Kings GM: Gaborik is as ‘smart defensively as he is offensively’

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No doubt about it, Marian Gaborik has been a huge addition to the Los Angeles Kings, but most people (understandably) focus on his impressive offensive contributions.

LA Kings Insider goes in-depth with GM Dean Lombardi to look back at the team’s quest to boost its offense (“without selling your soul” by hurting their elite defense) and how seamlessly Gaborik is fitting in.

Lombardi cited Gaborik’s early development with Jacques Lemaire as a member of the Minnesota Wild organization to share a startling observation: the outstanding sniper is excellent defensively, too.

“He’s as smart defensively as he is offensively, and he had been trained that way, and he had also been trained that defense was a priority to the point where maybe there was that criticism out there to turn him loose,” Lombardi said.

“Traditionally, the European player has been a 200-foot player when you look at the Larionovs and the Fedorovs and the Hossas of the world. He had been schooled, and he would fall into that category even before he got to Minnesota.”

It’s not that surprising to note that Gaborik, 32, tops all playoff goal scorers with 12 so far (Jeff Carter and Jonathan Toews are tied for second with nine), although it’s worth noting that the talented winger has been getting some bounces. His 18.5 shooting percentage is considerably higher than his 10.7 percentage from the regular season and 12.9 career mark.

From the sound of things, the Kings would be accept a slower scoring pace from Gaborik if he continues to be responsible in his own zone, too. Even if plenty of people think of him as a one-dimensional player.