Kings general manager Dean Lombardi insists he didn’t trade for Jeff Carter out of desperation.
Nope, it was all part of the plan.
“We were always looking for another high-scoring winger, even when it came up with Carter, it wasn’t just a panic move,” Lombardi said yesterday. “From the plan perspective, I never doubted we were on the right track.”
You’d be forgiven for rolling your eyes.
When Carter – along with his oft-questioned attitude, history of foot injuries, and big, long contract – was acquired from Columbus on Feb. 23, the Kings had lost four in a row and eight of their last 10. They were the NHL’s lowest-scoring team and battling with Calgary, Dallas and Colorado for the eighth and final playoff spot.
In other words, panic would’ve been justified for Lombardi, who many believed could be fired if his team with the big payroll missed the postseason.
“There certainly were some points near the end [of the season] where it got a little dicey,” he admitted.
But it wasn’t a panic move.
The Edmonton Oilers have assigned center Leon Draisaitl to AHL Bakersfield.
The demotion of Draisaitl, 19, means 21-year-old rookie Anton Slepyshev has made the opening-day roster after scoring twice and adding two assists in exhibition action.
The Oilers experimented during the preseason with Draisaitl, a natural center, on the wing. He didn’t have a particularly poor camp, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.
But Slepyshev apparently impressed more.
“He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Journal. “You can see it.”
Slepyshev played 58 games in the KHL last season, scoring 15 goals for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.
A preseason push by a number of Vancouver Canucks youngsters has left forward Linden Vey and defenseman Frank Corrado on waivers today.
The more surprising name of the two is Corrado, the 22-year-old who entered the season with an excellent chance of making the opening-day roster. However, it seems that rookie d-man Ben Hutton, 22, has been given the nod after finishing an eye-opening preseason with one goal and four assists in seven games. (This despite Hutton being waiver exempt. So it’s a risk for the Canucks, to be sure.)
It was the play of 19-year-old rookie Jared McCann that led, in part, to the waiving of Vey. (For more on that, click here.) Veteran Adam Cracknell remains with the team as well, to some surprise.
Rookie winger Jake Virtanen is also expected to be on Vancouver’s opening-day roster, though that’s no big shock.
Defenseman Alex Biega is also on waivers, as expected.