Surprise, surprise

Terry Murray was asked a simple question about what has surprised him about this Kings team, and it led to an interesting answer about the development of young players…

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Question: If you could pick one thing that has surprised you about this team, what do you think it is?

MURRAY: “It’s hard to put your finger on one thing. It’s easy to say the hard work, but that’s kind of a cliche…”

Question: Is there a skill level that surprised you?

MURRAY: “I kind of knew there was a skill level coming in, just looking at the lineup and talking as we went through the summer. The biggest surprise, clearly, has been the two young guys up front. Doughty, we knew he was probably a sure thing coming in, that we were going to put him in the lineup if he just came out and did a good job in the training camp. If you’re the No. 2 pick overall, you’re a pretty good player. But the young guys have been a real good surprise for me. Moller and Simmonds, and we talked about Moulson, those guys have really done a great job, and that’s probably been the biggest surprise, the level of skill from the young players that are in the organization. There’s a couple guys who have gone back to junior and there’s a few guys who have gone down to Manchester that are going to be knocking on the door real soon. If not this year, they certainly will be there again next year at training camp. That’s been probably the biggest surprise, the depth of the talent level that’s in this organization.”

Question: That’s something Dean talked about, how the top guys, like Brown and Kopitar, were here, but you always had to go outside to get the second- or third-line guys. Now you’re starting to develop those guys yourselves.

MURRAY: “Exactly, and that’s a real compliment to what Dean has done with the development camps in the summer and with the scouts that have drafted. I know what it’s like to scout. I did it for a year with the Flyers when I got fired there. I was out pro scouting, and that’s a tough road. You’re on your own, you’re traveling and you’ve got to beat the bushes looking for players. These guys are doing that every year, and it’s starting to pay off. They’ve got some good people in the organization now.”

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  • B

    Rich, you’re on fire today!

  • JonG

    Rich,

    Great work again today. You’re amazing!

  • wavesinair

    These comments seem to indicate the two youngsters are here for the duration, right?

  • Mark

    I can’t remember the last time the fans were able to keep this close in touch with the team. I was kicking myself all summer for renewing my season tickets but after seeing how much Terry Murray is willing to keep the fans informed about the team progress I’m happy to show up to as many games I can and keep a close eye on this team.

  • aj

    great articles today Rich :)

    one thing I find funny is that for some reason everyone is very upbeat even though we lost 2 games out of our 3! I guess Lombardi’s prospects are really showing something special.

    One thing to note is that we have a 1st round (doughty), 2nd round (moller), 2nd round (simmonds), and a 9th round (moulson) playing on our team. Now my memory may be off (and too lazy to do the research), but I don’t think DT ever really had that much success outside of his 1st round picks. Seems like he was great at his 1st pick, but had a huge dropoff after that.

  • Brian S

    I just have to say that I don’t know what I’d do without this blog. I took some time to check out the others linked to this site. With the exception of I think, the Bruin Blog, they are pretty pathetic. Rich, you are the class of the hockey blog world (if there is a blog world). So much great information. It makes it 100 times more enjoyable going to games having the “inside” info that you get to us. AEG should be buying you a new car or something.

    So thanks again. And tell us where you hang around during the game so I can bring you over your favorite beverage.

    Cheers.

  • Quisp

    The title of this post scared the crap out of me. I picked it up on my phone, and was afraid to click…

  • http://hbshakes.blogspot.com Shakes

    Rich is it abnormal that I check your blog about 10 to 15 times a day? Also unlike most things I read I love hearing what peeps have to say, especially the regulars

  • jet

    Brian S – AEG has been searching for 10 weeks for a car for Rich. Every dealer is Southern California has guaranteed AEG that they will be the first call when someone trades in a Yugo. I hope Rich is short. And skinny.
    I jest, but don’t you get the felling that AEG knew the economy was declining about 6 months ahead of the rest of us?

  • David

    Off topic, but I must comment about Fabian Brunnstrom of the Stars getting a hat trick in his first NHL game last night. Pretty darn impressive.

