Well, I can't say I'm shocked O'Sullivan was traded since I had a feeling on the eve of the trade deadline that he could be moved. The more I thought about Sully the more I came to believe that he wasn't one of Lombardi's "core players", something I've been questioning since the off-season when it took months and months for Sully and the Kings to come to terms on a contract.
He missed most of training camp, which caused him to begin the season not on the same line with his old linemates, Brown and Kopitar. I took Sully's lack of instant chemistry with his linemates (and he had plenty) as a sign that he was rusty from not having been at training camp. But the more he was shifted around the lineup the more I began to think his time in LA was limited. He began to look like Cammalleri Version 2.0; had a strong outing in one season, demanded a high-paying contract, lacked the same production the following season, and was on the down and out with the fanbase.
The Kings have a lot of players around Sully's age and Lombardi always stressed the importance of having enough players at different stages of their careers. Justin Williams is on the older end of the age scale and has more successful outings than O'Sullivan. He has a lot more experience than Sully and when he's not injured, he's a fantastic player. Along with Brind'Amour, Cole, and Staal, Williams was one of the core players that was instrumental in bringing the Cup to Carolina. In the first year of the "New NHL" I was very taken with that Carolina team and was impressed with Williams' play, specifically in the playoffs since that's when I watched him the most. He reminds me of Handzus, but more of a goal-scorer.
I'm sad to see Sully go, especially since he made huge strides between his rookie season and first full NHL year. He has the potential to be a great goal scorer but the Kings will benefit from having a bigger player who already is the player the Kings need. My excitement for him is almost as big as when the Kings signed Handzus. I can't wait to see him in a Kings jersey.