Kings want to build around Visnovsky

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 1:54 PM ET

If Lubomir Visnovsky was on the Edmonton Oilers' radar screen with the trade deadline approaching, he's not anymore.

While the struggling Kings will be sellers in the trading market, the club's decision makers have no plans to deal their talented, puck-moving defenceman.

"He'll stay with us long term," said Kings head coach Marc Crawford.

"He is a key component of what you need to be good in the National Hockey League: a defenceman who is strong, can play lots of minutes and has great offensive ability and (an) overwhelming shot.

"He's a special player."

In a nutshell, the soft-spoken Czech Republic native is everything the Oilers need.

With 13 goals and 38 points, he's seventh in scoring amongst NHL defencemen, but he's not a liability in his own end.

While the Kings entered last night with a league-high 184 goals against, Visnovsky had an even plus-minus ranking.

He has another year remaining on an $8-million-US four-year deal.

"For our standpoint, he is a core guy and a guy that we want to build around," said Crawford. "He's 30 years old, but he's a young 30. And I think players like him will usually play a pretty long time because they have great skating ability."

Fresh from the all-star game, Visnovsky is thrilled to be part of the Kings future plans.

"I want to stay here," he said. "I want to play for the Kings because I love this team and believe (in) this team."


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