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"The Babcock Era Begins... Stanley Cup or Bust for LA Kings..."
34 Years Old • Male
June 23

I will admit that whenever the two teams you like or support get together and make a deal, it is always fun and interesting. This is especially true when they both go head-to-head during the season.

The bottom line of this trade is that the Los Angeles Kings had a small window in which to find the best deal for their top-notch buried goaltender Jonathan Bernier. Whether Toronto is the best fit or not, remains to be seen.

I wonder if the New York Islanders perhaps balked at giving up their young pieces such as Michal Grabner, Matt Martin, Josh Bailey just to name a few. And also, the same with the Edmonton Oilers with all the youth they've got stockpiled. In my opinion, those two teams are the real losers. When all is said and done, without a true #1 netminder, teams do not have much of a chance in the playoffs. A tandem of the aging Evgeny Nabokov and whoever else on Long Island and a duo of Nikolai Khabibulin and Devin Dubnyk are not going to get the job done. Without a true starting goalie, both of these teams could very well miss out on the top eight, even after a decent showing by the young Islanders this short season.

I guess the positive thing is that the Toronto Maple Leafs will not have to worry about the Islanders, Philadelphia or New Jersey when it comes to battle between netminders in the near future. I would be surprised to see the Flyers stand tall between the pipes with two proven failures and the Devils with a couple of solid but old goaltenders who may not have a whole lot left to offer, especially come playoff time. Martin Brodeur may have been the best goaltender in recent history in the NHL, but let's face it, his best times are well past him.

Another Toronto writer pointed out immediately after the trade that since the Ed Belfour and Curtis Joseph era, the Maple Leafs did not need to strengthen their goaltending. As I mentioned before in an earlier blog, I still think that a tandem of James Reimer and Ben Scrivens was good enough to get through the playoffs. Reimer did allow some bad goals, most specifically in overtime of game four, but the game seven third period collapse falls mostly on the shoulders of Carl Gunnarsson, Dion Phaneuf and perhaps a little on coach Randy Carlyle for not putting his best guys on the ice in the final minutes. Do not forget that without Reimer, the Leafs would have most likely been done in five games, not overtime of game seven. This is why I am still very skeptical of the trade.

The good thing about young Mr. Reimer is that he seems to be a very humble and hard working guy. Hopefully, with the acquisition of another solid young goaltender will only push him to be better and ultimately get to the Finals in the near future.

The only thing I can imagine what was going on in the head of GM Dave Nonis was the question of health when it comes to Reimer. Let's not forget the ugly concussion he had in October of the previous season and also the fluke knee injury after making a fairly routine save in a game during this short season. If that was the main reason for Nonis to go out an find another goaltender, then I am ok with it. Perhaps he did not see Ben Scrivens as a suitable #1, and I sort of see eye-to-eye with him on that. Scrivens will be a decent understudy to Jonathan Quick in LA and will also be able to give Quick some of the needed rest during an 82-game schedule. Plus, with the solid defensive structure of the Kings compared to a similar style, but a learning curve nonetheless under Carlyle in Toronto, Scrivens should be more than just a nice backup.

Now, moving over to the Kings side of the deal. I am glad they were able to wind up with Matt Frattin. I even mentioned his name in my previous blog and see him as a nice fit with the Kings.

In December of 2011, I recall the pretty game-tying goal Frattin scored against the Kings in Toronto, which was my first Maple Leaf game at the Air Canada Centre (plus it had to be against the Kings which I had been waiting to see all my life...call it a bucket list item!). Frattin is also a big kid, at 6 foot and weighing about 200 pounds. He can skate and has soft hands to be a solid playmaker alongside guys like Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards. His game-winning goal in overtime against Buffalo in January is just the type of speed burst the Kings need to help overcome the Chicago Blackhawks.

But there is still plenty of work to be done with both teams. The extra cash from Toronto may be used to help resign Rob Scuderi, however I think it would be best to search for another speedy winger or two. Scuderi will need to accept a little bit smaller paycheck, but it may be worth sticking around a team that has a pretty good chance to win again.

Other guys the Kings could be taking a look at are Mason Raymond, Clarke MacArthur (who was a frequent line mate of Frattin in Toronto), Michael Ryder, and Viktor Stalberg whom I forgot to mention in the previous post, who I think would be a nice fit.

As of now, I am not going to speculate as to what in the world Nonis has up his sleeve. More reports are swirling around that the Leafs are making everyone available to trade, even captain Phaneuf. At first I thought the rumors for Bernier were just talk, but after it happened, and quite quickly, then it could be very fun new few weeks for Toronto hockey news. I just hope the pending roster additions and subtractions make sense for a young team going forward.

