This season: 46-27-9 record (2-4 in playoffs).
The good: In the fourth season of his slow-build, build-with-youth plan, the Kings took a major step forward and made the playoffs for the first time in eight years. Drew Doughty and Wayne Simmonds, two young players drafted by Lombardi, had a major impact on the team. Free-agent signing Rob Scuderi stabilized the defense, Michal Handzus provided steady play and on-ice leadership and trade acquisition Ryan Smyth helped Anze Kopitar reach another level. The reserve list is stocked with prospects who seem ready to get a shot at the NHL soon.
The bad: There are bound to be holes in even the most successful organizations, but the Kings’ needs are high-profile ones. The defensive unit appears to be young, deep and in strong shape for years to come, and there are a handful of promising goalies, but what about the top-level offensive talent? Ryan Smyth is 34, Justin Williams has a well-chronicled injury history and there doesn’t appear to be much potential first-line talent in the pipeline. Who will play with Anze Kopitar on the first line in two or three years?
Going forward: Like Terry Murray, Lombardi has one season remaining on his contract. Given that the Kings are this far into Lombardi’s plan, and that things seem to be heading in the right direction, it seems unlikely that he would be cut loose unless there is a significant backward step. But there is still work to do. It will be fascinating to see how Lombardi handles the goaltending situation and to see what moves he makes in order to bring in some top-level offensive talent.