LA Kings General Manager Rob Blake sat down for a one-on-one interview with Jim Fox to discuss the deal that sent Jake Muzzin to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and brought back Carl Grundstrom, Sean Durzi and a First Round Pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.
For the audio impaired, there is a full transcription below.
FOX: Rob, every trade has its own circumstances. Could you lead us into the Jake Muzzin situation in the motivation in the timing behind it?
BLAKE: Obviously, I think all of us are on the same page: We’re not happy where our team is and we understand that change has to be made. And changes are going made towards the future, and this was part of those changes.
FOX: Looking ahead, you use the word “future” — can you summarize perhaps what you’re looking for? I know it’s tough to be specific at this time because, again, maybe every day something changes around the Kings around the league. But, as specific as you can get, looking forward to what you’re looking for.
BLAKE: I think every deal kind of changes a little bit. Obviously this was surrounding around our prospects and draft picks. And if you look at the shape of the deal, that’s what it it worked out that way, and we feel need an organization for prospects and draft picks and that’s why we address that.
FOX: Today’s NHL, the status of a Kings, how much of is it acquisition of assets and how much is it cap management going forward?
BLAKE: Both. I don’t think you can be near the bottom of the league and have a high payroll. You have to take care of that aspect. You know, we’ve looked at that throughout the season, the acquisition of of prospects and draft picks and getting that in our system and developing we have to go in that direction that’s where we’re headed.
FOX: Jake’s been around for a long time. Huge part of great success. Does it make it any more difficult that personal attachment you have when you have to, or decide to, let go of a player like Jake?
BLAKE: Sure, I mean if you take a look at the history of the last eight years and then what they’ve been able to accomplish with these teams. The players that were part of that to have taken this franchise to the highest level. Jake was a big part of it. Tremendous defenseman. And going to be a good defenseman — still is a good defenseman — yeah, makes it very difficult. Never easy to do a deal like that.
FOX: Younger players, prospects, they have their unknowns, but they also have their potential. The two players that the Kings acquired in the Jake Muzzin deal, can you kind of give us a scouting report on them?
BLAKE: [Carl] Grundstrom, I think is a player that plays, some of our scouts classify, “the right way.” Plays competitively, plays heavy, does his job, brings a “compete” element every night. Sean Durzi, being in Junior, more of a power play guy. A right shot that can anchor the power play, that brings the puck up and distributes it both with speed and passing.
FOX: Rob, as always, thank you so much for your time, especially at this time of year.
BLAKE: No problem.