EL SEGUNDO, CA — On July 21, the Los Angeles Kings acquired left wing Richard Clune from the Dallas Stars in exchange for right wing Lauri Tukonen.
Clune, 21, played in 38 games with the Iowa Stars of the American Hockey League (formerly the Stars’ primary minor league affiliate) last season, scoring three goals with five assists for eight points while racking up 137 penalty minutes, which ranked him second on the club.
The 6-0, 195-pound native of Toronto also played in 19 games with the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL, scoring a goal and contributing nine assists for ten points with 41 penalty minutes.
With the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League, Clune scored 32 goals with 46 assists for 78 points with 151 penalty minutes during the 2006-07 season. He also led the Colts in playoff scoring with three goals and four assists for seven points with eight penalty minutes.
Clune was selected by the Stars in the third round (71st overall) of the 2005 National Hockey League Entry Draft.
Tukonen, 21, scored nine goals and contributed 26 assists for 35 points with 24 penalty minutes in 62 regular season games with the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL (Kings’ primary minor league affiliate) last season and did not contribute a point in two playoff games.
The 6-2, 198-pound native of Hyvinkaa, Finland, who was selected by the Kings in the first round (11th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, has also appeared in five NHL games, all with the Kings.
Before you all start complaining, this is not a bad trade for the Kings. Tukonen is, without question, a draft bust, even though he is only 21 years old (he got an early start, being drafted at the age of 17). One can criticize the Kings for blowing a #11 pick on this guy in 2004 (before Lombardi came on board) or perhaps blame them for not developing him properly, which would be a big stretch, in my opinion. That said, Tukonen has never shown that he can become a top six forward at the NHL level…or at the AHL level, for that matter, despite having been given ample opportunity. Add to that the fact that he also has failed to display the physical play or work ethic to play as a third or fourth-line checking forward, it is quite obvious Tukonen is tapped out in terms of his development and will be little more than a career minor leaguer. Other teams all know this, severely limiting his trade value.
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I believe your criticism of Lombardi and this trade is quite badly misplaced. Tukonen hasn’t developed his game worth a lick since he came to North America. His problem is attitude and work ethic. He doesn’t have the skill to be a first or second line forward in the AHL, let alone the NHL, and he doesn’t have the physical ability to play as a rugged checking forward for a third or fourth line winger position and every team out there knows that, which is why his trade value is zilch. The Kings gave up on the guy because he’s reached his peak in terms of his development and he isn’t going anywhere other than the AHL.
If you think he’s better than that or can be better than that, I’d say the facts don’t support you.
Why not? Tukonen will never see the NHL again, at least, he won’t be there to stay. He’s a career minor leaguer, nothing more. He has no more upside, really, which is why he isn’t worth anything more than the “scrub” the Kings got in return.
I’m sorry, but if you think Tukonen is worth more than that, you’re really badly over-valuing him, as many Kings’ fans do with other Kings players/prospects…so you wouldn’t be alone.
Clearly the Kings have given Tukonen a chance in Manchester and in a few games with the Kings. Based on his performance it is highly unlikely he will ever make it to the NHL.
Why did Lombardi trade him to Dallas for Clune? Obviously, no other team was interested or willing to give as much as Dallas (as little as it was) for Tukonen.
Dallas was probably willing to take a chance on him due to their success over the years with Finnish players and the recommendation of Dave Taylor who drafted Tukonen for the Kings.
Anybody retarded enough to give up on a 21 year old 1st round pick isn’t good enough to be a GM. And who’s the bag of pucks we received in return. Well another Dave Taylor pick sent packing. At least Tukonen gets reunited with that same Taylor.
But why to a divisional rival. And why for this scrub. You mean to tell me that this Clown character is the best DL can do. If that’s the case, he should go back to scouting. You get rid of a player with one year left on his contract, for a player with 2 years left. Doesn’t seem to be good business move either. With Tukonen having more of the upside.
Maybe Anonymous should have some guts and post his name instead of just ranting like a madman with nothing to back up his/her statements.
Tukonen was a scrub. Now he is someone else’s scrub.
I am gonna shock the author and agree with DL on this one. I hope it works out for both players
puck: Why on Earth would you think that a fleeting moment of clarity for you would be shocking to me? :D
clune was one of the oldest players on the Barrie roster. A man amongst boys. The NHL is not the OHL.
I’ve said it elsewhere, why trade the guy at his lowest value, why trade him when a new coach that is supposed to be better at coaching young talent just arrived, why not give him a chance in the NHL last year, or this year, when winning is not an expectation.
