A/N: This snippet is from Royce King, Jr. prior to Chapter 35 from Along Came a Spider 2, giving you a few more details about Caius’s trade.
/ /\ (oo) /\ \
With the deadline approaching on Monday, I haven’t been active in the trade market since I’m pleased with our current roster. I’ve considered a few additions, but those players went for more than I’m willing to give.
“Junior—” Scott, my right hand and the assistant general manager for our team, knocks on the open door of my office.
“Got a minute?”
Holding a few papers, I wonder if he needs me to sign something.
“Yeah, sure. Come in.”
Scott closes the door behind him, then takes a seat across from me. “I just got off the phone with a buddy of mine in Pittsburgh who floated an idea. I think it could be good for us.”
“Tell me, what is this team missing?” he asks.
Shaking my head, I shrug. “I don’t know. Nothing. They’re missing nothing. I’ve given them everything. We have a great mix of talent that goes deep in every line, and one of the best goaltending tandems in the league.”
Scott nods his agreement. “Then why aren’t we at the top of the standings? Our position is tenuous at best, currently.”
Blowing out a heavy sigh, I wonder what I could be missing. “I’m listening. What are you thinking?”
“We need an edge. What if we add a well-known agitator?” he suggests.
I frown, considering for a moment who could possibly be available, but come up empty. “You have someone in mind?”
“Oh, yeah. Caius Volante—the Pens want to move him. He was released from the player assistance program last month. If we don’t grab him, someone else will.”
Scott shifts in his seat, then nods. “You need to ask yourself: Do you want to play with him or against him? Because he will undoubtedly land on a contender.”
I glance out the window of my office to the empty rink below, waving my hand. “Will this team accept him?”
“It doesn’t matter. They don’t have a choice. They can be the best of friends and still not win. And that’s why we’re here. We’re paying them to win. Let’s see how they respond. If they can’t take his needling, then that’s a bigger problem. We’re not catering to a bunch of pampered prima donnas. They’re fucking hockey players.”
Tapping my pen against the notepad on my desk, I consider the waves his addition could make, then ask, “Where is he?”
“He’s been assigned to the AHL affiliate for the Pens. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton,” Scott explains. “And he’s drawing some interest with his recent play.”
“Who is his agent?”
“Jake Black,” he shares.
“Why does that name sound familiar?” I wonder.
“He’s Edward Cullen’s agent.”
“Hmmm.” I glance through our available draft picks for the next two years. “What do they want?”
“A second round pick.”
“No. We can’t do a second. Maybe we offer a fifth round pick in this year’s draft. He’s old.”
“Experienced,” Scott amends. “And he’s worth more than a fifth.”
“Look for yourself.”
He slides a page of Caius’s career stats on my desk, and I glance through it briefly.
Nothing new here. He’s a hitter, fighter, and leader in penalty minutes for his previous teams.
That’s not necessarily an asset for our team.
“Caius was an important component to the Kings winning their second Cup. Two-time All-Star. He’s not afraid to deliver the hits and put up a couple of thirty-goal seasons,” Scott explains.
“He was young then,” I point out.
“He’s still competitive, full of energy and ability according to our scouts.”
I lean back in my chair. “Why was he in player assistance?”
Scott chuckles. “You know we’re not privy to that information.”
“But you know.”
Scott always knows.
“Substance abuse. Painkiller addiction. Alcohol,” he adds. “You would be giving him a second chance. You’re the hero, not giving up on a player with a passion for the game, who has a lot left in the tank. It’s a win-win situation. If he doesn’t work out, then release him at the end of the season, but let’s use him now.”
I must admit I’m beginning to like the idea of adding him to the roster.
Maybe it will shake things up a little.
“I need more than just him for a second round pick. He’s a gamble. A third is my best offer,” I conclude. “They’ll take it if they truly want to move him.”
Scott nods. “I think they’ll take it, but keep in mind, if he performs as I anticipate he will, you’ll want to keep him—be prepared to find the money to do so. He’s hungry with a lot to prove.”
“We’ll see. We can talk about that after he delivers. For now, get him on a plane; I want to see him on the ice as soon as possible.”