By Los Angeles Kings standards, it will be a quiet draft next weekend. The Kings will not choose until well into the second-round of the draft when they will choose with their 49th overall selection. But will general manager Dean Lombardi try to get a higher pick as he's been so used to having since coming to Los Angeles?
If things remain status quo, the Los Angeles Kings will enter next weekend's draft in St. Paul, Minnesota without a first-round pick since 1999. In fact, the Kings did not have to wait this long to make a pick in the draft since selecting Paul Mancini 77th overall back in 1978. So what will Lombardi do? Will he even do anything?
To Lombardi's credit, he was drafted very well since being appointed as the team GM in 2006. From first-round choices from Jonathan Bernier and Trevor Lewis to Drew Doughty and Brayden Schenn, Lombardi's made some noise with some of his selections in the later rounds from Wayne Simmonds to Andrei Loktionov to Oscar Moller.
It's safe to say that 2011 will be the Kings' draft anti-climax but that doesn't necessarily mean that nothing will come of it. Although this year's draft class has been somewhat dismissed by its lack of starpower, the class does showcase plenty of depth that many of the kids drafted this coming weekend will make that all-too-important transition to the big league as good players who can fill a team's needs without having his name leap off the page.
It's still yet to be determined what the Los Angeles Kings will be up to next weekend. With the recent news of Ryan Smyth wanting to return to Edmonton, some are anticipating a trade, which, more than likely, will not happen that early, if at all.
When he was hired in 2006, Dean Lombardi immediately implemented a five-year rebuilding plan for his team and since then, Lombardi and the Kings have drafted not only often but wisely placing the team in the right direction while, at the same time, making fans forget about all the duds that Kings management in the past had the audacity of drafting.
The draft has been a time when the Los Angeles Kings and their fans marked on their calendars and embraced the occassion in years past. After all, it was about the future of their team. Although drafting still is important, it's not as important to the Kings as the window of that five-year plan is now closed and it is now time for the Los Angeles Kings to start winning for today and not five years down the road.
If Dean Lombardi wants to shoot for a higher draft pick then so be it. If that were the case, though, just be sure it will come via a trade that neither Lombardi or the Kings will soon regret.