From Gauthier to Carter: Trading For Former Flyers Doesn’t Make You The Flyers

An optimist would believe that Dean Lombardi acquires former Flyers because he values the identity that is instilled in them from their time in Philadelphia; the culture. It would be a bit disheartening to think that Lombardi keeps adding players from his former employer out of neurotically compulsive myopia, psychopathic reminiscence or mystic notions of energy abortion that would be more becoming on a gypsy than a GM.

To believe it a coincidence would just be stupid.

The Kings’ GM is quite upfront about his love of Flyer’s hockey. He has mentioned that word, culture, in reference to and with reverence of the club that once called him ‘scout’ several times. Many have dubbed the Los Angeles Kings as ‘Flyer’s West’, and with good reason. Denis Gauthier, Michal Handzus, Justin Williams, Terry Murray, John Steven, Simon Gagne, Mike Richards and now Jeff Carter. I think there were more I missed too. We make jokes, just two days ago it was ‘Jeff Carter. Former Flyer, check. Injured, check. It’s a perfect fit!’ The best jokes have a degree of truth to them. This one has more than a degree.

Why does Dean Lombardi love former Flyers? You may say “because he wants to emulate the Flyers!”, but truly, Lombardi has done anything but that in building this team.

The Flyer’s play a cruel game. Their strength is speed and hounding the net. They attack like a swarm and for years, struggled to succeed because they didn’t put enough emphasis on defense and goaltending. They were all about the forwards, baby. In a sense, they still are. Though they made the big move to get Chris Pronger, even many of their trades for defenseman have been for the offensive type. Matt Carle, Kimmo Timonen and now Pavel Kubina. They must have players up front and on the backend who can mesh well into their high octane brand of hockey. Score a goal and ask questions later.

Meanwhile, Dean has strategically done the opposite to the Kings. He has mostly acquired defensive defensemen, Greene, Mitchell, Scuderi, Gauthier, Brad Stuart, Sean O’Donnell. Sure he traded for Jack Johnson and drafted some offensive types, but the goal was always balance. However the goal is damned when the effect is that by keeping the veterans as all defensive types, he has had his young offensive defenseman learning strictly from defensive defensemen. The theory is that it allows the young guns to run wild, but the truth is that it helps further define the team defensively.

That was no mistake. He brought in Terry Murray strictly to do just that, shore up the defense. He hired Darryl Sutter to continue that tradition.

At forward, he has always asked that his centers and wingers become more defensively responsible. You have never heard Lombardi say something like “we want Kopitar to dominate defensemen down low and be a top scorer in this league” because he never said anything like that. He wanted Kopitar to learn to defend against the other offensive dynamos, Joe Thornton and Ryan Getzlaf, etc. Never to match them in offensive prowess, merely to contain it. He traded away Brian Boyle, Mike Cammalleri and Teddy Purcell because their strength was offense with not enough attention to defense. He let Matt Moulson go without a care for the same reason.

That is not the Flyer way.

The Flyers are a team that likes to mix dazzling offensive skill with raw brutality. We are a team that likes to mix sound defensive reads with character and grit… Compete. The Flyers’ motto isn’t ‘compete’, it’s ‘wear those assholes down’.

We kind of had that team the last two years. Frolov, Handzus, Smyth. These were guys built to wear you down, though mostly through lower halves built like tree trunks and not the dominating physicality that the Flyers employ. We may be tops in the league in hitting, but I’m not talking about hitting. I’m talking about battling. I’m talking about fighting for the inches of ice that get you closer to the front of the net. We don’t have that. That is not our identity and no matter how many former Flyers you tack on to this team, that doesn’t make it anymore our identity.

Are you confused about what kind of team the Kings are supposed to be? Me too.

First we were supposed to be a grind it out down low team. Then we were supposed to be a more skilled team. Meanwhile all we are is a defensive team and all the GM talks about is modeling the team after another team that in no way resembles anything that has been done to this team.

So you may say that trading for Jeff Carter brings us more towards that offensive team but truly it just means we added another former Flyer. The team’s identity doesn’t change. The culture and intention didn’t change. If anything it only got more confused. The Flyers are 1st in offense. We are 30th.

You can cut down a tree and bring it to the city, but it won’t turn the city into a forest.

Categories: L.A. Kings News

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30 replies

  1. Surly, I have two points: One is that I think you just wrote such a fantastic post. I mean, just my two cents, but I find it super insightful and rather perfect.

    Second, not saying other people won’t pick up on this (and frankly I don’t even know how much you did…… and you wrote it, but) – you put the key word into the article and it says Everything.

    The word is: INTENTION

    And to me the intent is not clear at all. Look at the great teams. The intent is very clear. I can see it and I don’t even follow them. But the intention here is now blurred. And henceforth you point out that now it’s more confused than ever, and I’m gonna agree with you on that.