    There were plenty of naysayers on this blog who previously commented that Brunnstrom was overrated, and seemingly happy that the Kings had not pursued him.

    Maybe when Fabian skates off with the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year next June, he will finally get a little respect around here.

  • Quisp

    Oh, I respect him already. It’s annoying.

  • Quisp

    aj –

    re Dave Taylor’s non-first round picks:

    ’97: Corvo (4th round/83rd overall)
    ’99: F. Kaberle (3rd/76) and Parros (8th/222)
    ’00: Lilja (2nd/54) and Lubo (4th/118)
    ’01: Cammy (2nd/59) and Huet (7th/214)

  • http://www.product4me.com PRMan

    Didn’t DT draft people like

    Matt Zultek?
    Jens Karlsson?
    Mathieu Biron?
    Jeff Tambellini?
    Lauri Tukonnen?

    in the first round?

    That’s a pretty bad track record. Yeah, there are a couple great ones in there like Dustin Brown, Olli Jokinen and Alexander Frolov, but still he really wasn’t that great.

  • Matt George

    yeah great stuff rich as always

    Canceling my season tickets was the best thing i could have done this year.

    When the Kings lose I no longer feel like i’m financing a loss and when they win….hey its a win!

    Also what a great first three games… i mean wow these guys look like they are at least making good passes which fundamentally they have not done in a long time imo

  • -J

    Hold the calder trophy there. Whether he’s Fabulous Fabian or Fluke Fabian remains to be seen. The guy was scractched the first two games of the season and was almost non-existant tonight. And did you see the goals he scored- more about being in the right place, right time and finishing rather than creating plays. Not saying he may not turn out to be the real deal, but one game does not a career make. Only time will tell if he’s more like Alex Smart or Real Cloutier.

  • Brian S

    I’m checking this blog again even though I know there will not be anything new to read at 10:00 pm except perhaps a few new posts from readers. I think I have a problem. I think I need to see a professional, or at least get a life.

  • JDM

    Brian S, we could easily form a support group for this blog addiction. You are not alone!!

    Just got home and didn’t see that about Brunnstrom, sounds cool. Only an hour or so till my Tivo records NHL on the Fly, so looking forward to seeing the highlights. BTW, has anyone been watching NHL on the Fly on the NHL Network? Awesome recap, really thorough and generous with the highlights.

    And Rich, you deserve a flying car to be invented for you. Another awesome day of posts that kept me occuppied during a day of mandatory meetings that meant nothing to me (<—- that’s what we call a problem Brian S!)

    Your dedication to giving us fans even the smallest hiccup of info day in and day out is truly second to none.

    Hopefully Murray’s comments here suggest Moller is here for good. He should be. He brings the energy every shift. He’s a skill player that plays and checks with the intesity of an Avery type, without the a$$hole part ofcourse. He will score soon. I was feeling a goal coming for him last game, you could tell he was hungry for it. His is coming soon, and I fully expect a small explosion from him in one or more of the next 5 games to ensure his place on this team. He’ll eat juniors alive if he gets back, and we’ll spend the whole season missing him!

    Quisp… my heart skipped at least two beats, one for each ‘surprise’.

  • cristobal

    JDM – The support group IS the addiction………

  • cristobal

    I have to also say, the NHL has got me boggled. Def Leppard and Alanis Morisette to open the season in Detroit after retiring Yzerman’s number? An NHL network that can’t show NHL games? Is this a Bizarro world?

  • JDM

    cristo – amen brother.

    on both posts.

  • cristobal

    I have to ask if there is anyone out there who knows how the Avery Experiment is going in Dallas? They got shellacked by the Blues tonight and I wonder if he’s already working his magic…

    Boy that Brad Boyes is just piling up the numbers. I don’t even know if I’ve seen him play – is he the real deal? Can’t wait to see a King/Blues game.

  • Chewy Rocky Horror

    Prior to 2000 the scouting staff was horrible. AEG had no minor league affiliates of their own. A lot their prospects were mishandled or rushed (Berg) because they lacked the resources to properly develop their draft picks. In 2000 they finally were moving in the right direction.

