UFA Options: Los Angeles Kings

Jonathan Willis
June 08 2009 06:44PM

kings

UFA Options is a continuing series that gives a brief run-down of the unrestricted free agent market this summer, team-by-team. Our next team for consideration is the Los Angeles Kings .

Dean Lombardi’s Los Angeles Kings are a team on the rise. 2008-09 marked the sixth consecutive season for the team without a playoff appearance, and they haven’t gone on a lengthy run since the days of Wayne Gretzky and Kelly Hrudey.

Right now though they have a wealth of young talent, most of it under contract long-term, and there are only three players on the team entering unrestricted free ageny, with none of them being vital cogs.

Kyle Calder

Kyle Calder twice topped the fifty-point mark in Chicago, recording career highs in 2005-06 (79GP – 26G – 33A – 59PTS) but he’s struggled ever since, and this past season was no exception. He played second-line opposition and had a reasonable split in terms of offensive/defensive zone work, but he couldn’t quite hit the 10-goal or 30-point plateaus. He isn’t much of a physical presence, although occasionally he can chip in there, he doesn’t block shots (recorded only 7 blocks in 74 games last season – team low numbers) and he’s not the world’s most fluid skater, either.

He’s a good utility player who can occasionally step up into a top-six role (particularly as a playmaker) but doesn’t provide enough offense to stay there season-to-season and probably isn’t reliable enough defensively to anchor a shut-down line.

Derek Armstrong

This past season was brutal for Armstrong. Armstrong bounced around the AHL for years before signing on with Los Angeles at the tender age of 29, when he unexpectedly emerged as a decent support player. Over the past five seasons he’s generally played around 60 games and chipped in between 35 and 45 points, but this last year the wheels fell off; he managed 9 points in 56 games despite playing a sheltered role and bled goals against. Armstrong’s never been quick but at 36 he’s only getting slower, so despite decent offensive talent and a relatively chippy game it’s fair to ask if he’ll be in the NHL next season.

Denis Gauthier

It was a little surprising to see Denis Gauthier return to the NHL after being exiled to the Philadelphia Phantoms for 2007-08; it was less surprising that he struggled. Los Angeles basically agreed to take a second round pick in exchange for taking Gauthier’s salary off of the Flyers’ hands.

Gauthier’s never been quick, and he plays a physical – even dirty – game; he was twice suspended by the NHL this past season (in the span of a single month) for a blow to the head of Montreal’s Josh Gorges and then for boarding Sharks’ captain Patrick Marleau. He hits and blocks shots, every so often he fights, but at this point he shouldn’t be in the top-six on a decent team.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Lofty
June 08 2009, 06:59PM
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No coment on reasoner yet

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#2 Archaeologuy
June 08 2009, 08:11PM
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Pickins are slim in LA it seems. For the Kings, i think they might be the only team not named the Canucks that is capable of offering the Sedins a pair of substantial contracts.

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#3 Archaeologuy
June 08 2009, 08:44PM
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Reasoner signed an extension in Atlanta, no more recycled parts to be used again in E-town i guess.

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#4 Kent
June 08 2009, 08:56PM
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Gauthier shouldn't even be on an NHL team period.

Dude can hit. But that's it. He's worse than useless in the offensive zone and is frequently out of position all over the ice. He played the softest competition on the Kings last year (outside of Preissing) and still got beat up.

Another Flames first rounder from the dark ages makes a graceless exit.

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#5 Lofty
June 09 2009, 12:32AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Reasoner signed an extension in Atlanta, no more recycled parts to be used again in E-town i guess

Sure hope not. He can ride the pine in Atl the price of an oiler third liner then come back.

now all the the Klowe fans can yelp all they want while tambo picks someone worth their while. In Tambo I trust! no more re-does/mulligans time for new faces in new places.

Change the team and change they chemistry.

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#6 Chris
June 09 2009, 08:10AM
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Armstrong generally chipped in 35-45 points a season playing around 60 games..?.. That would make him a top six in Edmonton.