  2. Lombardi still works for the Flyers. Why isn’t that obvious to anyone but me, is crazy talk! Jokes aside, I think Dean has done nothing but make sure the Flyers are a better team, and he tries to make sure that the Flyers mistakes are brushed under the rug. This is complete bullshit on my part, but it could be true Surly, it could be…

  3. Any chance that the Flyers GM is the only one who’ll deal with DL? Just because you’re a GM, don’t mean the other boys gotta let you play in their clubhouse.

    • Lombardi is a shitty negotiator, the lame duck of the GMs club. The way hes gone out publicly about Kovalchuk not signing, sort of scorned, thats probably how he’s like behind closed doors about all the other GMs. “Theyre assholes, they never tell me anything, they never want to give their best players, I DONT LIKE THIS GAME MOMMY! IM NOT GOOD AT IT!”

      Except his ex-team, the Flyers, who sort of are his mommy. He feels more comfortable with them, he puts up with them more and doesn’t feel as much scorn towards them, which allows him to actually do his job and explore options with them.


    We won this trade easily and you all are whining like little girls. It’s like I’m in some alternate universe where Jack Johnson is Brian Fucking Leetch.

    • This article isn’t about how good or bad Johnson or Carter are or were.

      I’m glad we finally have a sniper in Carter. I’m just not sold on him having anywhere near the kind of success he enjoyed in Philly because we just don’t play that type of game an I feel lied to in a sense because trading for former Flyers gives off the impression that Dean wants to bring that kind of game to LA, when that just isn’t the case.

      • Yeah Surly, you should do some research and list all the players that Lombardi knew, coaches he knew before, not sure what the story is w the scouts…. all that have come thru LA. It’s a bit of a ———– if you ask me.

        I’d love to see him do something a bit risque in that he actually didn’t know the coach, scout, player before.
        That goes right thru to Moreau and Hunter who both worked out superbly well as we know.

        I’m tired, I don’t see the team going in a good direction. They have some talent, but as you point out, they don’t have much of an identity. If the best you can say about your identity is ‘we’re Philly west’……. man, you’re in big trouble.

    • I agree I am sick of hearing about how could we trade the almighty Jack Johnson. We easily won this trade, Carter will get us 30-40 goals and JJ is a liablility on the back end, not to mention VV needs to be up with the big club and is better than JJ and $3.5 mill cheaper. As for the first round pick, this is the year of the defencemen in the draft and we already have a great crop of young D in our system. Last but not least look at our cap space in the off-season. After we re-sign Willie we should have $10-10.5 mill to spend on whatever we want, and not to mention a great trade chip in Bernier (after Quick is signed to an extension of course). We can go hard after some of the ufa talent out there like Parise, Suter, Parenteau or even Semin.

      I for one am one happy Kings fan with this trade, and NO don’t expect Carter to light it up right away either, it takes players time to get used to new line mates and system.

    • That article is way off, and JJ’s coverage against top offensive players was skewed by Murray.

      His ice time against those players was just like DD’s, but DD’s def zone starts were 118, and JJ’s was 142.

      DD’s coverage has always been to find a mismatch offensively, or a head to head match up offensively, while JJ’s coverage was specifically designed by Murray (who could care less about +/-) to cover the top offensive players mainly in the defensive zone.

      So while DD’s +/- would fluctuate with the offensive side of the goal differential, JJ’s would fluctuate with it on the defensive side. Murray could care less, because JJ scored on the power play.

      With no offense to bring it up 5 on 5, and the Kings barely scoring against top 6 players, and Murrays constant tinkering with combinations with DD to even out everybody elses +/-, JJ’s +/- looked like a train wreck.

  5. @Phil – Surly isn’t really talking about the trade, per say, but more along the lines of what’s wrong with our headless team this season. We are chickens with our heads cut off, albeit some balls but lacking the brass. This team is still in the pre-season trying to figure themselves out, and it’s a shame that it has taken 60 games for them to figure it out.

    Is it the players fault? The failures of Penner and Gagne and the core not stepping up to the plate? Doughty’s holdout? Dean Lombardi? Murray + Sutter and their ‘system’? It’s confusing, but I think it’s all a bit of everything.

  6. it totally makes the city a forest.

  7. Anyone else feel Brown is on the way out? I hope we keep him.

  8. Hey Surly I cant remember if its you or Scribe, I think its Scribe who writes about Hammond’s parenthesis. It has always annoyed the shit out of me too.

    Here’s one, a perfect storm example that drives me fucking nuts:

    “So we’re hoping to (have him play), but we’re not going to cut any corners here, as far as making sure he goes through the x-ray machines.”

    This one makes me want to smash something. I mean what the Fuck?? I wanna know what DL said there, not what Hammond wants him to say. Usually when using parenthesis, if you ignore what’s between them, the sentence still makes sense. In this case Hammond has (for his own self masturbatory grammatical showboating) gutted the sentence for no real purpose.

  9. … This was why I was calling the Kings the FlyersLite before the season started.

    Are you confused about what kind of team the Kings are supposed to be?

    … Nope, not at all. This is a primarily defensive/goaltending oriented team that ideally wants to put just enough goals on the board to enable that defense and goaltending to bring them home a win. It’s not very complex.