    I am one of the few that think DT got a raw deal because AEG never committed to winning prior to the lockout. He had to deal with dumpster players.

    It’s comical how people keep mentioning Jokinen. He was horrible and if it wasn’t for Keenan, he would have been out of the league a long time ago.

    Kopitar
    Frolov
    Cammy (traded for Teubert)
    Lubo (traded for Stoll & Green)
    Brown
    Boyle (he’s on the team)
    Gleason (traded for & DL traded to get Johnson)

    That’s a core DT help build. Show a little respect to the man who gave his heart & soul to this franchise.

    I give DL a lot of credit. He had the balls to tell TL & AEG to either let him run the franchise w/o interference or look for someone else. This is what happens when hockey people run a team instead of multi-media people who don’t know a damn thing about running a sports franchise.

    Go kings!

  • cristobal

    Chewy – And your thoughts on Rob Blake?

  • JDM

    cristo – here’s my thoughts on Blake…

    to quote Frolov – “I’m pretty sick and tired of what was going on here the last few years.”

  • JonG

    Taylor had some good picks and some bad picks, just like every other GM. Overall I think his drafting and trading record was fairly good EXCEPT for goaltenders. The only decent one was Felix Potvin and we got him off the scrap heap. Cechmanek was unbelievably bad, and I don’t know what they ever saw in Jamie Storr. Garon and Huet have had some success elsewhere, but I still don’t see them as difference-makers.

  • Moondoggie

    Nice job DL….Things are looking up!

  • nykingfan

    Hey David..How about Doughty for calder trophy? Let’s promote our own first.

    We all assume that taylor got little to no support from AEG, but we’ll never really know what went on. The only thing we can judge him on his the success he brought and the tlaent pool he left us. He had very little success and he left the organization with absolutely no talent base from which to grow. I give him all the credit in the world for drafting Kopitar, but that doesn’t make up for the pitiful shape he left the organization in. Again, it very well could have been AEG, but we can only judge him by what we know..and that’s the lack of talent he brought in.

  • SuperSonic420

    JonG – Jamie Storr was Sam “The Disaster” McMaster’s boy. Talk about a dark period in Kings history. DT was a major improvement over that era, that is for sure! Heres a nice lil fun fact, Storr was drafted in the 1st round, 7th pick. DL drafted Nabokov that year, in the 9th round!

    nykingfan said:

    We all assume that taylor got little to no support from AEG, but we’ll never really know what went on. The only thing we can judge him on his the success he brought and the tlaent pool he left us. He had very little success and he left the organization with absolutely no talent base from which to grow. I give him all the credit in the world for drafting Kopitar, but that doesn’t make up for the pitiful shape he left the organization in. Again, it very well could have been AEG, but we can only judge him by what we know..and that’s the lack of talent he brought in.

    NYK, as Chewy pointed out above, DT did not leave this team in complete shambles, but I do agree there were far too many misses than hits. You have to realize that the Kings have NEVER drafted well. DT’s best draft was in 2003 when he picked Brownie, Boyle, and Tambs, all in the first round. After that round, nothing. I think a lot of people gave DL crap for blowing up the scouting dept. a few years ago just before the WJC’s, but it was obviously the right move. The last two drafts alone (outside of the first rounds) have produced more quality NHL prospects then pretty much all of DL’s drafts combined. We all know DT was loyal to a fault, so I would have to say the blame goes to him for picking and/or retaining the scouting staff that got us pretty much nothing year after year. He was at least smart enough to keep his 1st round picks however, which is more than you can say about past regimes. So in that reguard, we should consider ourselves lucky we have a guy like DL for bringing in solid talent from the later rounds. Even if its just stocking the farm teams, most of these picks should play somewhere and not turn into complete busts like some past picks.

