Dean Lombardi was named the eighth General Manager of the Los Angeles Kings on April 21, 2006 and under his watch the franchise has reached new heights.
When Lombardi took the reigns in the Spring of 2006 the franchise was well on it’s way to finishing fourth in the Pacific Division, and had finished third in the division in the four previous seasons. In the 2009-10 season, change under his watch started to become evident. The Kings began a run of making the postseason for five consecutive seasons, finished seven points out of a Pacific Division title in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season but most importantly, they have brought home the Stanley Cup twice in the last three seasons.
And while the run of playoff appearances is in jeopardy with the Kings currently sitting on the outside looking in on the postseason, there’s virtually no debate that Lombardi’s moves like hiring Head Coach Darryl Sutter in the thick of the 2011-12 season, the trade deadline deal to acquire forward Marian Gaborik last season and the free agent signing of former Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell have all helped the roster win now.
But like any other GM, Lombardi will also be judged by what he has done at the draft table, and with seven years of drafts conducted under his watch (excluding the two most recent drafts where it’s too early to get much of a read on how successful they were), there’s a large enough body of work to evaluate what he has done on draft day.
The Early Drafts (2006 – 2008)
During the first three seasons of Dean Lombardi’s tenue, the Kings selected 28 players at the NHL Entry Draft. Of those players, 13 of them have played at least one game in an NHL sweater. And of those who have played in the NHL, nine of them have played in at least 100 games.
The more notable players during this time period include forwards Trevor Lewis and defenseman Drew Doughty, along with current Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds, who LA traded along with Brayden Schenn and a second round selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft for forward Mike Richards. The most successful of these early drafts was in 2008, where five of the nine selections played in at least one game for the Kings. The one with the most futility? The 2006 draft, where just three of the nine selections panned out.
The Later Drafts (2009 – 2012)
During these four drafts, Lombardi and the Kings’ brass selected 27 players. Of these players, 10 played at least one game at the NHL level. And of those who have played in the NHL, just four have played in at least 100 games.
Lombardi’s most successful draft of these four was in 2009 when Los Angeles selected 10 players and five of them eventually put on a Kings sweater (Nicolas Deslauriers, a third round selection by the Kings that year, has played all 73 of his career games with St. Louis).
On the flip side, the drafts between 2010 and 2012 have been lean ones for LA so far. Just four of the 16 players chosen in those years have registered time in the NHL and the total number of games played among those five players is 212. Christopher Gibson, who was a second round selection in 2011, is no longer property of the Kings, while 2010 first rounder Derek Forbort has yet to see NHL action. The Kings did not have any second or third round selections at the 2012 draft.
It’s hard to actually give a grade to Dean Lombardi’s work at the draft because of the many variables in play. While he had success with his early drafts, later drafts have yielded less NHL talent. But because the Kings’ “championship window” has been wide open the last few seasons, draft picks have been used as trade chips to keep that window open, while picks that were kept could be used to draft more “project-type players” that could help the team further down the road (like Forbort). When you factor in that players in the 2011 and 2012 drafts are still developing, you have a body of work that is still somewhat incomplete.
Kings Key Draft Selections Under General Manager Dean Lombardi (From 2006-2012)
|Year||Round||Overall||Player||Amateur Team||NHL GP||G||A||P||PIM|
|2006||1||17||Trevor Lewis||Des Moines (USHL)||323||25||37||62||65|
|2007||4||95||Alec Martinez||Miami University (NCAA)||248||28||44||72||60|
|2008||1||2||Drew Doughty||Guelph (OHL)||498||64||190||254||393|
|2009||2||35||Kyle Clifford||Barrie (OHL)||330||24||33||57||462|
|2010||2||47||Tyler Toffoli||Ottawa (OHL)||122||32||38||70||30|
|2011||3||82||Nick Shore||U. of Denver (NCAA)||11||0||2||2||2|
|2012||1||30||Tanner Pearson||Barrie (OHL)||67||15||8||23||22|