    The battle has been there. The effort has been there. The chances have been there. The game plan is solid. Very few teams have consistently outchanced the Kings over the course of any given game. But – for one reason or ten, the Kings’ shooting percentages are way down; the puck seems to find a way to stay out of the net more often than not.

    The true issue is not even that the Kings replaced one defensive coach with an even more defensive coach. I mean, that didn’t help, and it wasn’t necessary, but the issue runs deeper than that. There has been adversity brought on by mismanagement and a total lack of leadership from the front office this season, there were completely unrealistic expectations in place before any success had even been gained, there has been a crisis of confidence throughout the team, and the club (in my opinion) has been generally unlucky.

    I don’t want to say this has been a lost season when there are still 22 games to play. But everything that’s gone on up to this point seems to point to an off-year. All the symptoms of that are readily apparent. I’m not ready to write it all off, yet. But, people who have been watching the Kings for a long time have seen seasons like this. Sometimes, it’s just not your year. I didn’t think after winning the Miracle on Manchester series that the Kings would go completely in the tank and miss the playoffs for the next two years. I didn’t think after their most solid season in years, in 01-02, that the Kings wouldn’t go back to the postseason for almost a decade.

    I am glad that the Kings addressed a need to improve their ability to convert the chances they will create on offense. I am glad they’ve opened up a permanent spot for a young defenseman who, I believe, can flat out play. I’m glad to see that the Kings haven’t given up on this season just yet. If they somehow can salvage a playoff spot in a down season like this, it will build their confidence as a whole. They can look to the next season and think “OK, we got through all of the bullshit last season, we found we can stay reasonably competitive despite a complete lack of offense, and there won’t be any more silly fucking slogans about how ‘the time is now’. Maybe the franchise can get their heads in the right place and concentrate on what matters the most – producing results on the ice.

    I don’t see Lombardi getting fired in the offseason, regardless of what happens. I don’t see Sutter going anywhere, either. Perhaps some perspective can be regained. Perhaps Lombardi can say “if this is going to be my last year here, I’m going to do things MY way” and tell Leiweke, in effect, to shove his meddling nose up his ass. Perhaps a training camp with Sutter at the helm will give the team the opportunity to improve their focus, find some balance to the everyday lineup and solidify their roles within the club, and approach the season with a degree of optimism. Maybe there’s some truth to the proverb “that which does not kill us will make us stronger.”

    • Unless it just hasn’t killed us yet…

    • Maybe this year is the opposite of the year we got the other Carter. That year we were in really good shape heading into March, then lost what, 10 games in a row to finish the season and miss the playoffs?

      Maybe we gt a better Carter while struggling and out of the playoffs and finish strong to get in.

      It could happen.

      And I know what you mean by the identity. I mean when you look from year to year. I’ve never seen the general makeup and style of play change in a team so drastically from one year to the next as it did last year to this year. We were installing one style of play in the players while acquiring players that went against that same ideology in a way. Even Murray and the players said that they tried to change up the system, make it more high flyin this season, and it didn’t work, because it was half hearted and half the players had just spent 3 years learning how to play the opposite of that style. It’s all very strange and seemingly uncoordinated.

      • ‘And I know what you mean by the identity. I mean when you look from year to year. I’ve never seen the general makeup and style of play change in a team so drastically from one year to the next as it did last year to this year. ‘

        Yep. Exactly. How anyone can find that to be a good thing I’m not quite sure. If I felt it were a gradual shifting of approach by Lombardi instead of a grasping at straws trying to make something work, then I’d probably feel better about it.

        But I don’t. I don’t care for it at all. Cause it went from one identity to a ‘what the hell is their identity’?

        • …… and before Sutter was brought in, Mike Keenan (everytime I mention a pundits comments…. someone seems to take me to task and say the person is an idiot……so this is preemptive….Keenan Won A Stanley Cup so you’re welcome to say what you want folks) – back to Keenan, he said that the Kings lacked an identity and that they were ‘vanilla’.

          Yeah, great job by the GM to create such an extraordinary identity. Where are those photos that Scribe posted again?

    • Oh, I’m sorry, were you referencing to the stats that say Harrold is better defensively than Mitchell and Scuderi and that Sean O’Donnell and Scuderi are about level with Drew Doughty offensively?

      Oh wait, no, no, you were referencing the stats that say last year the Kings were best off having Harrold and Martinez out there together.

    • MB,
      You should read the other posts on the thread.

      I am a big David Johnson fan, but I disagree with him here.

  10. How can you forget the favorite defenseman Randy Jones, the unknown Rob Bordson, Stefan Legein.

    I am sure there are probably a few others out there, but like I had said before the season started, the boards at Staples should have Geno’s Cheese Steak banners, just to make the players comfortable.

    I just can’t wait to see Leonard and Squiggy double penetrating Paris Hilton, while Joffrey, has his stick inside the mouth of Paris.

    I’m sure Leonard and Squiggy have crossed swords before.



  11. Now we get to see some real binge drinking by Carter and his side kick Richards.

    Jack was a party pooper and would go home and read his books and have some Tazo Passion Tea…


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