James Duthie had a chance to go one-on-one with Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi on Countdown to TradeCentre. Just outside of the playoff picture in the West, L.A. is one of the teams that is contemplating being a buyer or seller on Feb. 28.
James Duthie: Over $4 million in cap space, do you expect to be a major player at the deadline?
Dean Lombardi: I don't know if we'll be a player, but we'll certainly be active. But, whether or not something gets done, it takes two to tango and we'll see what happens. But I will definitely say we're active
Duthie: What's your No. 1 need as you head towards the deadline?
Lombardi: I think it's pretty self-evident. Defensively, we're one of the best teams in the league and our biggest need is to increase our scoring. We're pretty deep in terms of our forward position. I think we're probably trying to find, maybe a little better mix, or to upgrade our skill level. To be successful, we have to be more aggressive and score the classic Canadian ugly goals - going to the net, going low to high. I think we're a deep team, and I wouldn't think we need a lot of adjustments in terms of tweaking size or penalty killing or that type of thing. I think we're pretty solid in those roles.
Duthie: Eight teams right now within five points, spanning fourth to 11th place in the West. How do you characterize right now, this playoff race in the Western Conference?
Lombardi: Every game is like a playoff game right now. On the other hand, when you look at what (salary) caps do, and what's happened in other sports, it certainly was projected that this was eventually going to happen as everything evened out. It certainly makes it hard on the general manager and coaches but that's the reality of the cap era. Get used to it. This type of concept is not going to go away.