Clune was acquired as roster fodder for Manchester, nothing more. Tukonen will never be worth anything more than he is now. He isn’t willing to put in the effort to be the top six forward he was projected to be and he’s not able to play effectively as a third or fourth-line winger, so he’s a fish out of water.
As for giving him a shot this year, why? He won’t beat out Purcell for the right wing spot on the Kings’ first or second line. He’s not a center, so he can’t play there. And he’s not a checking forward, so he can’t play on the third or fourth line. Fact is, there’s no place for him on the Kings’ roster and there are other players who need more ice time to develop down on the farm. Indeed, it was time to rid themselves of Tukonen.
Why give him a shot? Didn’t I just point out that they say they have brought in a coach who does well coaching young talent? Wasn’t Crawford supposedly fired for not being good with young talent?
A fish out of water on a losing team is what? A winner? No, but your arguement doesn’t make sense. You telling me he had no chance of contributing what Handzus did last year? Or Willsie? At the very least he could have helped them secure 1st overall pick next year, although that shoulndn’t be a problem.
Tukonen has also exhibited attitude problems at Manchester and even during his two-game stint here last season. Basically, he thinks he’s a star, but isn’t willing to put in the work. The guy is a career minor leaguer and will never make it to the NHL to stick.
Tukonen isn’t willing to play defense or work in the corners. At least Handzus and Willsie were willing to get their noses dirty.
Funny, all the Kings fans so high on Purcell. When I point out that Pushkarev did things when he got a shot, and all that did was get him traded, while the stats at the Kings are about the same, or favor Pushkarev. How did Teddy Purcell become a 2nd line NHLer after 10 games and 3 points?
You’re right about Handzus getting his nose dirty. The amount of money he’s making is criminal. Again, who are the Kings to say someone isn’t good enough?
Some players teams have given up on:
Calgary – Brett Hull
Hartford, Calgary – JS Giguere
San Jose – Mikka Kiprusoff
LA Kings – Robert Lang
Chicago – Daniel Cleary, Kyle Calder, Mark Bell
Isles – Bertuzzi, Chara
Smart GM’s like Taylor or Lecroix are able to make trades that include prospects they are giving up on. Like when the Kings got Aulin in the Blake trade, or when Taylor sent Green and Biron to the Isle with Jokinen.
No offense, but you’re really not seeing this situation clearly. If you think Tukonen has a chance to be a top six forward, you’re badly overvaluing him. He simply doesn’t have the talent, and even worse, he comes up way short in terms of mental game. He has attitude problems and that’s a big reason why the Kings sent him packing. He’s simply not worth the effort. He will be little more than minor league roster fodder for Dallas as well and from what I understand, the Stars’ minor league system is devoid of talent right now. He’ll get a chance with the Stars organization because he won’t have the same level of competition that he did at Manchester. That’s more of an indictment of Tukomen than a compliment, that’s for sure.
As for Purcell, he earned a shot by shining at the AHL level and doing things to improve the aspects of his game that were lacking, such as defensive play and his play in the offensive zone when he didn’t have the puck…he has also worked on his physical strength, which was his biggest problem.
Pushkarev was another head case. He had it in his head (probably got it from the Russian teams trying to lure him back to Russia) that he was better than any of the prospects who were ahead of him and should be playing on the Kings’ top line. But since he wasn’t, he should come back and play where his “true” talents would be appreciated.
His stats with Iowa the last two seasons are OK…nothing to write home about. He’s another player with questionable work ethic and attitude. I would be quite surprised to ever see him in the NHL permanently.
No offense towards you, either, but I don’t think YOU are seeing the picture clearly. The Kings were dead last in points last year, and will be again this year. I guarantee that. And, they are paying Handzus over 4 million dollars a year to contribute very little, Calder – 2.75 million. They are just coming off the complete debacle of paying Cloutier over 4 million dollars a year, Nagy the same for 1 year, the absolute enigma of the McCauley signing, the fiasco of hiring Crawford and wasting 2 years with the wrong guy (plus the fact that Lombardi did not fire him while they were bottom of the league and in possession of 1st overall draft pick). The KINGS have an attitude problem. They don’t want to create a TEAM that works as a unit, where everyone plays the same roles: back checking effectively and efficiently, creating turnovers, maintaining possession, and frustrating the opposition by rarely making mistakes and then jumping on the other teams mistakes and punishing them. They want the “big hitter” the “flashy sniper” and the “bruising fighter” because they want to sell tickets and fill the building. Is Ivanans a good hockey player?
