Just got off the phone with Lombardi, who ended up making 10 picks over the two-day draft. I’ll give you the comments from Dean and then give thumbnail sketches of the final four picks…
Of course, everyone is still talking about the selection of Thomas Hickey with the fourth overall pick. Lombardi brought it up himself today.
“I found out for sure that he wasn’t getting by eight,” Lombardi said, referring to the eighth overall pick, which was held by the Boston Bruins. “That’s why I knew we couldn’t drop down too far.”
As for today, Lombardi gave a proper tongue-in-cheek “Ask me three years from now” answer when asked how the day went, but did say he was generally pleased with how the draft turned out.
“The key, for me, is the next step,” Lombardi said. “They all have potential. It all depends on how we develop and nurture them. Each one brings something unique to the table but all of them have parts of their game that need to develop.”
The Kings made only one move Saturday, and that was a pick swap that netted them the 95th overall pick, which they used to take defenseman Alec Martinez of Miami (Ohio) University.
“We had a little swap there because we wanted an extra pick in that layer and I was hoping to get a defenseman in that layer,” Lombardi said. “ We said, `Let’s add a player there’ and we did and we didn’t get sidetracked.”
Lombardi seemed most enthused about the second-round selection of center Oscar Moller, who was ranked No. 20 among North American skaters by Central Scouting. In addition to Moller’s skill, Lombardi was highly impressed with Moller’s attitude and potential as a team leader. But Lombardi chuckled at the idea that Moller was a “steal.”
“It’s kind of the same as Hickey,” Lombardi said. “It looks out of whack. We take Hickey and they say it’s a reach. Then this other guy looks like a steal. If Hickey is out of whack, then I guess so is this guy. This kid, as a person, is great. I don’t get too caught up in interviews, but I’m going out on a limb on this guy. Everyday you see him, it seems like he never has a bad day. He has all kinds of energy and loves to play. We were impressed by the fact that… it’s unusual for a Swede to come over in his draft year. We talked to some of his (Swedish) teammates and we said, `Who’s the leader of your team?’ and they all said, `Oscar.”’
Here’s the last few picks…
FIFTH ROUND, 124th OVERALL
Linden Rowat, goaltender, Regina (WHL)
Rowat had a 2.87 goals-against average in 52 games in his second season with Regina. He was ranked by Central Scouting as the fourth-best North American goalie in the draft, and here’s the analysis from Central Scouting: “A butterfly goalie with a consistent, hard work ethic… plays strong in the crease and challenges the shooter… has quick second-shot recovery… stops the puck well behind the net for his defenders and moves the puck effectively… needs to improve his ability to track the puck through traffic and screens… sometimes over committs to the shooter.”
FIFTH ROUND, 137th OVERALL
Joshua Turnbull, center, Waterloo (USHL), 5-10, 172
Central Scouting had Turnbull ranked 207th among North American skaters. In a recent article, Turnbull said he would play one more year of juniors and then play for the University of Wisconsin. Turnbull had 25 goals and 29 assists in 60 games with Waterloo last season.
SEVENTH ROUND, 184th OVERALL
Josh Kidd, defenseman, Erie (OHL), 6-4, 220
Kidd was ranked 79th among North American skaters by Central Scouting, although seemed to take a bit of a dip, since he was ranked 49th in the mid-term rankings. Kidd had nine goals and 18 assists in 64 games with Erie last season, which was his third season in the OHL. Erie coach Peter Sidorkiewicz told Hockey’s Future, “He’s a big kid, but in saying that he’s got pretty good mobility. He can skate well, he’s got an NHL shot already. I think the biggest thing for him is to play assertive night in and night out. Sometimes he plays in between and I think when he figures out that he’s got to play with authority he’s very effective. When he starts thinking he just finds himself in between – he doesn’t react instinctively.”
SEVENTH ROUND, 188th OVERALL
Matt Fillier, center/winger, St. John’s (QMJHL), 6-0, 180
Fillier was ranked 49th among North American skaters by Central Scouting, so it’s interesting to see that he dropped this far. In his second season in juniors, Fillier had 18 goals and 18 assists in 63 games, plus 118 penalty minutes so clearly he likes to mix it up a bit. Here’s the Central Scouting analysis: “A hard-working forward… shows leadership and has a steady positive influence on the play… has a physical presence on the ice and is very dependable defensively… needs to improve his consistency around the net.”
That’s all, folks. I hope the blog was useful to everyone over the last 24 hours or so. Late next week, I’ll catch up with Lombardi again and we’ll get into free-agency stuff. In a couple hours, I’m heading out to watch the AEG-owned lacrosse team, the Riptide. I’m told I will love the sport. Maybe the Riptide has a goalie the Kings can borrow…