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#7 Wanye Gretz
June 09 2009, 08:34AM
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Excellent use of the Price is Right photographs Jon. Again, NHL promotions department: kudos for embarassing the game we all love.

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#8 Fiveandagame
June 09 2009, 09:18AM
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@ Wanye Gretz: You're just mad cause your mom was in the boat.

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#9 I'm a Scientist!
June 09 2009, 10:21AM
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*wants to do dirty...dirty things to Wanye's mom*

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#10 mt
June 09 2009, 10:50AM
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Just heard on XM that Dany Heatly wants out of Ottawa. Maybe the Oil should dangle one of their high priced d-men and another couple million of salary... he's a western boy... Maybe Edmonton is an option!

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#11 RossCreek
June 09 2009, 10:54AM
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The boys on HockeyCentral just said word is coming out that Dany Heatley has let the Senators know he'd like a change of scenery. EJ Hradek of ESPN is the source. Now HE would be the perfect fit along side Hemsky.

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#12 Ogden Brother
June 09 2009, 10:57AM
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RossCreek wrote:

The boys on HockeyCentral just said word is coming out that Dany Heatley has let the Senators know he’d like a change of scenery. EJ Hradek of ESPN is the source. Now HE would be the perfect fit along side Hemsky.

Wow, he certainly would. Something centerd around Visnosky and Gagner?

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#13 Chris
June 09 2009, 11:01AM
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RossCreek wrote:

The boys on HockeyCentral just said word is coming out that Dany Heatley has let the Senators know he’d like a change of scenery. EJ Hradek of ESPN is the source. Now HE would be the perfect fit along side Hemsky.

When he said change of scenery I can't imagine he ment Edmonton. Does Heatley have a no trade clause?

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#14 scorcoff hemmercules
June 09 2009, 11:18AM
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@ Chris:

I believe he does have a no trade clause. The article suggested he wanted to move to a western conf team, can't see him wanting to come to Edmonton though. Can we afford a 7.5 mil cap hit for him?? With the money trouble we alrady have I can't see this happening.

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#15 Ogden Brother
June 09 2009, 11:22AM
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Chris wrote:

RossCreek wrote: The boys on HockeyCentral just said word is coming out that Dany Heatley has let the Senators know he’d like a change of scenery. EJ Hradek of ESPN is the source. Now HE would be the perfect fit along side Hemsky. When he said change of scenery I can’t imagine he ment Edmonton. Does Heatley have a no trade clause?

He does, and supposedly he wants to go to the WC.

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#16 Ogden Brother
June 09 2009, 11:23AM
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scorcoff hemmercules wrote:

@ Chris: I believe he does have a no trade clause. The article suggested he wanted to move to a western conf team, can’t see him wanting to come to Edmonton though. Can we afford a 7.5 mil cap hit for him?? With the money trouble we alrady have I can’t see this happening.

I'd bet Ott wants at least some roster players going back, so I think it's pretty safe to say some $$ would be leaving as well.

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#17 West Coast Oil
June 09 2009, 11:25AM
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They are talking on the Team 1040 in Vancouver about possibly the Canucks trying to get Heatly. Perhaps trading Luongo for him or just trying to get him as he has a house in BC

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#18 scorcoff hemmercules
June 09 2009, 11:27AM
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@ Ogden Brother:

Do you think Edmonton is on his list of teams to go to?? I doubt it, but anything is possible. I wonder what we would have to pay Jagr or Hossa to play here?? I'm thinking its around the same as Danny but we'll see if Tambo is going to go that route like Lowe did last summer.

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#19 Ogden Brother
June 09 2009, 11:30AM
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scorcoff hemmercules wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: Do you think Edmonton is on his list of teams to go to?? I doubt it, but anything is possible. I wonder what we would have to pay Jagr or Hossa to play here?? I’m thinking its around the same as Danny but we’ll see if Tambo is going to go that route like Lowe did last summer.

