Bench boss Darryl Sutter has done a fine job of that so far, but every now and then he can certainly use a boost. Because sometimes trade deadline acquisitions do pay off.

  1. 950003cups - Jun 15, 2014 at 5:00 PM

    He’s not that handsome. Regardless what the headline says.

  2. blomfeld - Jun 15, 2014 at 11:56 PM


    The bottom line is that Lombardi is brilliant, we Kings are the ‘greatest’ ice hockey team in the world today and ‘he’ is on our side ! Don’t know about you guys, but personally I just love when that happens !

    GO KINGS GO !!! … TODAY, TOMORROW AND FOREVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    *** here’s what’s happening right now in Africa c/o my friend Zaina ***

  3. endusersolutions2013 - Jun 16, 2014 at 12:27 AM

    Blom and Kings fans: I had a bad feeling when this trade was done, as a hawks fan, I knew the Kings played grat “D”, and struggled to score. So compared to last year, Kings could score now, against a Hawks ‘d that was admittedly not as good as last year. Hawks failed to trade well during the year (Regin may have contributed more if allowed), but the Versteeg trade ended up being a disaster.

    Left the Hawks with a 4th line they could not play against the Kings. Too much ice time for the top lines.

    Close series with the Hawks, and weall knew who ever won the WC was gonna win the SC.

    Now serious rivalry will renew next year, and the Hawks will need to make good decisions to address their weaknesses to beat the Kings next year.

    So at the end of the post, congrads to the kings and their fans, good move on Gaborik. Further challenge is he may perceive a good fit and really invest himself in LA.

    • blomfeld - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:47 AM

      *** somewhere out on the great plain ***

      Blom Feather: who is this lone rider that goes before us ?

      Ten Bears: I believe it is he brother, the one who once spoke words of peace ?

      Crazy Dog: yeah, well I say we waste this mo-effer right now !

      Demented Deer: yeah man, let’s ‘do’ this freak big time !

      Blom Feather: no brothers, we will let this man be and make peace with his maker …

  4. 2qswing - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    Kekalainen gets a lot of credit for the Jackets success this year but these were ALL Scott Howsen players and coaches. And he also inherited three first-round picks in last years draft.
    His two biggest moves were signing Nathan Horton and trading Gaborik for two 2s and Matt Frattin. Gaborik sure would have looked good on that first line against Pittsburg instead of Jack Skille in the first round.

    For all the hoopla over this new regime, they need to step it up this off season. I like the 3 first round picks he made last year but Lombardi fleeced him on this trade and the jury is out on Horton.

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