NHL Trade Deadline Looms: Is "The One" Available For The LA Kings?

Mike Miller@@mykeymillerContributor IIFebruary 15, 2011

Dean Plays Morpheus as he seeks the one
Dean Plays Morpheus as he seeks the oneAndrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Who is the one? Who is the Neo in the NHL trade market that the Kings are after? 

Does he exist or will Dean Lombardi stand pat on the market because it just doesn’t make sense to tap into the family savings account for a rental player who may yield goal-scoring and help them secure a deep playoff run. 

Message boards, bloggers, newspaper reporters, Tweets and other sources have the LA Kings making a big splash in the trade market

Is it going to happen? Who the heck knows?  Should it happen? Passionate cup-starved fans will tell you yes. Conservative, cautious fans will tell you no.   

Do the Kings have enough to win it all without a trade? Winning-streaks make it seem possible. Previous losing-streaks make it seem improbable. 

For the most part this is the same team that pushed Vancouver to six games last year.  What is different this year? There is not one thing that tells that tale. It’s a number of things. 

Here is the list:  

1)      Playoff Experience from last year for guys that previously had none

2)      The goaltending tandem is rock-solid and arguably the best in the league

3)      The defense is better than it was last year (defense wins playoffs)

4)      This team is very physical, more than last year (Clifford, Ponikarovsky, etc.)

5)      This team is healthier (Justin Williams anyone?)

6)      Their penalty-kill seems to really be clicking

7)      They are winning close games and seem to really believe


Now on the other side, here are a few reasons why people don’t believe:

1)      The power play seems downright awful recently

2)      Goal-scoring has been a struggle

3)      Bad penalties seem to be consistent (How many too many men penalties have  they received?)

The 28th of February is the trade deadline. If the Kings are going to do something it has to be soon.

Looking at the lists of needs, it’s obvious: They need a smart, skilled sniper. That guy needs to be someone who can light the lamp when given the opportunity.

Fitting with the system they would like a big physical talented guy as well. The Kings play a physical game so a small fast guy isn’t ideal. 

Here’s the reality for all of you arm chair GMs who think that making deals is easy.  That guy, the one the Kings would love to have, isn’t easy to come by—other teams that have them aren’t just going to hand them over so the Kings can finally win a cup. 

The business of the NHL doesn’t work that way. They want picks, talent or expiring contracts coming back. 

Brian Burke just got a first and a third-rounder for a third-line winger. I'm not going to spend time debating the deal that might put Philly over the top but on the outside it looks like the Flyers paid a bit for the guy. 

Some of the names being floated for Dean Lombardi to go and get include Dustin Penner, Zach Parise, David Booth, and others. Who knows if these guys are in play?

Well, considering Gretzky got traded in 1988 it seems that everyone is technically in play. The question is, at what price? Will that price make sense? Once the price is paid will it put the team over the top or will there by buyer’s remorse?

Most people who are arm chair GMs have played hockey at some level or just love watching it. Some claim to be “lifetime diehard fans,”—like that somehow entitles them to know more.

They call out guys, call them soft. They call them cowardly idiots unwilling to pull the trigger. The question I have is, if you were wearing the GM hat for the Kings or another team, and had spent years building your roster, would you be willing to roll the dice knowing your job could hang in the balance? 

If not your job, the future of the franchise you run? Would you actually become smarter and look at the big picture?

Some have said that dynasties are a thing of the past. They are not a thing of the past, they are just different then they use to be. 

It’s hard to hold onto the same group of players for years and years because of the salary cap and free agency. A solid organization, with a good system is the way a team can build a modern day dynasty. A dynasty drafts, and develops its players and doesn’t rely on big trades or free agency. 

A great example of this kind of dynasty is the Detroit Red Wings.

In all reality a team needs to win with what they have. Hockey is a team sport and one guy doesn’t always put a team over the top—in most cases it does quite the opposite. Marian Hossa almost did it for the Penguins a few years back and the Penguins actually won it the following year without him.

Most teams that win don’t do it because they made a big acquisition at the deadline—they did it because the core was rock solid. They did it because the system works.  They did it because they overcame the odds and powered through adversity (every team has it).

Making trades is sexy and can be exciting, but it’s not always the best thing for the organization or team. Change can be a good thing—change can also disrupt what’s been built. 

Dean Lombardi is looking for his Neo. If he can’t find him let’s hope he doesn’t try and force someone else to be him only to get caught wishing he had taken the blue pill (those are Matrix references for all who live in a snow cave).