I doubt it as well, but it's as least as reasonable as all the Hossa talk.

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#20 Chris
June 09 2009, 11:32AM
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@ scorcoff hemmercules: Not too worried about the 7.5 cap hit... IMO you spend the money on the money players; Lowe, on the other hand, was an expert at pissing away dollars on mediocre players. If the reports are true, Ottawa would be moving Heatley in a "hockey deal", not a pure salary shed. I wonder if O'Sullivan and Gilbert would be enough? (Assuming Calgary Boy would live in Edmonton). O'Sullivan should be able to pot nearly thirty playing with Spezza and Alfredsson... and Ottawa could dearly use a puck moving D. The salary trade works both ways, and both teams would achieve better overall roster balance. Any thoughts?

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#21 danjo1
June 09 2009, 11:33AM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

He does, and supposedly he wants to go to the WC.

How long has he been holding it in? (sorry for the bad bathroom humor...)

But seriously though, that would be amazing if Tambi were able to swing a deal for him.

would he go to Edmonton? what do the Oilers seriously have to offer to fit him into their salary cap? and if everything was to fall into place, how would he handle the pressure from the media and fans?

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#22 scorcoff hemmercules
June 09 2009, 11:33AM
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Anyone know what the Senators are in need of at the moment?? Do we even have a package to offer them for Heatly??

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#23 Boris
June 09 2009, 11:36AM
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Just thinking about Heatly in Oiler silks gives me a chubby. Do what ever it takes Tambo !!

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#24 Ogden Brother
June 09 2009, 11:37AM
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Chris wrote:

@ scorcoff hemmercules: Not too worried about the 7.5 cap hit… IMO you spend the money on the money players; Lowe, on the other hand, was an expert at pissing away dollars on mediocre players. If the reports are true, Ottawa would be moving Heatley in a “hockey deal”, not a pure salary shed. I wonder if O’Sullivan and Gilbert would be enough? (Assuming Calgary Boy would live in Edmonton). O’Sullivan should be able to pot nearly thirty playing with Spezza and Alfredsson… and Ottawa could dearly use a puck moving D. The salary trade works both ways, and both teams would achieve better overall roster balance. Any thoughts?

Ya I was thinking Gilbert+O'sully as well. As for the "hockey deal" it depends how much pressure Heatly puts on, if he's ademant about moving, and restricts himself to a handful of teams, the return Ott gets will be far lower then most would assume.

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#25 Ogden Brother
June 09 2009, 11:39AM
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scorcoff hemmercules wrote:

Anyone know what the Senators are in need of at the moment?? Do we even have a package to offer them for Heatly??

Last year it was depth up front/PMD's and tending. They got Leclaire, so he'll be the #1 until proven otherwise + traded for Campoli and resigne Kuba so they've got a couple of "Ok" PMD's. They are still desperatly in need of a couple quality 2nd line guys and probably another (or at least an upgrade) to their PMD's.

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#26 Chris
June 09 2009, 11:40AM
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@ Boris: How much is too much? What if they want Gagner and Visnovsky?

Edmonton is a good trading partner for Ottawa. We have an abundance of puck moving D-men that Ottawa nso desperately needs, and some good young, inexpensive, emerging forwards.

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#27 Ogden Brother
June 09 2009, 11:40AM
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Maybe Gilbert+O'sully+Nilsso for Heatly+Smith?

Salary matches up, they get some depth and a PMD.

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#28 OvenChicken8
June 09 2009, 11:46AM
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I would move Gilbert + Penner and our 1st for Heatley. The first would make up for taking the Penner contract from us.

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#29 Bob Cob
June 09 2009, 11:49AM
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Well Tambellini here you go, if you want to make a name for your self make this Heatley trade happen. I am thinking something in the lines of Gilbert or Souray, Cogliano, Nilsson, throw in the this years first round pick (yes I said it), and maybe you can get him. It might sound like alot but how often do you get a crack at a guy that has scored 50 and is just entering the prime of his career.