  • Chewy Rocky Horror

    cristobal:

    You mean the same Rob Blake who cried to the media about his contract? The same Rob Blake who gave up his captaincy because he wasn’t given a fair contract offer? The same Rob Blake that said no matter what team he gets dealt to, he’s going to test the free agent market? Then the day before UFA he signs with Colorado. The same Rob Blake who stole 13 mil from the kings the past 2 years?

    The Kings should not retire his number.

  • Anonymous

    Chewy,

    Olli wasn’t horrible, he was young and needed time to develop, something the Kings were never good with in the past. Yeah Keenan helped, but it was a pretty natural progression in Olli’s career.

  • Chewy Rocky Horror

    NYK:

    We do know because just before the last game of the year, they would have State of the Franchise meetings to discuss the teams direction. TL was calling the shots.

    TL’s goal was to stay competitive until the the new CBA was in place. AEG wasn’t committed to winning.

  • Anonymous

    Speaking of NON-hockey people running NHL teams, how about them Tampa Bay Lightning?? I couldn’t wait to watch that train wreck get going, and they haven’t disappointed me yet.

  • mrbrett7

    I can’t believe after 29 comments, not one mention of the kids sent to their Junior clubs and Manchester that Murray mentioned. Just a bitch fest over DT and Lombardi’s drafting…

    It has to be Loikonov, Voinov, Westgarth…who else?

  • ryan oliver

    aj:

    I do believe the Pens drafted Moulson. And I may be the only one, but Moulson reminds me alot of Robitaille. If he has a tenth of the career that Luc had as a King, I will be happy.

  • nykingfan

    I disagree guys sorry

    When DL came in, we had so few players that were NHL ready, it wasn’t funny. We were a terrible team the last few years and that was because we lacked NHL ready talent. That talent should have been cultivated during the DT years as well as before him. Aki Berg may have been rushed, but he never showed anything with Toronto after we let him go. I just don’t think Berg was very good. I understand that McMaster left Taylor with a lot of cr@p too so it wasn’t all his fault, but he never stood up to AEG and said let me try to build you a winner…He was happy being the loyal employee, which was a disservice to all of us fans.

    At least now, we see what it means to have a GM that has a plan and sticks to it. In the short time that he’s been here, we can see that this organization is heading in the right direction through patience and competent scouting and drafting. Honestly, did anyone have the feeling about the Kings that we have now during the Taylor regime?

    I loved Taylor when he played for the Kings and he was a true loyal organizational guy, but in the end it’s all about winning.
    I love the job DL has done, but if this all blows up, then he too should be shown the door.

  • jack handy

    CRISTOBAL- RE: AVERY

    watch this… tell me how you think its going. i wouldn’t want this on my team whether i was a player or a coach.

    i posted this a couple of days ago but i think it got lost in a heavy comment/content day.

    http://watch.tsn.ca/nhl/#clip102027

  • stepa

    Thank you RICH !!!

  • Anonymous

    Gee, and I thought that Lauri Tukonen was going to win the Calder… and the Art Ross…

  • mark4kings

    jack handy:
    Thanks for the Avery link. Once a cancer always a cancer.
    Brett Hull was hoping for a little color in the room. He should be careful what he wishes for…..

  • Brian S

    CRISTOBAL -

    A couple years ago I took my three year old boy to Tip-a-King. My kid really wanted to get a picture with Sean because he was his favorite player. First, we met Nordstrom who was very cool. Then Craig Conroy acutally walked through a goup of people unsolicited to kneel down and say hi to him. Luc, in his last year was also great.

    When we got to Avery, he was a total prick. He barely looked at Andrew and did not respond to or acknowledge anything Andrew said to him. He had this attitude like he would rather be anywhere else than with the great unwashed trying to get his august signature.

    Anyone with kids knows the feeling of having someone dis them. That was the end of any positive feeling I had for him. Since then I’ve read so many negative things about him (and heard them from team officials) that I’m thrilled he’s gone. I can’t wait for Brown to clock that little Troll (cleanly) when Dallas comes to town.

  • SuperSonic420

    mrbrett7 said:
    I can’t believe after 29 comments, not one mention of the kids sent to their Junior clubs and Manchester that Murray mentioned. Just a bitch fest over DT and Lombardi’s drafting…

    It has to be Loikonov, Voinov, Westgarth…who else?

