…in a few years.
So Dean Lombardi has done it again, by trading Tim Gleason and Eric Belanger to the Hurricanes for Oleg Tverdovsky and super defensive prospect Jack Johnson. Johnson is rated by hockeysfuture.com as the third overall best prospect currently. This is a tremendous deal, but will not affect the Kings’ chances of making the playoffs this season. In fact, it may decrease it some. But, you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs.
However, I think Deano has been looking over my shoulder when I play my EA 2004 game. You see, in this game for the Playstation2, you can run a franchise for 20 seasons in the game. You can pick a team, draft the roster and run the team, it’s quite in-depth. So much so that I haven’t finished it. (I’ve just finished year 19, with my pernnenial winger, Ilya Kovalchuk, 30 points away from Wayne Gretzky’s actual all-time scoring record.) During the course of the game, you have to deal with keeping your salary low while keeping butts in the seats. It was a tough thing to do, until I read a stategy that makes it super easy to stay young while winning Cups.
You just keep track of who was the number one pick the previous year, and remember who drafted him. Then, when the season starts, you offer that team some crappy player and a draft pick in exchange for their number one pick. Rookies are usually rated low when they enter the league, so it’s easy pickings. The game’s AI is stupid, so it’ll trade if the ability levels are the same. Hey, it’s a video game… there’s always a glitch.
This same thinking has allowed Lombardi to cherry pick two highly-touted prospects this preseason, first with Patrick O’Sullivan, drafted #56th overall by the Wild, and now Johnson, drafted third overall in the Crosby draft of 2005. The Hurricanes get immediate help on their blue line with Gleason, since several ‘Cane D-men are shelved with injuries. And the Kings get a young defenseman who, according to Deano himself, should finish the season in Michigan and be in a Kings uni by the end of the season!
The loss of Eric Belanger opens up a spot of Kopitar, who has had a great preseason, and the Kings get a vet on defense who’s good on the offensive side. As far as I can see, L.A. has Kopitar and O’Sullivan penciled in for the big roster. When was the last time the Kings had a top C prospect, top LW prospect, top D prospect, and a top G prospect in their farm system? Never. Dean clearly has a long-range plan for the club. This season may be a lost cause, but look out in the near future.