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#30 Ogden Brother
June 09 2009, 11:57AM
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Bob Cob wrote:

Well Tambellini here you go, if you want to make a name for your self make this Heatley trade happen. I am thinking something in the lines of Gilbert or Souray, Cogliano, Nilsson, throw in the this years first round pick (yes I said it), and maybe you can get him. It might sound like alot but how often do you get a crack at a guy that has scored 50 and is just entering the prime of his career.

No way it takes that much, Ott has just seen their leverage evaporate.

See: Luongo/Pronger/Bure/Thorton etc etc trade.

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#31 Chris
June 09 2009, 11:58AM
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Just since we're dreaming:

H-H-H Kid Line (No sophmore slump) Moreau-UFA Center-Pisani Penner-Brodziak-Stortini

If you can move O'Sullivan and a top four D for Heatley... and if Smid can play in the top four... the Salary works. There would be around 14 million to resign Brodziak, Smid, Grebs, a starting Goalie, and a third line UFA center. Remember Pouliot could still center the fourth line and Brodziak woulf bump to third if the UFA center thing fell through. There is no reason to believe that some of our younger players wouldn't be able to take a small step forward... if the first line scores, it takes the pressure off everybody else.

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#32 Ogden Brother
June 09 2009, 12:02PM
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Chris wrote:

Just since we’re dreaming: H-H-H Kid Line (No sophmore slump) Moreau-UFA Center-Pisani Penner-Brodziak-Stortini If you can move O’Sullivan and a top four D for Heatley… and if Smid can play in the top four… the Salary works. There would be around 14 million to resign Brodziak, Smid, Grebs, a starting Goalie, and a third line UFA center. Remember Pouliot could still center the fourth line and Brodziak woulf bump to third if the UFA center thing fell through. There is no reason to believe that some of our younger players wouldn’t be able to take a small step forward… if the first line scores, it takes the pressure off everybody else.

*Falls in love with the new line-up*

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#33 Ogden Brother
June 09 2009, 12:03PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Chris wrote: Just since we’re dreaming: H-H-H Kid Line (No sophmore slump) Moreau-UFA Center-Pisani Penner-Brodziak-Stortini If you can move O’Sullivan and a top four D for Heatley… and if Smid can play in the top four… the Salary works. There would be around 14 million to resign Brodziak, Smid, Grebs, a starting Goalie, and a third line UFA center. Remember Pouliot could still center the fourth line and Brodziak woulf bump to third if the UFA center thing fell through. There is no reason to believe that some of our younger players wouldn’t be able to take a small step forward… if the first line scores, it takes the pressure off everybody else. *Falls in love with the new line-up*

Though I'd move Penner up to play with Cogs/Gagner and rotate JFJ and Nilsson in.

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#34 RossCreek
June 09 2009, 12:05PM
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I wouldn't say its impossible for the Oil to swing a deal for Heatley, but there's gotta be some other destinations that make more sense. LA for example. We've heard how they want to make some moves. San Jose? Vancouver?

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#35 Chris
June 09 2009, 12:11PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Though I’d move Penner up to play with Cogs/Gagner and rotate JFJ and Nilsson in.

If Smid can't play top four minutes, or if a UFA defensive center cannot be had: Cogliano could be moved to address this need. Penner would bump up to line two. However, as is, my proposed lineup has piles of depth in the event of injury. Penner can play wing on any line, on either side. Cogliano could come off the wing and draw in at center.

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#36 Thunder
June 09 2009, 12:14PM
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Bob Cob wrote:

Well Tambellini here you go, if you want to make a name for your self make this Heatley trade happen. I am thinking something in the lines of Gilbert or Souray, Cogliano, Nilsson, throw in the this years first round pick (yes I said it), and maybe you can get him. It might sound like alot but how often do you get a crack at a guy that has scored 50 and is just entering the prime of his career.