    Juniors: Thomas Hickey, Colten Teubert, Dwight King, Geordie Wudrick, Bryan Cameron.

    Minors: Bernier, Purcell, Quick, Zatkoff, Bagnall, Lewis

    I.R: Clune, Cliche

  • Brian S

    HANDY -

    Thanks for that link. Bret Hull us an idiot for bringing Avery in. The Stars doomed themselves with Avery.

  • Samantha

    Rich, like so many have said: your blog is excellent. I’m a senior in high school way down in San Diego, and I can’t get enough of your work! I’ve been a Kings fan all my life and it’s awesome to see just how many other amazing fans there is out there.
    Keep it up!

  • mrbrett7

    Supersonic…

    I disagree a little bit with your list of players who are knocking on the door.

    Tuebert isn’t ready. He is a good 2 years away (which is fine).

    Dwight King may have scored big in Juniors, but didn’t show much in camp.

    Wudrick is a good 2 years away, probably 3.

    I tought Cameron looked good the couple of times I saw him.

    Bagnall will probably never make an NHL roster.

    Purcell needs to be MUCH more assertive on the ice.

    Lewis is nowhere close unless his play picks up tenfold this year.

    Quick and Zatkoff are both ahead of Bernier at this point.

  • Quisp

    mrbrett7, re “knocking at the door”:

    Well, as far as the players Murray alluded to, who will be competing at camp next year (which is basically what he said, right?), he mentioned a “couple” of guys (i.e. two) who went back to juniors and a “few” (i.e. more than two) who went to Manchester.

    The juniors guys are Hickey and Teubert. There’s really no way of knowing when they will be ready, next year, two years. I have been the biggest fan of Moller since the day he was drafted, and I never thought he would be ready this year.

    The Manchester guys are Bernier, Purcell, Martinez, Lewis and Clune (even though Clune is not in Manchester yet, I don’t think). You can parse who will be ready if/when, and what each needs to do to get there, but these are the guys who are “knocking.” Lewis probably won’t see action this year. The others probably will.

  • mrk

    I was actually in Vancouver when I saw that clip on TSN about Avery. He’s like Dennis Rodman of hockey. I wish we had TSN here.

    I have to give my praise to DL for locking Kopi up. This more than makes up for the 3 year signing of Cloutier.

  • mrbrett7

    After watching Teubert play once…he isn’t close to being ready next year.

  • SuperSonic420

    mrbrett7 – I agree the list is a lil long, but if we are talking best case scenerio for each individual prospect, any one of these guys could make the team. It would all depend on what the needs are and who would fit the best at that paticular spot. You just never know if a guy like Trevor Lewis will stay healthy this year and be the type of player he was drafted to be. Personally I hope very few prospects make the team next season so as to let these players grow and develop at their own pace, and make the team when they’re ready. Realistically I can only see Hickey (after probably half a year in Manch next season), Bernier (who will get his shot before Quick and Zatkoff imo), Voinov (If Hickey doesnt make it, or just blows past him), Martinez (another solid D prospect) and Purcell (who may be up this season if Moller or Simmonds are returned to Juniors) sticking with the team soon. I could definatly see some others coming up for calls up just to get a read on where they happen to be at their level of development. In any case, the future looks very bright, lets just hope we somehow dont screw it up like the Isles did.

  • SuperSonic420

    mrbrett7 said:
    After watching Teubert play once…he isn’t close to being ready next year.

    You cant just write off the guy based on one game! What if (knockin on wood) Jack Johnson is hurt in camp, Gauthier is gone and we have a gaping hole for a defensive d-man. If he has a great camp next year and proves he belongs, he would make the team, no matter what he did in a game a year ago. He was a highly touted draft prospect for a reason, he just doesnt have all the pieces to his game just yet, but he could dominate juniors this year and have a great camp next year. You just cant say for sure.

