Lombardi, on the new guys

Here are Dean Lombardi’s comments on today’s two Kings trade acquisitions. There’s more to come from Lombardi…

Question: Can you talk about Halpern and Modin, what you liked about them and why you think they’re a good fit for this team?

LOMBARDI: “Well, that’s the big word there. I think that, in terms of what was in the marketplace, that was the key thing, to find guys that fit. We looked at the guys we had written down, and we said, `What elements would we like to add to this group, or what fits better right now?’ I think both of these guys bring something that rounds out the mix. It’s not like you’re getting a Hossa or that type of thing. When you’re trying to improve your team, the fit is critical. Halpern was a guy we had targeted well before the break, even, as a possibility. He can do a lot of things. He can do everything from play your fourth-line center to go up — as he did with Tampa Bay — and play on a line with Lecavalier and Malone, because he’s a smart player. He obviously has some experience. He has worn letters in other organizations, so he has shown leadership, and he’s good on faceoffs, he can kill penalities and he’s a smart player. So if you put those things together, we thought we would like to upgrade in that area. Like I said, he can do everything from a fourth-line center to move up, and it gives you a penalty killer.

“Once we had put that in place, the other thing we were looking for was size. A guy who adds some more size to this group, plays heavy, and that’s where Modin kind of comes in. When he’s on his game, he has a Handzus-type game down low. He’s not the fleetest of foot, obviously, but he’s a smart player that can kill penalties and can play with good players. He can move up and down your lineup. The element he brought is that he’s a heavy player to play against, a big boy. Part of the thing of going through this process is cost. We felt this was a way to improve our team without getting into our top prospects and top draft picks, things like that. So I think it worked out. We bridged that gap between getting something that helps this team without getting into your top prospects and picks. When you come back, three or four days ago, you look at all your deal possibilities and it goes right down to the end.

“Remember I said that I thought, because of the Olympic break, the emotion would be out of it and people would know if they were buyers or sellers. I think that happened, and during the break it was clear who was selling. So you knew what was out there. There weren’t any surprises. But what I forgot to take into account was that, if you’re a seller, you want to get as much as you can, and if you make an offer early, they just wait and see if they can get more. So it comes down to the end for the seller, because it’s a classic case of, `Well, I’ve got this now. Can I get more later?’ That’s just what happens. Even with a guy like Freddy Modin, it goes right down to the end, because teams are trying to get as much as they can, and they’re also waiting to see if other people fall. I guess the tradition of the deadline going down to the deadline continues.”

Question: How is Modin’s health?

LOMBARDI: “That was a big issue. The deal is totally on conditions, and one of them is the health, how many games he plays and things like that. Unfortunately, he has been banged up and things. I think, given what we had to give up, it was a good risk to take. He had the knee, but his thing right now is a virus. Apparently at the Olympics, when he sat out at the end, he was in bed with an IV. That’s not structural. Then last night they had to pull him again. I had a scout in there. They had to put him on an IV again. So that’s just some kind of a bug. The fact that he was out had nothing to do with his knee. But he is a guy that’s banged up, over his career. Heavy guys who go in traffic, that happens. But this could be a good fit. If he’s motivated and he comes in here, he’s a smart player that can move up if he has to. It’s a heavy guy that, I think, balances out well with Halpern.”

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