Smyth headed to the Kings

The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that it has acquired defensemen Kyle Quincey and Tom Preissing, along with a fifth round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for forward Ryan Smyth. The trade is conditional upon the players passing a physical.

"We are pleased to be adding two quality NHL defensemen," said Avalanche General Manager Greg Sherman. "Kyle and Tom are both versatile players who can contribute at both ends. They will add defensive depth to our lineup."

>> team release

The Kings have been searching for another top line winger in free agency, hoping mainly to land Marian Hossa, and I suppose Smyth serves as a replacement of sorts. He started to come into his own last season in Colorado, but has struggled with injuries and is obviously overpriced.

Given his $6.25-million cap hit for the next three seasons and relatively modest production, it shouldn't be that surprising that Smyth hasn't netted much return, either. Moving out Preissing is a big blessing for L.A., as he was potentially going to be bought out and only used in a depth role. (I'm not sure why the Avs saw value in him.) Quincey, however, should be a useful addition, even if he tops out as a potential No. 4.

The Kings could be a much improved team even with the subtractions on the blueline, as Rob Scuderi joins an underrated top six that includes Sean O'Donnell, Jack Johnson (if signed), Drew Doughty, Matt Greene and Peter Harrold. L.A. could also potentially add another depth defenceman if need be.

All in all, this is a move made by two teams headed in different directions, with Colorado set to rebuild in earnest and the Kings hoping to make the playoffs and begin to climb the standings. I can't help but wonder if they would have been better off signing someone like Alex Tanguay, but unloading the Preissing contract makes this move worth it.

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