  • deadcatbounce

    Trevor Lewis was a mid-round pick in a weak draft, and I believe that he was drafted with thoughts of him being a success if he could make it as a third-line player. There’s still time, as he’s still young. Third and fourth liners tend to come and go quicker than most…

  • nykingfan

    mrbrett7

    No way you can judge Teubert based on one game…not only that, but guys can improve dramatically after one year. DL didn’t trade up to get this guy thinking he was a 3-4 year prospect….I would be surprised if he’s not competing for a spot next year in camp….
    Also, there’s no way the Kings think Zatkoff is ahead of Bernier at this or any other point since they’ve been in the organization. Bernier was drafted number one…that wasn’t by accident…Also, wouldn’t Zatkoff have been sent to Manchester where the level of play is muich higher instead of being sent to Ontario?

  • mrbrett7

    Not necessarily. You send goaltenders where they will play the most in order to develop. Zatkoff is starting in Ontario. Bernier and Quick, for now, are splitting the starts in Manchester. Read between the lines, and you will see where they are placed on the “depth chart”.

    As for Teubert, to begin with, you don’t put a 6’4″ 180lb. physical d-man into the NHL. So unless he puts on at least 20 pounds, he won’t be playing in the NHL anytime soon. When you have 2 first round picks, you have the luxery of taking a bit of a project. The 6’7″ kid who was taken (Myers?), probably won’t see NHL ice for at least 2 years, and he was drafted BEFORE Teubert.

    It’s extremely rare for any NHL draft pick to see NHL ice until 2-3 years after they are drafted, no matter who they are. Bobby Ryan was the #2 overall pick behind Sidney Crosby, and he can barely make the Ducks roster. A roster that can’t find scoring right now (yes, I know it’s more of a salary cap issue right now).

    Murray said a couple (2) in Manchester and a couple (2) in Juniors…I seriously doubt Teubert is one of them. I could see them being Hickey, Loikonov as both were with the Kings deep into camp, and in Manchester Westgarth and Martinez, as both were with the Kings deep into camp.

  • cristobal

    Chewy – Thanks for the negative points about Blake. I can’t say I really know about much of them, so they’re a bit of an eye-opener to me. I DO know that the Kings wanted him to stay in LA the first time and that they may have offered him the best financial offer, but that he just wanted out. While I don’t support that attitude, I do understand why at that point in this organization’s history he’d want to go. I always thought it might have been unhappiness with the coaching philosophy, but that’s just an outsiders view. It does sound like you’re close to the situation, or that you know things the average person does not. I appreciate your ability to recognize what DTaylor accomplished. Some of the posts on this thread don’t even have their facts right, or say he left this team depleted of talent which is unbelievably ignorant. Overall, he made some poor decisions, but he made some great ones too. Lombardi’s team is starting to look much better, but I still think he’s got much to prove. After all, he gets tons of top 3 overall picks for a reason, and players picked there OUGHT to perform.

    Jack Handy – Thanks for posting that bit about Avery. I did see it the first time, but that was before the season started. I saw that they got tonked by St. Louis yesterday and was wondering if anyone had seen any of their games. If the bad chemistry bleeds onto the ice, it could turn into a real circus there. I wonder who’ll take him in if Dallas sours on him.

    Brian S – I don’t understand why a player like Avery would even go to an event like that if that’s how he’s going to act. Reallly, the young man needs help. He’s got to be bi-polar or something. He should have spent the summer in therapy rather than at Vogue or Vanity Fair or whatever he did. Sometimes the NHL should be stepping in with a situation like this. Its obvious he’s got some really deep problems. I wonder if he’ll ever get help. He could do a lot to help the Kings in the standings this year, though.

    Supersonic – Lombardi wasn’t the GM when the Sharks drafted Nabokov. He was an employee there, but not the GM.

    NYKINGSFAN – I just have to say this again. Taylor left no talent base from which to grow????? What do you call Kopitar, Brown, Frolov, Visnovsky, Cammalleri, Gleason, Demitra, Corvo, Harrold, Conroy, Avery, Belanger, and Boyle to name a few? On the other hand, Lombardi has 1 goal from all his draftees so far – Simmonds with 1.