I will end with this, I mentioned in the previous post that I probably would not approve of a Bernier-to-Toronto deal. Two years ago I suggested that the Leafs could take a chance on acquiring Bernier, but that was well before Reimer came onto the scene. In the end, the Kings just got a little bit better without giving up anyone who helped get past the Blues and Sharks in the playoff run. Bernier did help the King mount a pretty successful regular season, but this Kings team must now be all about the playoffs and getting back to the Cup. The addition of Matt Frattin is a good step in getting back to that. The addition of someone like Raymond, Stalberg or someone else who can skate like the wind and has some offensive talent may be enough to see Brown and company hoist the Cup again next summer.

Whether the Maple Leafs are close to that, remains to be seen as to what Nonis and company figure out in the coming months. Or perhaps days after the abruptness of today's trade.

If all goes somewhat well with the Toronto offseason, then a possible date with Lord Stanley's Cup could be just a year or two away.

How big an if? ... We'll see.
June 24, 2013 12:36 PM ET | Delete
Reimer/Bernier > Reimer/ScrivensLeafs hedged their bets in goal and for the low low price of Frattin, Scrivens and a 2nd. No offence to the ex-leafs (loved frattin) but at the end of the day they are replaceable players.
June 24, 2013 1:19 PM ET | Delete
Solid trade for both sides. Bernier is a beauty.
June 24, 2013 1:56 PM ET | Delete
I agree they are replacable players, but this trade there will be no winner or loser for at least another year. We have to wait to see how well reimer takes this and if they push each other, or one regresses. over all i liked the trade, but now we play the waiting game. I do hope Nonis has a card up his sleeve to get clakson and a center!the idea of phanuef to the avalance was intreeging....would be a block buster if it did happen.
June 24, 2013 5:15 PM ET | Delete
Walk-Talk, where/when did you hear something about Phaneuf to Colorado?
June 24, 2013 5:18 PM ET | Delete
Nidnus, I am curious as to why you think Frattin was that replaceable...It seems to me like the Maple Leafs were treating him much like Kadri before this season. The kid was constantly up and down, playing with two teams and two different types of hockey between the NHL and AHL. I still think he has the ability to be a top six forward, which is fairly hard to find, especially building within your own organization. In LA, he will fit in perfectly with any of those playmakers. He could even wind up on the top line at some point. Bottom line, the Kings got what they needed in some respect, and the Maple Leafs added another piece in which they did not necessarily have to strengthen.
June 24, 2013 7:11 PM ET | Delete
I dont like losing frattin, but other than that we didnt really give up much, seeing we got a potential young starting goalie.
June 24, 2013 7:35 PM ET | Delete
Both teams I believe wind up coming out of this ahead. It was a mutually beneficial hockey deal.Kings did the right thing in moving Bernier to a place he has a chance to show and claim the starter job. Bernier was loyal and despite wanting that and being buried behind Quick, did his job and never complained. In him the Leafs get a promising young netminder who can play and has the potential to carry a team and be a starter. It also addresses the bigger issue of Reims durability given the injuries over the past couple seasons. No way does Nonis want to have Reims out 10 to 20 games and drop a potential 20 to 40 points.Leafs trade Scrivens, an AHL starter but no more really than an NHL backup. Good goalie but replaceable. Kings get a cheaper and solid NHL backup for Quick and a good character guy. Frattin at best is a 2nd line winger IF he can get going and consistently. He is likely more suited to a 3rd line role and is going to really fit in well and bring a bit more depth in scoring hopefully to the Kings bottom pairing. The 2nd is potential but that will take a lot of time to see what comes of the pick. Leafs most certainly got upgraded in net and look far better and more stable. Kings address the bottom 6, get a good young backup for cheap, and add a prospect which they needed. Both teams most definitely took care of business.What will be more interesting now is who else MAY be in play from Reims to Phaneuf to Grabovski etc?!Summer is just beginning but I am loving Nonis and his approach where his goal is to make the team better all around.
June 24, 2013 10:34 PM ET | Delete
Would have preferred a package of draft picks including a 1st but Frattin is a solid player no doubt. Wonder if over the next couple weeks word will leak what other teams offered. Nino? NYI 1st? Philly 1st? Guess we will see in time
June 25, 2013 9:37 AM ET | Delete
Message Posted
June 25, 2013 9:45 AM ET | Delete
@royalgardens...frattin will never be a kessel, toews, kane type player, would you not agree? In that respect I meant hes a replaceable player. As for him playing on LAs top line some day, sure never say never, but i think you are reaching a bit in that statement. Re your view on leafs adding a piece in an area they didnt necessarily have to strengthen. Its in leafs and nonis best interests to strengthen their club at ANY postion when opportunities ARISE. Thats just smart management. No one can see the future, so stockpiling talent REGARDLESS of position is just good hockey business.
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