I had a few team executives this week tell me he’s in play but only for the type of deal that hands the Kings the top-line forward they’ve been craving. Shut out 1-0 at home by Phoenix Thursday night, I have to imagine Kings GM Dean Lombardi will be even more determined in his efforts to land Rick Nash. Jeff Carter and Ales Hemsky are other possibilities. The Kings can’t score and must make the playoffs. Lots of pressure there.
While it would seem odd to part with Johnson 13 months after signing him to a seven-year, $30.5 million deal, Lombardi’s clearly in “you gotta give to get” territory. Softening the blow of losing Johnson would be that L.A. is solid defensively — Drew Doughty, Willie Mitchell, Rob Scuderi and Matt Greene make for a good top-four — and there’s a plethora of young blueline prospects in the system.
21-year-old Slava Voynov has played 33 games for the Kings this year and has been lauded by head coach Darryl Sutter. 22-year-old Thomas Hickey, the fourth overall pick at the 2007 draft, is one of the leading d-man scorers in Manchester and 19-year-old Derek Forbort — taken 15th overall in 2010 — is still plying his trade for the University of North Dakota.
One more thing to consider with Johnson? According to Capgeek, he doesn’t have a no-trade or no-movement clause.
PHT Morning Skate: Shane Doan takes a (friendly) shot at the Miracle on Ice
The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.
Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.
With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.
Trevor Daley, traded to Blackhawks for Sharp & Johns and to #Pens for Scuderi (who was flipped to LA for Ehrhoff) played 28:41 in G4 W.