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Magical Friendship between the Kings & Blue Jackets

by Jesse Cohen @KingsMenPodcast / LAKings.com

Ohio's capital city can boast many accomplishments.

  • Columbus was the home of the world's first water filtration facility, designed to fight typhoid fever
  • Somehow, roughly 50 percent population in America lives within 500 miles of the Arch City
  • It's the birth place of notable American athletes Buster Douglas, Brady Quinn and Randy "Macho Man" Savage
  • Three-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Eric Clapton even owns a home there
  • I believe they have some college sports, too.

The impact this historic city has had on the rest of the nation simply cannot be ignored, but without question the single greatest contribution Columbus has made to modern American culture is in its role as "Little Brother" to the LA Kings.

Let's look back at the most iconic moments in the relationship between the two clubs.

The Most Important #Lumbus Contributions to the LA Kings


Frederik Modin

As the 2010 NHL trade deadline loomed, the LA Kings found themselves competing for their first playoff spot in eight seasons.

Led in scoring by (surprise) Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Dustin Brown, many of the players on the roster were about to get their first taste of playoff hockey.

Desperate to provide depth and veteran experience to their youth heavy lineup, the Kings turned to Columbus. The Blue Jackets were on their way to finishing with 79 points and heading toward the fourth overall in the upcoming draft, which they would use to draft future Predators star Ryan Johansen.

Nobody knew it at the time but the deal the Jackets cut the Kings would come to define the relationship between the two franchises. The only roster player in the trade was then-35-year-old forward Frederik Modin.

Modin would last only the remainder of the season in Los Angeles. He scored 5 points in his 20 regular season appearances in a Kings uniform, but turned in a strong playoff effort, tying Drew Doughty and Michal Handzus for the team-lead in goals with three in six playoff games against the Vancouver Canucks.

When a team trades draft picks or prospects for a player they really want for a playoff run it's frequently referred to as a "rental."

The Modin trade was, however, far from a rental trade.

In exchange for a veteran forward, the Kings had to part ways with: Nothing.

Frederik Modin was traded to the LA Kings by the Columbus Blue Jackets for a conditional 7th round draft pick.

The "condition" was the Kings winning the Stanley Cup in 2010.

Historical records show that the LA Kings did not win the Stanley Cup in 2010, so the Blue Jackets receieved nothing for the trade.
 

Jeff Carter

In the summer of 2011, the Philadelphia Flyers did the hilarious and unthinkable, trading Jeff Carter to the Blue Jackets just months after signing him to an 11-year contract extension.

That same day, they followed up by trading their then-captain Mike Richards to the LA Kings.

The Kings and Blue Jackets both struggled early in the 2011-12 season.

Unsatisified with the team's play, General Manager Dean Lombardi fired head coach Terry Murray in mid-December.

After an 11-25-5 start to the season, the Blue Jackets followed suit and fired their head coach Scott Arniel in January.

While the Kings rebounded, the Blue Jackets continued to sink in the standings.

With the trade deadline approaching, the Kings, considered strong contenders in the offseason, once again looked to bolster their lineup for a third consecutive playoff run.

Once again they turned to Columbus.

The Blue Jackets were in complete upheaval on their way to a last place finish in the NHL. There were rumors that Carter and fellow superstar Rick Nash had both demanded trades, leading to rampant speculation as to where Nash might wind up. 

Rick Nash - "These Teams are on My List"

Ultimately, it was Carter who was traded.

The Kings sent offensively talented, but defensively challenged Jack Johnson, to the Blue Jackets, reuniting Carter and Richards in Los Angeles less than a full season after their exile from Philadelphia.

Kings fans will remember fondly how the season ended: Jeff Carter scored eight playoff goals, tied with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown for the team lead, and the Kings won the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history.

So far, Carter has gone on to score 220 points in 300 games with the Kings. He ranks 20th in goals and 29th in points all-time in Kings history.

Johnson, meanwhile, has continued to put up strong offensive numbers, but the Blue Jackets have only qualified for the playoffs once since he arrived in Columbus.

 

Marian Gaborik

Following the 2011-12 season, the Blue Jackets traded Nash to the New York Rangers.

His arrival in New York coincided with a dip in offense from perennial All-Star Marian Gaborik, who was ultimately traded to Columbus at the 2013 NHL trade deadline.

Late in the 2013-14 season, the Kings were cruising into the playoffs. The Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks had opened up seemingly insurmountable leads on the third place Kings, but the rest of the Pacific Division was far enough behind that the final few weeks of the season presented no real challenge other than to finalize their playoff roster.

Los Angeles was looking to add more offense to a lineup that had lifted Lord Stanley's Cup once and were determined to lift it again. As the franchise had done in the past, it turned to Columbus.

After an injury riddled start to the 2013-14 season, the Blue Jackets were once again disappointed in a player they thought would bring them more offense.

Gaborik had scored only 22 points in 39 games with the Blue Jackets over parts of two seasons and his contract was set to expire at the end of the season. With their own playoff fate still undecided, Gaborik seemed like the perfect "rental player" for the Jackets to move.

Like Modin and Carter before him, Gaborik performed like a man reborn at virtually no cost to the Kings.

The infrequently used Matt Frattin and a parcel of mid -ound draft picks were all it took to bolster the Kings' offense. 

Marián Gáborík - LA Kings 2014 || All goals [HD]

Once again, a former Blue Jacket led the Kings in playoff goals as Gaborik scored 14 en route to the Kings second Stanley Cup victory in three seasons, defeating his former New York Rangers in the Final.


Twitter and the Future

The contributions of the Blue Jackets aren't merely limited to swapping players with the Kings.

Starting in February 2013, the Kings infamous Twitter account began referring to the Blue Jackets simply as #Lumbus, a trend that caught on swiftly and lasts to this day. 

Tweet from @LAKings: Going to shorten Columbus to "lumbus" from now on. #lumbus

A playful relationship quickly grew between the two clubs' social media platforms, creating a new template for teams to interact with each other in the digital world.

The interaction between the two clubs was so refreshing and entertaining it led fans to participate with their own contributions to the "hockey bromance".

Tweet from @LAKings: @BlueJacketsNHL @AliLawrence: ok well this is adorable http://t.co/f5RHAHaSQQ

While it would be nice to believe the Blue Jackets will continue to play a supporting role to the Kings and deliver players in crucial moments, the pipeline from Columbus to Los Angeles is probably closed.

The Kings have salary cap issues and a roster already stocked with former Columbus players.

Unless the Jackets were interested in moving some of their younger players who are fresh off a Calder Cup victory in the AHL, or would be willing to retain salary in a trade, the likelihood of another Blue Jackets forward leading the Kings in playoff scoring in 2017, sadly, seems remote...

Still, we'll always have #Lumbus.

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