At this point, there’s not a lot of buzz about the upcoming NHL Draft, mostly because the Kings aren’t expected to be a big participant in it. Because of the Dustin Penner trade, the Kings don’t draft until the second round — they hold the No. 49 pick — and they hold only six picks in the seven-round draft.
This is a rather stark contrast to Dean Lombardi’s history, both with the Kings and the San Jose Sharks. Lombardi has participated in 12 NHL Drafts as a GM, and only once did he not have a first-round pick. That was in the 2000 draft, after Lombardi traded a package of draft picks to Montreal for Vincent Damphousse.
The Kings made only five draft picks last year, after making nine in 2006, 10 in 2007, nine in 2008 and 10 in 2009. The downward trend, to be certain, is part of the plan that Lombardi put in place when he got hired. The first few years were about acquiring young talent. Now, the question is, how much of that talent will develop and make an impact at the NHL level? And of course, given Lombardi’s proclivity toward wheeling and dealing at the draft, it certainly wouldn’t be surprising to see him trade back into the first round.
Before the first round — June 25 24 in St. Paul — I’ll have some thoughts from members of the Kings’ front office about the draft. For now, here’s the list of the Kings’ scheduled picks…
First round: No picks
Second round: No. 49
Third round: No. 80
Fourth round: No. 110
Fifth round: No. 140
Sixth round: No. 170
Seventh round: No. 200