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News

Kings Trade for Columbus' Jeff Carter, Part with Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson celebrating his second period goal by Tebow-ing. (Screengrab of video on NHL.com)
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You can smell the desperation even as the news was breaking on Twitter. The Kings traded defenseman Jack Johnson and a conditional first round pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets for center Jeff Carter. General Manager Dean Lombardi had to improve the league’s worst offense, and this essentially was a shot in the dark.

With the way the Kings have regressed, you can’t blame Lombardi for making a deal for a disgruntled Carter who made his displeasure known after being traded to Columbus by the Philadelphia Flyers during the offseason.

“If we’re 15th or 20th in the league like I projected we would be, I’m still looking for this deal,” Lombardi told reporters in a conference call. “I certainly see this as part of the plan.”

Definitely not part of the plan was the team’s lack of scoring. Lombardi noted the lack of secondary scoring taking time to call out Dustin Penner’s lack of production and how that has affected the top lines.

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“It’s snowballed on us. It’s almost psychological now. It’s been beating us up mentally, and they’re going to have to fight their way through.”

Sure it’s obvious that Lombardi had to bolster the offense, but there should be no illusion that this will solve all of the problems. Even Lombardi admitted, “Jeff Carter is not going to come in and be the cavalry. We have a lot of guys that still have to perform at a higher level, grow into becoming winners and get some other players back to their identity in doing what they do well.”

Carter is a familiar face with what can now be termed as the West Philadelphia Flyers, Carter having played with Simon Gagne and Mike Richards and coached by assistant coach John Stevens. However for a player that scored 46 goals in the 2008-09 season, Carter is having a subpar season that has also been plagued with injuries. For the Kings’ sake, both players will have to pass physicals for the trade to go through (unlike other trades made between the Kings and Edmonton Oilers this past offseason.)

Lombardi would not commit to Carter being in the lineup for the Kings Saturday night at STAPLES Center against the Chicago Blackhawks.

With only 21 games left in the season, it would behoove the Kings to get their offense going very soon. They currently have 66 points and are sitting tenth in the Western Conference. Since 2012 began the Kings have an 8-8-7 record. As a basis of comparison the once left-for-dead Ducks are 16-4-4 in that same span and are now four points out of a playoff spot.

While Lombardi told reporters that he doesn’t have any more trades up his sleeve, there have been rumors on the Kings moving back-up goaltender Jonathan Bernier and right-winger and Captain Dustin Brown.

The time is ticking for Lombardi and the Kings. As Helene Elliott of the LA Times intimated, if the Kings don’t make the postseason Lombardi could possibly be forced to get his resume prepared.

The trade deadline is set for Monday at 9:00 a.m. PT.