The Kings hit a snag while trying to grant Ryan Smyth's wish to return home to Western Canada when a tentative trade with the Oilers was derailed by concerns related to the post-concussion status of Edmonton forward Gilbert Brule.
The Kings, surprised when Smyth asked out for family reasons, agreed to take a late draft pick and Brule's $1.85-million salary-cap hit to offset the Oilers' accepting Smyth's $6.25-million cap hit. The Kings planned to quickly trade, waive or buy out Brule to regain cap space to acquire a replacement for Smyth, who scored 23 goals last season.
However, the Kings contend the Oilers didn't file the paperwork required to certify Brule's ability to play. Without that the Kings would be unable to shed his contract.
"It makes no sense for me to lose this player and lose the flexibility I need to replace him. And that's where it broke down," Lombardi said Saturday after the NHL entry draft in St. Paul, Minn.