The Los Angeles Kings General Manager is the classiest human being in the NHL today. Dean Lombardi has been nothing but a superior, honest and outstanding man of his word. He has done three great things in a very short period of time:
- Won the Stanley Cup
- Dealt prospective Vezina candidate to another team and still got a better deal than most imagined
- Built a core of Players and leaders on the roster that drive the team
All of his players, former players, and their current employers would agree that he keeps his promises and refuses to torture players longer than required.
He sent Jonathan Bernier to the Toronto Maple Leafs after saying that he promised he would trade him this off-season. He sent Simon Gagne back to The Philadelphia Flyers, where he had success with Philly before joining the Kings roster. Gagne is a free agent again, but the Flyers are trying to keep him around at a discounted rate.
When it was obvious there would be no place or for Peter Harrold or Andrei Loktionov, they were shipped to the New Jersey Devils. The latest example came from the entry draft. Goaltender Martin Brodeur was able to announce the selection of his own son, Anthony, in the final round of the draft using the team’s pick that had been acquired from Lombardi and the Kings for virtually nothing.
Other than securing his own place at Martin Brodeur’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the last pick to matter in that late of a round was Luc Robitaille, the highest scoring left wing of all-time and one-time rookie of the year selected in a later round that does not even exist anymore in 1986. Luc is currently president of non-hockey Operations in Los Angeles.
Picks like Lucky Luc that are so late in the draft are the GMs’ lotteries. Obviously, a few guys make it out of the minors and into the big dance of the NHL. Even less do so quickly while still in their teens. Those things, which seem unimportant to casual fan and idiot like me, can turn out to actually matter. Lombardi has made great strides in doing something when starting with nothing.
He’s curried favor from almost every Eastern Conference team. If you discount the teams that had to play his squad at all last season, more specifically in the last two playoff runs, the LA Kings’ man in charge of the players and the money is the most loved and most likely to be compared to King Solomon from the bible picking from any team’s current coaching or managing staffs, even players.