The biggest splash would have been landing Zach Parise to bolster a roster fresh off the Stanley Cup. That was Plan A for the Los Angeles Kings when free agency started. But learning their lesson from the previous summer's Brad Richards courting that fell short, Los Angeles changed directions fairly quickly when it became clear the Kings were a long shot to land Parise.
Instead, GM Dean Lombardi's biggest accomplishment early on in the summer has been rewarding those who helped the city earn its first Stanley Cup. The first payoff came for third-line center Jarret Stoll, who earned a three-year deal worth $9.275 million dollars. Franchise goalie Jonathan Quick came next, with a 10-year deal worth $58 million. Perhaps the biggest question mark was Dustin Penner, who was a key contributor during the playoffs after struggling for most of the regular season.
"With [Penner], it's all about the guy we had the last two months or the guy we got originally," Lombardi said at the NHL draft while still weighing the decision. "It's a very different player."
Lombardi eliminated most of the risk by signing Penner to a very reasonable one-year deal worth $3.25 million.
There may yet still be another move coming for the Kings, but so far the strategy to beat the Stanley Cup hangover is to allow this young group, nearly in its entirety, a chance to do it again on their own.
Is it a risk?
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