It’s been quite a run for Teddy Purcell with the Kings. Signed as an undrafted free agent by the Kings in 2007, after one season at the University of Maine, Purcell had 83 points in 67 games in his first season with Manchester but, in parts of three seasons — for whatever reason — never found his role with the Kings. In 91 games, he totaled eight goals and 17 assists.
It seemed as though this could be Purcell’s season. He started it as the second-line left winger, but quickly fell into a fourth-line role. Purcell also had stints on the first and third lines, and was a healthy scratch for 21 games.
LOMBARDI: “I think this is a good move for Tampa. You see this all the time, and it’s a dangerous thing. Sometimes when kids break in, and then they hit the wall, I hate to use this word but sometimes they do need a fresh start. I think Teddy had kind of hit it. The one thing, to his credit, is that through this entire period, he never stopped working hard in practice. That’s a great sign, that the kid never got frustrated and started pouting in practice. That never happened with him. I’ve seen kids go through that, and then they start going south on you. He kept on working.
“I just think he lost his confidence. Guys like him, with his skill, he’s got to have confidence because his game relies on having the puck and making plays. I think he made an honest effort to increase his grit, and I think it improved. But, as we move forward here, you’re looking at where your team is now, and this team deserves some help to maybe get a better fit right now, and try and improve it. You just wonder, as we move through this, was he ever going to find his game in time? These are the judgments, and it’s not easy. He’s a great kid and he’s got a lot of talent, but sometimes you have to try to improve your team.
“would I have made a deal like this two years ago? No. We were not in this position. We had to give up a good young player, but we kept all our top picks this year, in the first and second and we still have two thirds, and I didn’t get into Schenn or Clifford or Bernier or these two guys. We felt it was a fair balance. I’ve seen this before. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a fresh start and, boom, some things come back for him. But unfortunately, he probably he hit a wall here. It’s a good move for Tampa to take a shot at him.”
And Terry Murray’s thoughts…
Question: Can you try to put Teddy’s stint with the Kings in some perspective? He was tried in a few different roles but it seemed like it was never able to last for a while…
MURRAY: “Well, not just a while. It never did. Teddy’s role is to be an offensive player. That is the skill that he brings. That’s his strength. That’s — as I told him several times in meetings that I had with him — the trump card that you have, and that’s what you have to show all the time. No one has the ability to play the game on the perimeter all the time. You have to play in that heavy going, in the hard areas. I thought, at times, there were games when I would say, `Wow, what a great play. He’s buying in. He identifies what he needs to do in order to be a player in the NHL and this shows me that he’s really digging in to get it done.’
“Unfortunately for me, in my view of it, that would be there for a couple games and then there was a big step backward. He has great potential. He’s good as good a skill as anyone when it comes to contributing in the offensive zone, on the power play. He sees the ice, he can shoot, he can score, he can make plays. So there were a lot of things that all of us liked about Teddy. It’s a move that you make. You’re trying to get ready for right now. We have a good thing going, and we’re trying to make a push to get ourselves into the postseason. I know, from experience, the kind of demands that are put on players when it gets to that best-of-seven series. It’s going to be hard, and it’s heavy and it’s a grind. We made this change, knowing that the kind of player we’re bringing in is going to give us that kind of effort.”