The Ducks nearly gave up on Sami Pahlsson and he has become an integral part of their success. Again, if you have an attitude problem with Tukonen, do you not at least give him some time with your new “good with the young players” coach? Also, this GM Lombardi has said in the media that he is not trading young players but he has traded Cammalleri, Stuart, Tukonen, Fast, and Gleason. Is that an outright lie?
As for Purcell, he may be doing his job in Manchester, but that does not make him a 2nd line NHL winger by any stretch. Not to mention, its a long, long, punishing season. There have been plenty of Kings prospects that lit up the AHL or IHL that never produced a lick in the NHL. He definitely has the size the Kings like, however, and I’m sure thats why the club is pushing him and the fan’s are buying it.
Finally, what is the sense in trading Tukonen at his lowest value? How does the timing make sense? He may never be an NHLer, but there are teams out there that may actually have worse scouting and a sucker for a GM. Doesn’t Lombardi know how to bluff?
One more thing to consider…..O’Sullivan and Johnson are both of questionable character and were traded from Minnesota and Carolina, respectively, because there were doubts about their ability to live up to the potential they were drafted for. O’Sullivan has done well, but is still only coming off his 1st good NHL season. If he continues as a 20-25 goal scorer is he really fulfilling his potential? Johnson looks like a solid top 4 defenseman, but is that good enough? Does he really have the potential to be a permanent top line guy? He seems to have the potential, but if he is eclipsed by Doughty and Teubert, how will he react? If he eventually slips to the 3rd line because younger, better defensemen emerge, he’ll be a failure in a sense.
Do either of these two have leadership flowing through their blood?
“O’Sullivan and Johnson are of questionable character?” Sorry, no. I’ve talked to both of these players many times last season, watched them in practice, etc. Never saw or heard anything that would indicate character issues. If anything, they are candidates for leadership postions.
I agree with you about how the Kings performed last season and that Crawford was the wrong coach (then again, what choice did Lombardi have at the time of his hire?). But what you’re looking at, it would seem, is ONLY what’s happening with the big club NOW. You’re not looking at the team in terms of rebuilding and building a perennial contender. Trust me, Tukonen has no chance of ever making it to the NHL. He just doesn’t have what it takes, especially above his neck.
Again Gann, no disrespect, but how your opinion of them and how they perform are separate issues. If Johnson does not lead this team this year, he never will. O’Sullivan will be one to watch this year, the team will be dependent on him for scoring, and 20 or so goals won’t cut it. He is very talented, but I don’t think you can call him a leader by any (sane) stretch.
Why would you expect a player just entering his second full season in the league to suddenly emerge as a top-notch leader? Same for O’Sullivan. They are developing as leaders, but don’t expect them to become full-fledged leaders instantly. Leadership is not something where you flip a switch to turn it on.
Why do you ask ME that?
You are the one who tabbed them as leaders. They’re not 19 anymore. Kopitar is younger than both but is a leader in ability and attitude.
Were O’Sullivan and Johnson ever captains?
No, I said they were candidates for leadership positions. Don’t know if they were captains for their teams.
BTW: Thanks for posting comments here. I appreciate your interest in my blog.
Great job with the blog.
I love debating this stuff. Thanks for creating it.
And I hope you’re right about these guys, because the Kings need them to be all they hope them to be.
Lighten up on doubting JJ and Sully.
I agree with you that most of DL’s moves have been terrible. Personally, I don’t see him as Kings GM after his contract expires.
But to his credit, JJ & Sully were his best acquisitions.
Jury is still out on the rest.
I’m really not trying to be down on them, its just most Kings fans are crowning them “great” already. 22 goals is good, and Johnson was good, but “temper the hype” is what you should be telling others.
Tukonen will apparently play in Europe if he doesn’t make the Stars’ opening night roster. And he won’t, so the Kings got Clune from Dallas for…nothing.
Then again, Clune isn’t exactly the next coming of Gretzky…
we’ll see, gann. you can’t say they got clune for nothing yet. if clune doesn’t make the Kings roster, does it matter anyway?
What makes you think it matters now? :-)
i think it matters that the kings can’t take a guy with skills and get him to play, or to even give him a chance with a new coach when you fired the other one because he was awful with the young players. i think it matters because trading him for clune was pointless, like much of what this GM does.
maybe i should just start to copy and paste these names:
plus, where’s the return for sopel, avery, norstrom, modry, miller? we had to trade cammalleri and norstrom for teubert? and he’s not even ready to go?
this guy is making sam mcmaster look good.