Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi made a pretty substantial move on the first day of the NHL Entry Draft to get Derek Forbort (D, USA U-18 USHL). The Kings traded the 19th and 59th pick to the Florida Panthers for their 15th overall. That was a bit unexpected seeing as how Paul Holmgren was sitting at the Kings table for quite awhile, but you can misconstrue the slightest look as something else on this floor. I thought this was a solid Dean Lombardi pick. The fact that he made the move in front of the STAPLES Center crowd was the icing on the cake.
It was great to see the Kings put up video packages in the arena for everyone to feast their eyes on before the Draft started. Can't go wrong with free advertising to a different crowd not completely made up of Kings fan (usually 60-80%) and the opposition fans (40-20%). Luc Robitaille and Dustin Brown started off the evening with a nice speech and the cheer quickly turned into the usual boos when Commissioner Gary Bettman took the stage.
The big story of the Draft was just how far Cam Fowler and Brandon Gormley fell. They were ranked 5th and 6th overall, respectively, by Central Scouting. After much sympathy on the Twitter stream, Fowler ended up going 12th to the Anaheim Ducks. As an aside, I wonder what it feels like to be booed mercilessly when you're drafted because the Kings fans gave him the normal reception a Duck finds in STAPLES Center. Anyway, he now has a home as does Gormley who was chosen 13th by the Phoenix Coyotes.
A few notes:
- It was quite cold on the floor of STAPLES Center, which was full of pleated pants but thankfully no Tevas.
- The booing when Anaheim was announced was music to my ears. Thanks to all you Kings fans for putting that smile on my face.
- All these little prospects were so awesome in their interviews. Of course this is the greatest day of your life!
- A quick NHL.com story on Wayne Gretzky's legacy on hockey in California.
Overall, the first day of the Draft seemingly went off without a hitch. The operative word being "seemingly." The Kings made a good move to get a D man added to the stable and I left STAPLES Center satisfied.