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Dean Lombardi on Deadline Moves

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
Transcribed by Whitney Klein |

“Overall I think our team deserved this. That room and those coaches have done a good job and it’s time for us to step up and get them some help.”

(RE Dustin Penner Deal)
“It comes down to the final player and putting it together. Once you zero in on a guy, it’s more that last stretch of waiting. Once you see a deal coming together that makes sense for your team, it’s usually that last hour and a half to see if it falls through or not that causes more anxiety. It’s the whole month’s thought process that all comes down to this. I’ve been through it before but the juice hasn’t gone away when it comes down to those moments. When you look where we were five years ago I can always think those first three years only selling during this period. It’s not a lot of fun, we had to do it but nobody enjoys it. You’re essentially making your team worse. Last year we were kind of a buyer on the perimeter but it’s more the players. It’s the players that drove me to this. The way they went on this road trip and said “we’re for real and get us some help and make us a better team without taking anyone out of the room.” That’s where the push comes because you really want to help those guys because they deserve it. We were glad we were able to do it with making sense now and for the future. The anxiety was a lot more fun than it was three years ago when I was trading guys for picks, but that’s part of the process.”

“You realize a lot of the assets you have are nice to have for yourself, but also it’s the situation where your scouts come through for you. They’re always a big part of trades. If you don’t draft, you got no chance to use trades or free agency. If it’s only free agency, that doesn’t work. It all starts with the scouts who give you the tools to go out and pursue players of this stature at this time.”

“I trend toward guys like Stoll and Smyth who have been to the Finals and have experience. When you look at a guys resume, especially when you have a lot of young players, the experience can be invaluable. The other thing I like is that we’re starting to get a reputation that’s hard to play against and I think adding a big man like this has got to be pretty imposing. If you’re a defenseman lining up against us, that can’t be fun and I think that’s the way you’re going to win it in the playoffs. I think he’ll be a good fit here; he was a big contributor in Anaheim. Here he knows the guys on the team. Greene and Stoll spoke very highly of him. He can fit right in and just be himself and this guy could be a big help.”

“I think it helps when players speak highly of another player. That’s something you look at the end once you see something that’s a possibility and you know you have some players you respect, it’s not everybody that you can open that window to because our room is so close they’re beginning to get the feeling that they’ve been through some wars together. It’s their team and I think they’ve taken ownership and in certain moments I’ll solicit their opinion.”

“I kind of like that Dustin was tied to Edmonton. In my experience when a guy is a little hurt by a trade that means they were loyal to their team. Eventually you want them to be that for you. It’s our job to get him in here and have him be part of the family and hopefully he’ll bleed your colors the way he was bleeding for his other team. I kind of like it when a guys hurt, I don’t mean that in an evil sense but that he was passionate about his colors and guys who want a change generally will want a change from you.”

“We weren’t going to take a guy out of the room. I don’t know if you want to call it lucky we were able to do that but it allows us to focus. It’s certain players that were nonnegotiable and taking a guy out of our room was something we were clearly not interested in. We want to make our team better and not take people out of the room; I’ve done that enough in the past.”

“By last night we had zeroed in that realistically it was going to be this guy. It’s like a funnel. Thirty days ago the funnel was big and it narrows down and last night this was our only option. Our forwards are deep, our defense is solid, and we weren’t looking for a lot of dialogue. We knew there were certain teams we needed to talk to.”

(RE Justin Williams Deal)
“It helped me sleep last night. What you dread in the building process is taking a step backwards and then rushing to try to take two steps forward. I think the ideal way to build a good team is generally a methodical process. If you spike too early you generally have some flaws in the foundation and you don’t want to go backwards. I think that Justin is certainly among the top three in our forwards in skill, I just couldn’t imagine having to replace that and want to get better in the off season. I want to get better, I don’t want to be sitting there and saying ‘oh I got to replace this.’ We’re set up now contractually where we can focus entirely on getting better. Of course Drew’s contract is up soon but these aren’t guys who are going anywhere. We got a couple guys we think we can sign also from internally but Justin was big. I think it says a lot, this is an East Coast guy who spent his whole career on the East Coast. For him to commit here I don’t think would have happened two years ago. The sexy thing is always to go out and try to get something new but the old saying when you got something good, a good player who’s a good person who fits in, that’s the smart thing to focus on. I was really excited last night. I think it was huge for the franchise that he took a reasonable number. I’m as happy about Justin as I am about the Penner deal.”

“I made a priority of Justin a month ago. I thought this was really important. Never underestimate keeping your own and don’t always think the grass is greener. I think this is a young player who’s starting to wear our colors the right way.”
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