The next set of answers follows…
Question: Was this draft very tight in terms of rankings in the top 10? I’m trying to figure out how The Islanders get the 40th pick and and conditional 2nd and 3rd to drop from the fifth to ninth pick whereas the Ducks get the 35th and 39th picks for dropping from 12 to 17.
Answer: Actually the Ducks got No. 17 and No. 28 in exchange for No. 12. They then traded No. 28 to get No. 35 and No. 39. But to answer your question, the drop from fifth to ninth was fairly significant. There was a clear top six and then after that it was fairly wide open. So if you think the Islanders got a lot for the No. 5 pick, that’s why.
Question: Curious to know if proposals and players materialized that they did not cover in their many hours of meetings heading up to the draft? Or did things go pretty much as planned? What happened during round 2 that got their draft central table in heated debate?
Answer: I can assure you, completely, that things came up that they didn’t anticipate. Nobody can anticipate what happens in a draft. If you’re in some type of fantasy league, think of it that way. Can you really predict whether or not you’re going to get a strong quarterback in the fourth round? You just prepare as much as possible and have information at your fingertips so you can make quick decisions. I’m really not sure which incident you’re referring to. Knowing the way those guys debate with each other, it could have been over what was for lunch.
Question: Why add Richardson when they are trying to clear spots for the kids?
Answer: It’s all about competition. Nobody is inked into a position in June. OK, not true. Kopitar, Brown, O’Sullivan and Frolov are. Beyond that, anyone has the potential to win any job. If you’re a coach or a GM, that’s the way you want it. Let the players sort it out in training camp based on how they play. Then it’s on the coaching staff to make the correct decisions about who to play.
Question: why do you think the Kings made the straight up trades with Chicago (a 6th rounder this year for their 6th rounder next year) and St. Louis (a 7th rounder this year for their 7th rounder next year)? Is it that perhaps the Kings have too many prospects right now? Otherwise, these are rather mystifying trades.
Answer: The Kings came into the draft with 15 picks. That’s a ton. They ended up drafting nine players and used another pick to get a 10th player, Brad Richardson. They lost Cammalleri so that’s a net gain of nine players. Again, that’s a lot. The late-round trades are just to push some picks into next year. When you’re trading sixth- and seventh-round picks, you’re really not going to get extra value in return, in the vast majority of cases. It does seem a little bit like rearranging the furniture, but that’s the path Lombardi chose.
Question: DL has historically avoided russians in the past, only ever drafting 1 russian as GM. Did he give you any insight into why now take 2 russians in this draft? Also, although he’s only 18, Voinov already played 2 years of pro hockey in russia’s top league- given his experience, he might be ready to make the jump to the nhl immediately, but if not, DL’s comments in the “Lombardi, on the Russian’s” post leads one to think these guys would then be sent to juniors. Unless I’m mistaken, since neither are CHL property, they can play in the AHL, which would seem to be preferrable for Voinov (not sure for Loktionov). Do you know if this is case?
Answer: I’m not aware that Lombardi has any “Russian philosophy” in general. I think he felt comfortable taking the two guys this year because they did a lot of homework and Jeff Solomon helped determine that both of these players were eager and willing to play in North America next season. Drafting Russians has become increasingly dicey, both because of the transfer agreement problems and the emergence of the Russian league as a power. Lombardi talked the other day about how the Russian league is trying to lock up the young talent with five-year contracts, and if they try to break the contracts they have to pay a ton of money back to the league. As for Voinov, I believe you’re correct about his ability to go to the AHL. It would then depend on what the Kings think is best for his development.
Question: Ray Emery – is he an absolute 100% no go?? Wouldn’t he be worth a one-year contract? When this year’s draft prospects were asked which team had the most intimidating interviewers it was LA and some other team. Has DL ever commented on that?? (re. is it cuz they have lots of guys doing the interviewing, is it the style they use to see how the prospect reacts, etc.) Has DL ever commented on the league contracting to make it a stronger league?
Answer: Yes, Ray Emery is an absolute 100 percent no go. Putting everything else aside, the Kings wouldn’t even see him as a significant upgrade to LaBarbera and Ersberg. If Lombardi and his crew come off as intimidating, it’s just the way they are. From my dealings with him, Lombardi doesn’t just take answers at face value. If he doesn’t get what he’s looking for, he will keep pushing until he’s satisfied. So I imagine some of the prospects might have gotten a little taste of that. I really don’t think Lombardi has an opinion on the league contracting. It’s a little beyond his scope.
Question: With all the talk about trading Vish during the draft, what happens now? The announcers made it clear that Dean was shopping him. Since there weren’t any takers, who will this play out now?
Answer: Well, as I said a bit earlier, I would disagree with the idea that the Kings were “shopping” Visnovsky. It’s not as though they couldn’t find a taker and now they’re stuck with him. His name came up as part of trades that the Kings thought would improve the roster. They’re perfectly fine with having him on the roster next season, likely as one of their top two defensemen.
Question: Could you explain the process of hiring a coach? Does Dean make the calls or are unemployed coaches send in their resume? Just want to know how the process works…
Answer: It works both ways. At last count, the Kings had received about 25 calls regarding the job. They’ll make a list of people who have shown interest, cross off the names they know they’re not interested in and, perhaps, add a few names of other people they would like to talk to. In this case in particular, I think the Kings are interested in guys who are really showing enthusiasm for the job. They don’t want to have to “sell” a prospective coach on taking this job. They want someone who is excited about the challenges they will face here. So that’s one reason this process could take a while.
Question: Did you get a feel or any insight from DL about any specific players he was targeting in the draft that he was disappointed he didn’t get?
Answer: Not really, and at this point there’s no motivation for him to tip his hand about who he targeted. I know that if the Kings had kept the No. 28 pick, they were targeting a center. I suspect it might have been Gustafsson but I’m not certain, and he went No. 21 anyway so it wouldn’t have mattered. As you know, once you get past the first round it’s har to “target” anyone. The exception this year might be Andrew Campbell. The Kings wanted him in the third round but were afraid someone might grab him, so they traded up seven spots.