Not a chance on the first round pick with 3 roster players, 2 of excellent quality. I would say Gilbert, Cogs and Moreau. Salary is close, Ott gets their PMD, speedy centre that can score and a character forward that brings energy, all of which they need.

We spend one of our 4 PMD, move a guy who is wasting his talents on the 3rd line but with 2 centres ahead of him and make a leadership adjustment. We get a 45 to 55 goal scorer for Hemmer that gives us two realistic. 90 point guys and then Horc could work on that line with 70 points he needs to put up.

You have to give up something to get something. Would we trade Hemmer for Campoli and Fisher? Not a chance!! So lets not think Gilbert and one avg guy will get us Heatly, who has more value than Hemmer.

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#37 Chris
June 09 2009, 12:19PM
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@ RossCreek: Oh yeah. This is all pie in the sky. As for, L.A, Lombardi may want to keep his core of young players and use his cap space to sign a UFA... Wilson in San Jose, however, may want to shake things up. If you were Heatley; would you be against moving to San Jose?

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#38 Chris
June 09 2009, 12:22PM
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Thunder wrote:

Would we trade Hemmer for Campoli and Fisher?

Things change if a trade request was made. I mean, would you trade Pronger for Lupul and Smid?

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#39 Ogden Brother
June 09 2009, 12:48PM
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Chris wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: Though I’d move Penner up to play with Cogs/Gagner and rotate JFJ and Nilsson in. If Smid can’t play top four minutes, or if a UFA defensive center cannot be had: Cogliano could be moved to address this need. Penner would bump up to line two. However, as is, my proposed lineup has piles of depth in the event of injury. Penner can play wing on any line, on either side. Cogliano could come off the wing and draw in at center.

It's more that I just don't see the kid line working again, + I think we'd get fare more offense out of Penner then Nilsson.

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#40 Ogden Brother
June 09 2009, 12:50PM
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Chris wrote:

@ RossCreek: Oh yeah. This is all pie in the sky. As for, L.A, Lombardi may want to keep his core of young players and use his cap space to sign a UFA… Wilson in San Jose, however, may want to shake things up. If you were Heatley; would you be against moving to San Jose?

Heatly + Thorton would be amazing.

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#41 Chris
June 09 2009, 01:00PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

It’s more that I just don’t see the kid line working again, + I think we’d get fare more offense out of Penner then Nilsson.

This was my lineup heading into camp. If Nilsson, or Penner, or anyone else for that matter doesn't come into camp in shape with a fresh attitude... then further moves would be made. I just said Kid line as a quick way of identifying players w/o typing their full names. With injuries, adjustments, and a new coaching staff, who knows how the lines would look.

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#42 RossCreek
June 09 2009, 01:08PM
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Can't recall where (perhaps Sportsnet) but I heard LA is really interested in Ryan Smyth. Now that trade would be a diminished return.

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#43 Oilersordeath
June 09 2009, 01:38PM
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Please dont let Heatley be a Canuck! Please god!! Kings probably have the best to offer for Heatley I think.

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#44 Bob Cob
June 09 2009, 03:53PM
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@ Thunder: @ Ogden Brother: Are you guys kidding me? Thats too much for a 50 goal 100 pt guy? You guys have to be drunk if you think that is too much, Gilbert and Cogliano would be the starting point, see if they will take Nilsson and his seven goals and I would throw in the first round pick this year. You cant trade a 2 Volkwagens for a Porche. You have to make a big move to get Heatley, like a 3 or 4 for 1. Thunder wrote:

I would say Gilbert, Cogs and Moreau.

So your saying Nilsson is better than Moreau that makes no sense.Thunder wrote:

So lets not think Gilbert and one avg guy will get us Heatly, who has more value than Hemmer.

I didn't say that, Gilbert and Cogliano are starting points let see if they will take Nilsson, and sweeten the deal with the pick,

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