The rich get richer
Avalanche get Blake in trade with Kings
Updated: Monday February 26, 2001 1:13 AM
Colorado also gave Los Angeles a first-round draft choice in 2001, a prospect to be determined, and other future considerations.
The Avalanche, with a 38-12-9 record that is the league's best, have been hit by a string of injuries recently and acquiring Blake gives the team a big boost.
"Rob Blake is definitely a one-of-a-kind defenseman with great skills and agility, and will bring a lot to our defensive corps," Avalanche general manager Pierre Lacroix said after Colorado's 8-2 victory against Boston. "The young Steven Reinprecht is recognized already by our scouting staff as a young very good future player."
It is the third consecutive season that Lacroix has been able to acquire a big-name player right before the trade deadline.
The Kings, 25-26-8, are fighting to make the playoffs, and hope to eventually add a number of players with the money they saved by not giving Blake a big contract.
He can become an unrestricted free agent after this season and had turned down Los Angeles' five-year, $40 million offer made last summer and another, richer offer made last week.
"I might sound like an old tape recorder because I have said this for the third year in a row that the same question has come up," Lacroix said. "I think we as an organization will be very consistent with this, just as with the Theo Fleury trade and the Ray Bourque trade that our intention is to have the best season possible with this club.
"The ultimate goal is the goal at the end of the year, and the way this season will end is what will dictate what we do with our contract situations."
A 6-foot-4, 227-pounder who won the Norris Trophy in 1998, Blake had been a Kings mainstay since he came into the NHL in 1990.
He thought his contract should be in line with the $29.5 million, three-year deal the St. Louis Blues recently gave Chris Pronger, a defenseman who was both the Norris Trophy winner and the league MVP last season.
Blake, 31, was selected in the fourth round, the 70th player taken, by the Kings in the 1988 entry draft.
Los Angeles general manager Dave Taylor said team officials met with Blake several times, and "It was evident to us from very early on Rob was intent on free agency. Last week, we added to our proposals in an attempt to bridge the gap, but we were unsuccessful."
Kings president Tim Lewiweke said he believed a trade would be to the team's benefit, so they could spend more on filling holes in their lineup rather than paying one player more money.
Blake has 17 goals, 32 assists and 69 penalty minutes this season. In 662 regular-season games during his 12 years with the Kings, he had 138 goals, 291 assists and 1,051 penalty minutes.
Taylor said he thought Los Angeles, which is fighting to make the playoffs, got two players who can help the team immediately.
"Aaron Miller is a strong, gritty defenseman who will help provide us with the defensive stability we need, and Adam Deadmarsh provides us with a unique combination of toughness, grit and offensive ability that our club has been seeking," Taylor said.
Deadmarsh, a first-round pick in the 1993 draft, played a major role in Colorado since helping the Avalanche win the Stanley Cup in the 1995-96 season, but he has been slowed by injuries this season.
A physical forward, Deadmarsh missed 14 games after receiving a concussion during a fight with Vancouver Canucks defenseman Ed Jovanowski on Nov. 1. He was sidelined another six games because of a knee injury on Jan. 18.
Deadmarsh, 25, has 13 points and 13 assists this season. He has scored at least 20 goals in four of his previous six NHL seasons.
Miller, 29, has four goals and nine assists, with 29 penalty minutes in 56 games.
Reinprecht, 24, has played in 59 games for Los Angeles this
season and has 12 goals and 17 assists.