Here’s what Dean Lombardi said today about his trade, which brought in winger Dustin Penner from Edmonton in exchange for defenseman Colten Teubert, the 2011 first-round draft pick and a conditional 2012 third-round pick…
Question: Can you just talk about how the deal got done?
LOMBARDI: “I think it’s a long process. You kind of target a number of players that we thought might fit with us and you kind of whittle it down, not only in terms of the player’s availability but what you’re willing to pay. So, if you look at it, it actually starts a month ago, but when you get down to the last week, there are constant meetings and evaluating and, as usually happens, it goes right down to the end before you finally get something done that makes sense to you.”
Question: How pleased are you to be able to do something like this without giving up Brayden Schenn?
LOMBARDI: “Well, that was a non-starter. In terms of us ever considering a player of Schenn’s category, we never had to agonize over whether we were going to do something. I think one of the things that drives this, though, is we’re pretty proud of our team, with the way we came out of that second slide. It looks like we’ve grown, we’ve learned from our mistakes, and this is one of those times where you look at your team and you say, `You know what? They deserve some help’ and strengthen our locker room and make us a better team. That’s part of the thing. You’ve heard me talk about it in the past. It’s timing, when to start moving picks or prospects. I just felt that there was a little more urgency because of what the players had done to get us to this point. I felt they deserved it.”
Question: Did everything go as planned today?
LOMBARDI: “I don’t know if you can ever say (that). All I know is, when we left here last night, everything was still very much in the air. Also, my experience is that you might get a surprise on the last day that I didn’t anticipate. Did I get any surprises? No, but in terms of this, me going to bed last night thinking this was done, we were far from it.”
Question: The fact that you didn’t have to give up anyone from your roster, how important was that?
LOMBARDI: “There’s no way that we were going to do that. It just didn’t make sense. It’s about making this team better right now. We’re at a different stage with this franchise. To fill a hole and create a hole just didn’t make any sense.”
Question: The fact that he has another year on his contract, how did that factor in?
LOMBARDI: “I think that helps. Obviously we were looking at that. Not only does it fit, in terms of the player and the need — obviously the left wing was kind of sticking out — but he’s locked in. Secondly, it’s not a cost-prohibitive contract. It doesn’t stop us from going out and being aggressive in the summer, for the right player. So it kind of fit for us, on a long-term basis too, in terms of what else we might be able to do.”
Question: Have you spoken to him?
LOMBARDI: “No. Technically, this deal is done. I’m surprised I’m talking about this right now, but seeing as how he’s already on TV, we might as well get our air time. [smiles] No, usually you don’t do that, but this is kind of strange, he has already had his press conference, so…”
Question: Suffice to say he will play with Kopitar?
LOMBARDI: “You know, ultimately that’s up to Murph [Terry Murray], but that certainly would be a logical place to start. But in the end, that is Murph’s call.”
Question: He brings that skill level and net presence…
LOMBARDI: “Yeah. I think you know him here. That’s the other thing that’s attractive about him. Whenever you get a guy that has a Stanley Cup ring — and was a big part of that team, in his own way — that certainly bodes well for somebody that has been through the wars and understands what it takes in the playoffs. But you know, you hit the nail on the head. That’s his strength, his size. The one thing we’ve prided ourselves on here is becoming a team that’s hard to play against. That’s also why sometimes, when you go to the marketplace, I’m skeptical of certain things. This is a guy that would certainly fit that definition, of being hard to play against. You know, you’re also banking on the whole Edmonton experience. You see this in the other sports at times. He comes off a big season, and there’s a lot of pressure that comes with that big contract and expectations. I think, here, he can just come in and fit in. The good thing is, he has played with Greener [Matt Greene] and Stolly [Jarret Stoll], so he can already feel at home. He actually lived with Greener when he was in Edmonton, so there should be a comfort zone right away. So, in a lot of ways, this should be a good fit for us.”
Question: Will he be in L.A. tonight?
LOMBARDI: “That’s a good question. I think you’ve got the immigration thing we’ve got to work through, but we’ll find that out. Obviously we’d like to get him in here as soon as possible.”
Question: Was Brad Richards ever in play?
LOMBARDI: “No, I don’t think he was ever a viable option, pretty much (since) early last week. I think it was probably pretty far-fetched, given where Dallas is and that we’re in the same division. That was highly unlikely.”
Question: If there’s ever been a criticism of Penner, it’s that he kind of cruises at times. Is that something you investigated and were satisfied with?
LOMBARDI: “Yeah, I think that’s one of the criticisms of him, but like I said, the way our team is, the way he will fit in, we have a lot of confidence in Murph and the way he communicates with players, that Murph is the type of coach he will respond to. I think he will get a boost of energy. It will be a good fit for him.”
Question: You had invested a lot in Teubert. What was it like to give him up?
LOMBARDI: “That’s not easy. When I was down in Manchester, he has come a long way. I would say that he started off a little slowly, coming out of his draft year, but he arguably was one of our most improved players down there. I think, probably, the one reason I was able to do this is because we have Matt Greene. What I saw in Manchester was very much, in a lot of ways, a young Matt Greene. So I think Edmonton has got a good player here. He certainly has an m.o. that’s attractive. I think he’s still got some development to do, but there was no question that, with what I saw in Manchester, that he’s on the right track. Like I said, if I didn’t have Matt Greene on this team — and hopefully Greener is going to be here a while — this is something that I would have looked a little more hesitantly at.”
Question: You talked about his relationship with Greene and Stoll. Did you talk to those guys and solicit opinions from them?
LOMBARDI: “Well, somebody had said that because I called Matt Greene in the room that I had traded him, so you might put two and two together on what was asked there. Matt Greene is still here. [laughs]”
Question: You said Schenn was a non-starter. How many calls did you get from teams that were curious about your goalies?
LOMBARDI: “That wasn’t really attractive to me either, quite frankly. I think it’s real important that we have two solid goaltenders. i think we learned last year that you’ve got to be real careful about over-taxing Quicker. And Jon (Bernier) has done a good job. He’s been put in some tough situations and he’s an important guy on this team right now. So that wasn’t a guy that we would profligate out there very freely.”