Dean Lombardi’s full post-draft chat with reporters is posted here below. Again, to be clear, without saying so, Lombardi is referencing the Kings’ willingness to take back Gilbert Brule from Edmonton, knowing full well that they don’t intend to keep Brule and need to use that salary-cap space to replace Ryan Smyth. This interview starts with Lombardi being asked if there was any progress in the trade talks…
LOMBARDI: “Without getting into the details, I guess, no, I don’t think we’re closer. … For this deal to work, under the way Edmonton had proposed it…it’s not done, obviously. I guess you could say it’s a technicality, but the way we had always proposed it, we were always very clear on what we could take back. The thing that’s hard about this is this isn’t a player [Smyth] we were counting on losing. Left wing, it could be considered our weakest position, particularly now if he’s out.
“There have been a number of players like this who have been moved, in the last year of their contract, that are good players. That was the parameters I had set with his agent and with Edmonton. I’m not going to come out ahead on this (trade), but here’s the market. Here’s what Simon Gagne brought, here’s what (Jason) Arnott brought. I had to be honest with Ryan and that’s why I had to include the agent (on talks), because he had to know that once I had resigned myself to do it, I couldn’t go to Edmonton and say, `OK, give me Taylor Hall,’ obviously.
“The point is, you don’t want the player to think you’re not trying. So now this goes on. To me, it was kind of simple, but it’s, OK, if something has to come back (to the Kings) to make this work, then there has to be certain things in place to allow me to run my (salary) cap. If they’re not in place, then this makes no sense. Because I have to replace this player. That’s the only urgency for me. I have to replace him. In order to replace him, whatever I’m taking back has to allow me full freedom to keep that (cap) space available. If that is not there, I can’t do this deal. And those conditions were not there. So there’s no deal.
“It makes no sense for me to lose this player and lose the flexibility. I need to replace him. That’s where it broke down. When it was clear that I couldn’t do what I needed to do with that player I’m taking back, then it’s not what the deal was based on, in any stretch of the imagination, and it certainly doesn’t make any sense for me.
“So I’ll keep working on it. As you guys know, there’s been another team involved. I talked to them today and they’ve got some other issues that aren’t related to us agreeing on the compensation. They’ve got issues relating to the fit.”