But can the LA Kings even afford him? You see, trading for Ilya is one thing. Im sure any team could do it. The returns teams have been getting for top players have not been outstanding. The Thornton deal, the Heatley deal, and the Phaneuf deal show that. Teams arent trading for this guy because they dont know if they can sign him.
So we ask: do the Kings know something we dont? After all, Jay Blow wasnt signing with anyone until he tested the free agency waters. (As an aside, isnt it cute how Kerr on the radio keeps saying 'But GM Sutter said this' as if he thinks the audience at home thinks GM Sutter respects Kerr enough to tell him the truth? Or as if the audience at home hasnt figured out that GM Sutter doesnt tell them shit about shit?)
So can the Kings afford to keep Ilya? Or can we still sign him in the offseason? (all numbers from nhlnumbers.com)
To me, that is looking pretty tight. Obviously we dont know who is off this list if and when the trade goes down, but the big ticket guys on LA are probably not going. I dont think they (Atlanta) would take Smyths contract, but who knows, they need wingers. I assume the need cheap wingers, however. It is Atlanta.
If I was Atlanta, the first thing that pops up on my want list is Brown. Outside of Kopitar, he is the Kings best player. I dont think they would trade him, but if they did, you would have to assume that Ilya would have agreed to a contract extension with them as part of the deal.
Honestly, besides the untouchables in Kopitar, Brown, and Doughty, who would you want from this team?
Best case scenario for the Kings is that Atlanta takes back a group of players like Stoll and Williams, and a defencemen in Greene or Scuderi. I do not see that as acceptable return, but as I alluded to before, nobody has gotten acceptable return for their superstars via trade.
To conclude: No, I dont think the Kings can afford him right now. After the trade, if it happens, depending on who they can get rid of, maybe they can. Brown and Kopitar are already signed long term. Doughty comes up for contract in 2 years (11/12), although Smyths salary is on the books until 12/13. To me, if they can get Ilya and find a way to make Smyth disappear, they will have improved themselves tremendously, as they should still be able to keep Kopitar, Brown, and Doughty together as well.
In short: Fuck the LA Kings. There is only one redeeming quality about that stupid franchise:
Furthermore, I think that Peter Loubardias should be fired.