VANCOUVER/LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings acquired a first-round selection (17th overall) in Saturday's NHL Entry Draft and center/left wing Patrick O'Sullivan from Minnesota in exchange for center/right wing Pavol Demitra, it was announced by Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi. With the draft choice, the Kings' second of the first-round, the Kings selected center Trevor Lewis.
Lewis, 19, played in 56 regular season games for Des Moines of the United States Hockey League (USHL) this past season and had 75 points (35-40=75) and 69 penalty minutes. In 11 playoff games, Lewis had 16 points (3-13=16), 16 penalty minutes, two power-play goals, one game-winning goal and a plus-nine rating. The 6-1, 192-pound native of Salt Lake City, Utah, also played on the USHL Viking Cup team in 2006 and he played in the 2006 USHL All-Star Game. He was the recipient of three USHL awards – player and forward of the year, and the Curt Hammer Award for Most Gentlemanly Player – and he was selected to the USHL First All-Star Team in 2006. He has also committed to attend the University of Michigan.
"This move was made to get younger players in a critical age group that I have feel needs to be upgraded before this franchise gets on solid footing," said Lombardi from the Kings draft table in Vancouver. "We have evaluated the last couple of days, and this was a decision that was difficult to make, but the reality is that structurally our reserve list needs to be upgraded in certain areas and we have to make deals like this. We can continue puttering around, trying to be just good enough, or we can make some moves like this which might hurt short term, but hopefully pay off down the road."
According to Central Scouting Report, Lewis: "Has excellent acceleration and quickness and can intimidate defensemen with his ability to change direction at top speed...can shoot the puck on the fly, and does not hesitate to pull the trigger every chance he gets...has good puck skills and maneuvers very quickly in traffic...a good passer...scores big goals...makes big plays and has been a 'go to guy' for his coach playing in all situations last season...good on face-offs...very effective when forechecking, forcing turnovers that create scoring opportunities...comes to play with a lot of energy and grit...takes the body well and stands up to a challenge...plays a solid all-around game and comes back hard to cover his man...supports his defensemen down low in his own zone...has very good poise...is a team player with good leadership qualities."
O'Sullivan, 21, played in 78 games for Houston of the American Hockey League (AHL) this past season and had 93 points (47-46=93) and 64 penalty minutes. His 47 goals ranked third and his 93 points ranked fourth in the AHL while both totals ranked first among rookies and were Houston rookie records as O'Sullivan matched the most points by any AHL rookie since 1994-95. In eight playoff games, he had 10 points (5-5=10) and four penalty minutes as he led his team in scoring, and he also competed for Team USA at the recent World Championships, where he scored one goal (a game-winner) in three games.
Awarded the Dudley "Red" Garrett Memorial Award as the AHL's outstanding rookie this past season (as voted by AHL players and the media), O'Sullivan, a 6-0, 180-pound native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was originally selected by Minnesota in the second-round (56th overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. He played for the PlanetUSA team at the 2006 Rbk AHL All-Star Classic and he earned a spot on the 2005-06 AHL All-Rookie Team. He also became the AHL's first back-to-back Rookie of the Month when he earned the honors this past January and February.
Prior to his lone season in Houston, O'Sullivan played four seasons with Mississauga of the Ontario Hockey League, where he recorded 345 points (148-197=345) and 213 penalty minutes from 2001-05. In 34 playoff games, O'Sullivan – who also played in one game with the US Jr. National Team in the 2001-02 season – had 38 points (14-24=38) and 40 penalty minutes.
In the OHL, O'Sullivan's 43 goals during the 2003-04 season ranked third in the League while his 82 points tied for ninth. His 23 points (12-11=23) in 24 playoff games helped lead Mississauga to the Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. In his first OHL season, the 2001-02 campaign, he was named OHL and Canadian Hockey League Rookie of the Year after collecting 92 points (34-68=92) in 68 games.
Internationally, in 2005 O'Sullivan represented the U.S. at the World Junior Championships, where he recorded two goals and six assists in seven games. At the 2004 World Junior Championships, he recorded two third-period goals, including the game-winner, in USA's 4-3 win over Canada in the Gold Medal game. He also skated for Team USA at the 2003 World Junior Championships and collected three points (1-2=3) in seven games.
Demitra, 31, played one season with the Kings after signing a multi-year free agent contract on August 2, 2005. In 58 games, he had 62 points (25-37=62) and 42 penalty minutes. His 62 points and 37 assists ranked third on the club, while his 25 goals were second best. His plus-minus rating of plus-21 was best on the team and his average ice time of 21:04 per game was tops among Kings forwards. In 611 career NHL regular season games with the Kings, St. Louis Blues and Ottawa Senators, the 6-0, 206-pound native of Dubnica, Slovakia, has 581 points (241-340=581) and 212 penalty minutes.
"Obviously, we're giving up an established player in Pavol Demitra -- a very good player -- but in order to set this franchise up for being something structurally sound, I felt we had to make a move such as this and acquire more young assets," said Lombardi.
"Part of the deal that's attractive is picking up a kid like Patrick O'Sullivan, who is tremendously talented and has already proven that he can play at a high level in the minors. His play this year in the minors for a player born in 1985 was pretty special. He's a talented kid and we picked up another first-round choice where we drafted Lewis. Another component of this trade is that we cleared some cap space."