This is, admittedly, kind of a weird first post.
So, hi, I’m Kelsey, and I hate this hiring.
I hate it because Todd McLellan has helmed two teams to the bottom of the league - the (2014-2015) Sharks and the (2017-2018) Oilers - who did not rebound under his watch. How will his time with the Kings be any different?
Mainly, though, I’m disappointed in the GM Rob Blake is turning out to be. I was hoping for a clean slate after Dean Lombardi, someone with an eye to the future who would build a team that could self-propagate rather than one that implodes every five years.
For a while, it looked like Blake could be that GM. He encouraged calling up young players and actually using our prospect pool. He made some exciting draft choices like Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Akil Thomas. He seemed to understand that Jonathan Quick is not immortal and beefed up our depth in goal with Matt Villalta. Sure, he made what I consider some dumb trades - including giving up Nic Dowd and Nick Shore - but he’s a young GM still learning.
And then he fired John Stevens. I am, admittedly, a Stevens fan and he did get us into the playoffs his first year as head coach. Sure we got swept in the first round, but that’s certainly better than being the 30th place team in the NHL. Yes, this season sucked from the get-go, but I think John Stevens had earned more than 13 games to turn the team around. We know now that coaching certainly wasn’t the problem in the LA Kings locker room this season.
With John Stevens’ departure and the Tanner Pearson trade right after, it looked like the Kings were making moves just to make them. Maybe the front office was taking a page out Dean Lombardi’s win-now-pay-later playbook.
One problem with that play - the front office failed to execute. With interest surrounding players like Jeff Carter and Alec Martinez, those trades never developed. Instead - in a potentially short-sighted decision - talented young defenseman Jake Muzzin was moved for a pick and prospects.
The Kings locker room clearly needed shaking up and maybe those picks and prospects will develop into solid players. Maybe, maybe Rob Blake had an eye to the future after all.
But now he has hired Todd McLellan - a coach whose career has followed Darryl Sutter’s both in style and geographically. For a locker room in crisis, someone with as reportedly abrasive coaching methods as those two gentleman seems ill-advised at best.
It appears Rob Blake has abandoned his own path in favor of the one Dean Lombardi forged. One that leads directly to the cliff the Kings are now falling over.
If the Kings draft a 6’6” 200 lb kid from Ontario with middling talent fifth overall, I guess we’ll know for sure that Rob Blake is Dean Lombardi 2.0.