The Great Trade Remembered

Take a trip down memory lane with The Royal Half, The Mayor and former Kings Color commentator Pete Weber as we discuss the trade that brought Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings. 

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  • August 9, 2013 GretzkyKings99 wrote:
    Love the podcast but thought it was weird no one seemed to notice or say anything when there was talk of Dean Lombardi being a genius, but also "hopefully Regehr can find his way to the bench as soon as possible" pretty much simultaneously.

    He won't get benched because he's signed for two more years with a huge cap hit for the player he is now! During the players the commentators even made a comment how a lot of GMs thought Regehr was done for before the Kings traded for him.

    This is a guy who would have been available to sign in free agency on a one year deal for much less money, but Dean Lombardi jumped the gun and overpaid him! Regehr is a declining asset, a "pre-lockout defenseman" whose best days came when clutching and grabbing were still allowed, someone whose skating was always less than ideal but now it's getting slower every year while the game gets faster and phases his type of player out...

    And Lombardi signed him for TWO YEARS!

    I think Kings fans are really, really understating this, like "eh it's not perfect but who are we to even think analytically anymore anyway when our GM is a genius and we won a (meaning one) Cup?"

    No, in my opinion people are being way too casual. It's much worse than that. Regehr's $3M cap hit is now the major reason we can't afford to sign a top six left wing. Well, that combined with the fact we're paying like 30 players on one-way contracts when we only need 20.

    But Regehr is not only at risk of being a huge liability on our defense the next two seasons, which could cost us a Cup even if added a top six left wing just because you can't have players like that on your team who the game has passed by and expect to win, he's also a huge anchor on our cap now that prevents us from fixing our left wing situation.

    Now our only recourse, unless we trade Regehr or waive him if no one will take him, which are the options I would definitely explore but I have no faith in Dean doing what's necessary in this situation given that he's the one who just gave him this ridiculous contract in the first place, so in lieu of getting rid of that contract, our only other recourse to get the cap space without destroying our team is trading Jarret Stoll, who is a little overpaid in my opinion but still actually someone who helps our team and who we don't want to trade. And playing with less extra dead weight on our roster sitting in our press box every night taking up cap space would obviously help too, but that's always possible no matter what. But carrying 25 roster players when you only need to carry 20 at any time is a waste of about 4 million in cap space by itself. There's no reason to carry extras at the NHL level wasting cap space when we have plenty in the AHL we could just call up in case of injury instead, and that would save all that cap space.

    But that alone isn't enough. Unless we get rid of Regehr, we'll have to trade someone with value. That's the type of bad situation Dean has put us in,
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  • August 9, 2013 GretzkyKings99 wrote:
    And no, it can't be Justin Williams who we trade instead of Jarret Stoll. Trading a 1st liner instead of trading a 3rd liner makes no sense considering their cap hits are equal. I know Stoll is a center and he wins faceoffs, but center is actually a much deeper position for us than wing, plus Williams is just a much better player than Stoll.

    So Regehr is my #1 trade option for clearing major cap space (meaning like $3M or over), and Stoll is #2.

    There really aren't many other options. Matt Greene makes 2.5 million and I guess that wouldn't be the end of the world, but he's played pretty well the last two seasons, and why trade him over Regehr when he appears to be much better than Regehr and makes less money?

    Trading Willie Mitchell would save cap space except if he's healthy, he's a huge asset to our team, and we'd be in big trouble without him AND Scuderi.

    The only other option I can really think of is, ironically enough, if we could trade Mike Richards for Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn (that's just an example). That type of package, when they were both on really cheap deals, where you can replace Richards' 2nd line center spot with an up-and-comer like Schenn, and fix a wing spot, preferably you'd get a "left wing" but playing a good right wing as your left wing is far from the end of the world, to fix your left wing problem. And you'd save cap space.

    Mike Richards really hasn't been the same player even since his last couple seasons in Philadelphia, which is why they demoted him to the 3rd line, and he hasn't really gotten it back in LA. He's still got great vision and good hands to make sneaky plays and create on the powerplay and go through hot streaks where he puts up points, like in the playoffs, but in terms of being that top all around player he once was, he's just not anymore. Joe Thornton crushed him every time he got that matchup in the playoffs. I wouldn't say it was much different with Backes or Toews or even "2nd line centers." Richards has looked slower, weaker, and more beat up than I remembered his prime days in Philadelphia ever since we got him, and only his skill and hockey sense and being a "gamer" on the ice have helped him stay above water to some extent.

    So Im still glad we have him and he's still easily better than Stoll, but he's not a top line center anymore, and he's even getting destroyed a lot as a 2nd line center to the point Jeff Carter on his wing has to carry him and compensate for Richards lack of size and speed with his own, and even with that Richards is getting dominated at even strength a lot.

    So I'm glad we have him, but Im just saying if other GMs overvalue him just because of his name and we can get back the same kind of return in a trade that we paid for him despite his regression since then, that's probably the next best option after Regehr and Stoll. And it might even help our team long term if we could acquire a younger, stronger 2nd line center with more potential, at a l
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  • August 9, 2013 GretzkyKings99 wrote:
    Also sorry for the multiple comments guys, appreciate you guys letting me lay out my thoughts here and of course it would be even more amazing if you discussed them on your next podcast if you wanted to, and here's my last note.

    Just to explain to people who love Mike Richards because we won a Cup after we got him and he even led our team in postseason points last year, and maybe these people just kind of have always thought of him as "MIKE RICHARDS!!!" and never really analyzed his game since he came to LA beyond that and don't get what I'm talking about when I say he's declined a lot, let me explain how you can know he's declined.

    Remember when we traded for him, he was supposed to be the missing piece and we were supposed to get way better? Well, we didn't. We actually got worse because not only was he not producing much, but we lost our cycle identity with Smyth and many others leaving. It was only after acquiring Jeff Carter, possession wizard, that we started playing like a beast team.

    Also remember, at that season, Mike Richards was considered by most the much better overall player than Jeff Carter, and most Kings fans weren't upset at all when Columbus got Carter and we got Richards instead of vice versa. But now everyone sees plainly Carter is way better than Richards. Well, that wasn't always the case except Richards declined.

    Also remember, Puck Daddy did a "top centers" ranking list before that season started, and Mike Richards was ranked ahead of our top line center, Anze Kopitar. It tells you, Mike Richards was considered a top line center when we traded for him. Now he's often struggling, especially in possession and two-way play which used to be his strength, even as a 2nd line center.

    Mike Richards used to throw a lot of huge open ice hits, but ever since his multiple shoulder injuries, he shies away from that area of the game much more than he used to. Obviously this negatively affects his game in itself, but it's also proof of the body deterioration that is no doubt causing some of the decline in his overall game, in his speed and strength.

    Check Mike Richards' underlying stats (corsi based stats), and they will tell you he's declined massively the past few seasons. Those stats aren't perfect but they're very compelling evidence in this case when combined with everything else.

    So while he's still a good player and leader to have on our team, it might still be worth exploring trade options for him. If we could get a young, cheap 2nd line center and 2nd line left wing in exchange for him who were at the point they could step right in to a championship contender, plus a draft pick or prospect, something like we gave up for Richards in the first place, that might actually be a really helpful cap reset for this team while actually filling the left wing hole and replacing Richards' spot and also getting younger, all at the same time.

    But the easiest fix is still to get rid of Regehr.
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