Dean Lombardi is an architect of a Stanley Cup Champion team. There are only 7 General Managers today who can claim that for their current team. And #17 on the countdown of the Top 25 in LA is one of them.
Lombardi is from Massachusetts, and prior to being named GM for the Kings in April, 2006, he was the GM for the San Jose Sharks from ‘96 to ‘03. Lombardi took over from Kings great Dave Taylor who held the position for the previous 9 seasons. Taylor laid the groundwork for the 2012 Champions when he drafted Dustin Brown, Jonathan Quick, and Anze Kopitar. But Lombardi steadily built an improving franchise that finally broke through this year.
The Kings record in Lombardi’s seasons:
06-07′–Record: 27-41-14 — 68 points — No Playoffs
07-08’—Record: 32-43-7 – 71 points – No Playoffs
08-09’—Record: 34-37-11 – 79 points –No Playoffs
09-10’—Record: 46-27-9 – 101 points – Lost in 1st Round
10-11’—Record: 46-30-6 – 98 points – Lost in 1st Round
11-12’—Record: 40-27-15 – 95 points – Stanley Cup Champions
Dean Lombardi pulled the trigger on some blockbuster deals, and his General Manager colleague in Chavez Ravine has been recently emulating him. In the offseason Lombardi sent Braden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds to Philly for their captain, Mike Richards. Then he sent veteran defenseman Jack Johnson to Columbus for Richards’ running mate from Philly and then Blue Jacket Jeff Carter. These make or brake moves eventually put the Kings over the top for the Cup.
Then not to mention he made the gutsy decision to fire Terry Murray mid-season and hire Darryl Sutter. It’s a less risky move in hockey because coaching changes happen so frequently, but obviously he picked the right guy.
But it didn’t have to go so well, as the other 29 General Managers could tell you.
Lombardi gets the nod over #18 Dustin Brown because he puts the guys on the ice. He makes the tough decisions. Brown keeps the guys on the ice in the right place—and peer leadership shouldn’t be discounted. But Brown does not have any control of who is on the ice with him. Ask Rick Nash how hard it is . . .was to be a good player on a bad team.
Lombardi in LA walking around is a regular guy. Outside of his neighbors it is likely he isn’t recognized as the puppeteer of a Stanley Cup Champion. To that end, in his day with the Cup, Lombardi spent his day with his father in Springfield, Mass bringing it to a local children’s hospital. Its probably mostly because he lost his voice, but Lombardi didn’t even want to talk at the Kings rally inside Staples.
The former agent, scout, and GM of a Northern Californian team without a Cup; Lombardi is now the GM of the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings, and number 17 on our list of the Top 25 Most Important People in sports in LA Today.
Who will be Number 16?