On Tuesday, we had an Extremely Serious Discussion about whether the Los Angeles Kings were correct to hand Darryl Sutter his walking papers. Because you’re smart, you probably figured that another Roundtable was coming, and you were right! Here’s Part Two, in which we ask (and answer) the question:
Should the Kings have kept Dean Lombardi, or was dismissing him the right move?
Carlos: Considering Lombardi is never shy about explaining how he feels, based on his comments the last two years I feel comfortable saying he has grown out of touch and it was time to move on. I don’t even mind the Brown and Gaborik extensions so much, as most agreed at the time they were the right moves. But his refusal to improve on the margins, instead leaning on his comfort zone of Dwight King, Trevor Lewis, Kyle Clifford, etc., along with his laughable World Cup roster, was enough to convince me that this organization needed a fresh set of eyes.
I don’t necessarily think they Kings need to clean house and attempt to emulate the Penguins and Blackhawks, but they definitely need to move away from the dogma of “Kings Hockey” and just focus on bringing in productive players. Whether or not Blake is the right guy for that remains to be seen.
Robyn: There's no denying what Dean Lombardi did for the Kings. He took a franchise that was perpetually terrible-to-mediocre and turned it into a contender. He delivered the first two (of hopefully many) Stanley Cup Championships to Los Angeles, where the Kings were suffering from general ambivalence in a city that thrives on and demands entertainment. However, his loyalty was a thing of convenience, to be utilized when it best suited his needs (i.e. Slava Voynov, Jarret Stoll) and he refused to acknowledge how quickly the league was changing, instead doubling down on an outdated model of play. In addition, he handed out some whopper contracts that looked bad at the time and look even worse now. So for that, thank you Dean and good luck in the future.
JJ: This ESPN article by Katie Strang explains it all. Lombardi will always be remembered for building a winner, but his emotional attachment to his players, who he considered his family, would be his downfall. Out of unwavering loyalty to his players, he forgot about another type of loyalty--the duty of loyalty that he legally owes to the Kings organization. It compromised the Kings as Lombardi signed extravagant and unwarranted contracts to Gaborik, Kopitar, and Brown. And it compromised the Kings as Lombardi failed to see the warning signs in Mike Richards. When we see how Stan Bowman has constantly shaken up the Blackhawks roster to keep them fresh and competitive year after year, it is clear to see that firing Lombardi was the correct step.
JZ: I've been back and forth on this, and will likely change my mind again, but I'll go on record here and say Dean should have been kept. The reasons for firing him are rational, yet often overstated. His record shows that he is one of the better GM's in the game and, I believe, quite capable of learning from mistakes. Also, recent drafts have shown the transition to finding skilled forwards is already underway (Amadio/Watson) and I think Dean deserved the opportunity to turn things around. That said, I am very high on Mike Futa, and retaining him makes Dean's departure a bit more manageable.
EK: I said in our previous roundtable that I was on board with keeping Darryl Sutter. Doing that probably would have meant keeping Dean Lombardi. Given the option of keeping both or keeping neither, though, I think I’m in favor of Lombardi packing his bags. As good as I still think the Los Angeles Kings are (and were) capable of being, their margin of error was always thinner than that of the other top teams, and Lombardi shrunk that margin of error too many times over the last couple seasons. A reinvention was possible, and I think a return to the playoffs was still likely under his reign, but he simply didn’t give Sutter the correct tools to work with recently.
Tell us what you think down below.
Should the Los Angeles Kings have kept Dean Lombardi, or was dismissing him the right move?
This poll is closed
The Kings should have kept Dean Lombardi
The Kings should have fired Dean Lombardi