As time ticked away on March fifth, General Manager Dean Lombardi had a choice. The Kings were stuck in the middle of a loaded Western Conference, and behind division rivals San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks. The Kings sat at the bottom of the barrel in scoring, with 25 teams above the black and silver in goals per game. Armed with talent across the board, Lombardi focused his efforts on talented winger Marian Gaborik. Despite only playing 34 games in Columbus due to injuries, Gaborik amassed 22 points with the Jackets before finding himself on the move again.
Gaborik provided an instant boost on the offensive end, boasting 16 points in 19 games during the regular season with the black and silver. However, it wasn’t his regular season contributions that made his acquisition invaluable. His 14 goals, 17.60 shooting percentage, and 78 shots paced the Kings. Arguably his biggest goal came in overtime versus their crosstown rivals in the first game of the series, tipping in an Anze Kopitar shot to beat Jonas Hiller. That goal was his third point of the game in the 3-2 Kings game. Gaborik tore up the Ducks to the tune of six goals and ten points in the seven game series.
The Kings were shut out just once during the playoffs, compared to six times during the regular season. The Kings goals per game average obliterated their regular season of 2.32.
Western Conference Quarterfinals versus San Jose Sharks: 3.71 GPG
Western Conference Semifinals versus Anaheim Ducks: 2.71 GPG
Western Conference Finals versus Chicago Blackhawks: 4.00 GPG
Stanley Cup Finals versus New York Rangers: 3.00 GPG
Playing with Anze Kopitar, the league leader in postseason points, unlocked the offensive game of both players. Dustin Brown, the right wing on the top line, also benefitted. His points per game average jumped from 0.34 in the regular season to 0.53 in the playoffs. Gaborik made his teammates better, resulting in one of Lombardi’s best acquisitions.
When trading to the city of angels, there was no guarantee that Gaborik would re-sign. However, after winning his first Stanley Cup, Gaborik inked a new seven year, $34.125 million extension. Keeping the Slovakian in Los Angeles means that the Kings should stay in contention for the Stanley Cup for years to come.
In return for the three time All-Star, the Kings sent Matt Frattin, a 2014 or 2015 second round pick, and a conditional third round selection. The third round pick moved into a second round pick because the Kings advanced past the first round of the playoffs. Frattin played in a whopping four games before he was traded north of the border for his second run with the Maple Leafs. Gaborik had more goals in one series (versus the Ducks) than Matt Frattin’s points in 40 regular season games with the Kings. The Kings got a bargain for Gaborik, who proved to be the hero that provided the lift they needed.
For those who are wanting to relive Gaborik’s magic, watch all of this goals scored as a member of the Kings below: