Even though, by this afternoon, everyone was fairly certain the Kings would draft defenseman Drew Doughty with the No. 2 pick, there was a nervous moment for Doughty just before the draft started.
Sitting in the stands with his family, Doughty watched as Kings GM Dean Lombardi and Calgary GM Darryl Sutter had a long conversation and shook hands. Doughty thought the worst.
“I kind of buried my head in my hands,” Doughty said. “I said, `Oh, no.’ I really wanted to be a L.A. King.”
Doughty, who grew up as a fan of the Wayne Gretzky-era Kings, was concerned that the Kings had just traded their No. 2 pick to Calgary. Doughty was quite relieved to learn that while the Kings did trade a first-round draft pick, it was their No. 28 pick and had nothing to do with him or the No. 2 pick. A few minutes later, Doughty became a King.
Here’s the path the Kings took to drafting defenseman Colten Teubert with the No. 13 pick tonight…
The Kings acquired a 2008 first-round pick from Dallas in the trade last season that sent Mattias Norstrom to the Stars. That pick ended up being the No. 28 overall pick.
The Kings sent that No. 28 pick, along with the No. 17 pick they acquired by trading Michael Cammalleri to Calgary, for the Ducks’ No. 12 pick, which the Ducks had acquired from Edmonton.
The Kings, eyeing defenseman Colten Teubert, thought they could move down from the No. 12 spot and still get Teubert. They had a deal in place, with an unnamed team, to move down two or three spots but Buffalo, which held the No. 13 pick, was nervous about missing out on its targeted player. The Kings and Sabres talked, and the Kings agreed to trade the No. 12 pick for Buffalo’s No. 13 pick, plus a third-round pick in 2009, UNLESS the Kings and Sabres coveted the same player.
How did they resolve this? Each GM got out pen and paper and wrote down which player he wanted to draft. They agreed to make the 12-13 swap if they coveted different players, so that the third, unamed team wouldn’t swoop in and steal Buffalo’s targeted player. They showed each other the papers. The Kings wanted Teubert; the Sabres wanted Tyler Myers.
The Kings and Sabres made the swap. Buffalo took Myers at No. 12 and the Kings took Teubert at No. 13.
Here are some quotes from Dean Lombardi after the first round of the draft. I didn’t get to ask him about Dan Cloutier because he had to cut the call short. I’ll get it tomorrow.
On his analysis of the two picks…
“Doughty’s hockey sense is off the charts. I think everyone has a handle of what type of player he is and the special player he could become. … I think we got (toughness) from Teubert and I think that element was lacking in our group.”
On the decision to trade back up in the first round…
“We set a target from (picks) 11 to 13. That’s where we had to be to assure ourselves that we had (Teubert). I was offered some good players (for Cammalleri) who could help us now but they didn’t help us in terms of this young core we have put together.”
On how the three-team trade came together…
“I couldn’t get anyone to trade with me outright. What was clear to me was that I couldn’t get into where I needed to be (to get Teubert). To give up Cammalleri, we had to be in that layer, where Teubert would be there. I couldn’t get there outright (trading with one team), so I had to work at sprucing it up a little. … (Pick No.) 17 was not enough for me to get what I wanted. I thought he was going in the 13-15 range so I was going to teams in the 11 to 14 range. I’m going to teams saying, `If I get 17, would you take 17 and 32?’ You start laying out your cards. We (Lombardi, Brian Burke and Darryl Sutter) were all upfront about what we wanted.”
On the decision to trade down from No. 12 to No. 13…
“There was a choice. I could have traded and moved down two spots if I wanted to get cute with it. There was an opportunity for me to move back two or three spots and take a chance that (Teubert) would be there. Finally I went to (Buffalo) and said I won’t trade with this other team if you tell me who you’re taking. So we wrote down who we both wanted and kind of turned the paper over. Sort of like blackjack, showing your cards. We didn’t have the same player written down, so we made the trade.”
On the idea that this is the most important draft in franchise history…
“I got pressure put on me by my owner (team governor Tim Leiweke), who said, `I want the best Kings draft in history.’ … That’s a little internal pressure, which is good. … I guess we won’t know unti we’re down the road a little ways, but I don’t know which draft isn’t important.”
On the decision to trade Michael Cammalleri…
“This kid is obviously a good player, but it became fairly clear to me that he was probably going to be a one-year asset, and it’s very clear that our ownership wants a young nucleus. … I think that arbitration process, people said the Kings won but you never win. Quite frankly it’s a lose-lose situation. That was certainly a factor going forward. OUr chances of losing him and not maximizing our value were pretty good.”
Sorry about that, folks, but you should be able to comment now. I apologize and I thank you for the patience. I’m curious to hear what everyone thought of today’s action. In fact, a poll might be in order. I’ll get a few of the Lombardi quotes up tonight…
— It’s probably 94 percent certain that the Kings will choose Drew Doughty. Dean Lombardi has not said so explicitly, nor will he, but I wouldn’t say something like that if I had serious doubts. I’m leaving a five-percent margin of error, in case the Kings get overwhelmed by a trade offer tomorrow, and a one-percent margin of error in case they discover tomorrow that Zach Bogosian can stop pucks with his teeth and score on 80-foot slap shots.
— The likelihood of any trade, at this point, is fairly low. I really believed that the Kings would be able to package Cammalleri or Visnovsky, but it doesn’t seem that the trade market in Ottawa is as strong as some anticipated it would be. There seems to be a willingness among some teams to wait and see how free agency shakes out.
— A Kings move back into the top 15 of the draft is possible, but not probable, at this point, given the trade market. Lombardi did comment on this point, and said, “I’m not sure I can get (a pick) high enough that I just don’t sit. You put your lines in the water and see what happens.”
Again, I’ll admittedly hedge my bets on the last two, because as I write this, there’s still about 17 hours until the draft, and anything could happen. But that’s what is out there at the moment.
One report out of Ottawa had 2008 Hart Trophy candidate Evgeni Malkin on the move from the Eastern Conference champion Pittsburgh Penguins, while Jason Spezza’s name continues to be mentioned as possible trade bait. The latter claim was quickly disputed by the Senators’ chief deal maker.
“You guys make up more stuff than I can ever imagine,” Ottawa general manager Bryan Murray told reporters on Thursday. “I heard a rumour last night that Pittsburgh was moving one of their star players. I talked to their manager today to see if I could be included in the discussions and they kind of laughed at me.”
Pretty much says it all.
I’m still waiting to hear from Lombardi. Chances are, he will call about five minutes after I walk out of the office. But if there’s an update to be made tonight, I’ll certainly make it.
Here’s what Dean Lombardi told the Canadian Press today. It’s pretty consistent with a) what he said after the Crawford firing and b) the exact same thing that’s said by every GM every year before the draft. They’re keeping options open, etc., etc. An enterprising reader could probably go back 12 months and find almost-identical quotes. So we’ll see what happens. Quotes like this speak to how fluid the situation is…
“On the first front, I figured I had two legitimate offers for the pick outright that I presented to ownership last week. But it was very clear the direction they want to go, which is more committed towards putting together a solid nucleus.
“As far as moving down in the draft, those are still options. That still has to remain in the equation. And I would suggest that that could go right up until we make the pick. I think the deal outright for the pick, you’re probably in or out for sure the day before.
“The one where you’re moving moving down, as I’ve done in the past, can sometimes not happen until right up to making the pick. I’ve had one legitimate proposal that deserves consideration in terms of moving back.”
TSN.ca is doing an extensive blog about the NHL’s draft combine in Toronto, where general managers and scouts are getting a look at some of the top prospects. The only mention of the Kings so far is about Dean Lombardi talking to Nikita Filatov. I think it would be more interesting to read about Lombardi talking to Doughty or Bogosian, but oh well. The blog is a good read…