June 23, 2013 2:37 pm

Dean Lombardi discusses trade with Toronto

On how long the trade discussions had developed with Toronto:
“Since last year. [Reporter: Well, what took you so long?] Actually, David was very aggressive on this, so back in the beginning of last year, as soon as the lockout had ended, and I don’t blame him. This is a good young goalie. So actually, last year he we had talked a number of times. From my perspective, I wasn’t completely convinced that it was time to move Jon. I just didn’t feel good about the timing of it for the team, and there was a lockout and everything. In the end, thank God I didn’t move him, because he was clearly instrumental in us making the playoffs, and Quick struggled at times. But it’s fair to say that actually as soon as Dave got the job, he was by far the most persistent. And then when the season ended, we picked it up again. So it might be safe to say that we’ve been talking about this for eight months. But in the end, like I said, I’m glad I didn’t trade Jon Bernier at the time because he was really good this year and was instrumental in us making the playoffs.”

On the importance of receiving a goaltender in return:
Well, I think what happened here – it’s hard to describe. The hard part on this one was first we came to the conclusion that after this year we were going to have to move him…One, it was very clear that the player had asked to be moved last year, but again, we convinced him to do the best he can, and that was an obligation to the team which he fulfilled to a T. But in fairness, we knew that he deserved the chance at this point to be a number one. And like I’ve been saying throughout this process, unfortunately in today’s game, you are not allowed to have a Grant Fuhr and an Andy Moog. It’s almost like, too, what you see in the NFL. I don’t know who can have two number one quarterbacks. So that’s just the reality [of] what I’m dealing with. You just work through the process. I mean, we made it difficult, as you have to run – and I don’t particularly relish these deals, because…you don’t start out with a hockey deal. It’s almost an asset deal. So it’s a very different discussion with general managers in that I’m running an auction here. So part of the mix too in all this is not only moving a goalie and getting what you can, but also making the contract coming back your way fit. So getting the back-up goalie that we feel can be solid – and actually we also feel has some upside here – and then also the contracts for both players fit within the scheme of what we have to accomplish here going forward to keep our own players. So it’s not only getting a back-up goalie that’s important. It’s a guy that we believe has some upside and will be good in that role as he continues to improve, but also the contracts allow us to continue to focus on keeping this team together…When you’re saying you’re running an asset deal, those assets that you’re evaluating are also evaluated in terms of fitting within the scheme of keeping your team together in an era which is very difficult because the cap all of a sudden did a radical change in coming down. And so, again. So it’s not this one issue. It was a very difficult deal to make. There was a lot of due diligence, a tremendous amount of phone calls to narrow it down to the teams that were serious, and then trying to pull the trigger convinced that this was the best deal you were going to get.”

On reports on Toronto keeping parts of Frattin’s and Scrivens’ salaries:
“Well, they ain’t sources from around here…it is what it is, I guess. It’s fair to say that that would be something I would’ve looked at, given that I just spoke about contracts and things and keeping the team together and trying to get the best deal. Arguably, if that’s accurate, then obviously it fits within the scheme of what I’m trying to do.”

On whether the trade is an indication that Martin Jones isn’t ready for a back-up role:
“I think it’s fair to say we’d like to see Jonesy take another step in his development. Like a lot of young goalies, he was really good at times. He’s on the same path – I’m not saying he’s going to be as good of a goalie – but his development cycle is kind of similar to the other guys. Again, I’m not comparing him to Quick and Bernier – more development cycle, and I think it’s fair to say we’d like to see him continue to improve his play and then also, like so many young players, is to nail down the consistency. So still a very good prospect, but I think you know how I feel about giving kids proper time to develop.”

On his evaluation of Frattin, and how the winger “fits in with the forward group”:
“Well, this is a kid that we’ve known well and actually I’ve kind of been impressed with him since his career at North Dakota. We had a very good book on him in terms of looking. He kept finding us when he was at North Dakota. This was a guy that I actually tried to trade for two years ago when he was just coming out of school. What happened here is when you’re doing this deal, I had two or three players that are, say, comparable in terms of players that hockey people would say ‘oh, you know, this is close.’ So that was kind of how we narrowed it down before I went to the other issues that pushed this deal over the hump. What he does – and what we’re hoping – like a lot of young players, number one, he’s improved defensively, and also, again, like a lot of young players, be consistent. That said, there’s a lot of tools here to work with. He’s got a knack – if anybody’s seen him – he shows up in scoring areas. He’s got that knack of being in the right place. He’s got a great release. He certainly upgrades our speed, and he’s got some grit, which was something, too, that when we went to the marketplace, we wanted to stay within our M.O. of guys that can play in this conference, too, as we saw, how critical it is that you’re capable of dealing with the St. Louises and the San Joses of this world. So he fit that M.O. And I think…[if you] watched him during the playoffs how often he ran into Chara. I’m not saying you’re going to move that guy, but just the fact that he showed a willingness to do that – there’s a lot to work with here, and that’s kind of what was attractive to us, and we think that with our centers and things, that this could be a good fit for us. He’s young, so that fit. And like I said, this is an unfinished product, but universally on our staff, we really tracked this kid. He’s got some spots. Got to learn to be a pro. But there’s a lot to work with here if we can keep him on the right track. He’s got some things that are hard to find. But it’s still all about becoming a pro. I think he’s the type of kid that I think Darryl will also find a way to get to. But it’s very difficult. The reality isn’t all this. It’s very difficult to get value for a number one goalie, and we see this time and time again, and I’ve mentioned this once before when I knew back in the old days when there was going to be a problem with Kiprusoff and Nabokov. It’s very difficult to get market value for a guy who’s going to be a number one. But you do the best you can, and like I said, this was the best deal. Toronto was certainly aggressive, but you get a number one goalie, you can’t put a price tag on that…You see the success we’ve had and the importance of our goaltender, but just sometimes it seems it’s not ‘sexy’ to trade for goalies. It seems that there’s that sentiment out there – like Scotty Bowman said, ‘you don’t appreciate them until you ain’t got one.’ So, again, I think this is a good deal for both teams given the circumstances.”

On whether Matt Frattin’s acquisition impacts a potential move to the left side for Tyler Toffoli:
“That’s a question for Darryl. Obviously Darryl’s very much abreast of whenever we make personnel moves, and that is an issue that perhaps is the right shot, but he was pretty confident that he can make this work. If this player does what we think he’s capable of, we’ll find a way to fit this in. That’s a question there mostly for Darryl.”

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