  • 24diving

    I can’t believe the revisionist history that goes on in fan comments. I am glad that there are a few like Chewy Rocky Horror who still have their memories intact. All teams have made both good and bad picks in the draft; all teams have given up on players who then did well with another team. We got Gleason when Ottawa gave up on him and he would have been one of our top defensemen had Lombardi not traded him to Carolina, where he is a top defenseman, just like the Kings gave up on Smithsom who plays regular minutes in Nashville.

    One thing that seems to be overlooked regarding the drafts is that the skill level of the players available, as a group, is not equal from year to year. The drafts in 2000-2002 were not deep. The draft in 2003 was predicted to be a deep draft and Taylor got three picks for the first round, two of whom have worked out well for the Kings and the other hasn’t worked out as well for the team that traded for him, yet anyway. The next two drafts had a few top players but no depth. The last two years, as predicted, were exceptionally deep drafts. Lombardi, et.al., had to get good picks as did all the other teams if they had the picks.

    Another thing which has been disregarded is that the development camps are not something Lombardi started. I’m not sure what year they were started, but I started going up to see them back in 2001, five years before Lombardi was hired. Until Kevin Gilmore fired him, they were run by the Monarchs’ coach, Bruce Boudreau. (You know, the guy who just won the coach of the year award in the NHL. Way to go, Gilmore.) Every year there were players who looked good yet didn’t develop and find a spot in the NHL. That’s all part of the game and happens in every team.

  • cristobal

    24diving – Good points about the draft depth. It shows how tough the draft is. The ’06 draft has yet to produce many names at all. Its got to be the reason Lombardi went off the board and took Hickey. Its a gamble, but there’s a good chance that all the players were really a gamble.
    Also, lets realize that the NHL is in a bit of a paradigm shift right now. The Salary Cap is affecting everything, wether we like it or not, and right now it looks as though the future is now. The young teams are playing well and veterans are being released and waived. I think the Ducks are a good example of the dangers inherent in this Capped game. They just won the cup 16 months ago, yet they could be one of those stories of temporary glory. I guess the NHL likes it this way, but dynasties and solit organizations are something fans like as well.
    Though we’re being assured of a stanley cup in LA in the next 5 years, it takes more than just great prospects to get there. San Jose has had some really strong teams the last couple of years and they have yet to reach the finals. That’s why we play the games.
    I am truly enjoying watching the Kings as Underdogs, however. America loves an underdog and count me as one who just cannot resist.

  • 24diving

    I can’t believe the revisionist history that goes on in fan comments. I am glad that there are a few like Chewy Rocky Horror who still have their memories intact. All teams have made both good and bad picks in the draft; all teams have given up on players who then did well with another team. We got Gleason when Ottawa gave up on him and he would have been one of our top defensemen had Lombardi not traded him to Carolina, where he is a top defenseman, just like the Kings gave up on Smithsom who plays regular minutes in Nashville.

    One thing that seems to be overlooked regarding the drafts is that the skill level of the players available, as a group, is not equal from year to year. The drafts in 2000-2002 were not deep. The draft in 2003 was predicted to be a deep draft and Taylor got three picks for the first round, two of whom have worked out well for the Kings and the other hasn’t worked out as well for the team that traded for him, yet anyway. The next two drafts had a few top players but no depth. The last two years, as predicted, were exceptionally deep drafts. Lombardi, et.al., had to get good picks as did all the other teams if they had the picks.

    Another thing which has been disregarded is that the development camps are not something Lombardi started. I’m not sure what year they were started, but I started going up to see them back in 2001, five years before Lombardi was hired. Until Kevin Gilmore fired him, they were run by the Monarchs’ coach, Bruce Boudreau. (You know, the guy who just won the coach of the year award in the NHL. Way to go, Gilmore.) Every year there were players who looked good yet didn’t develop and find a spot in the NHL. That’s all part of the game and happens in every team.