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Los Angeles Kings’ 2011 Late-Round Draft Picks Working To Beat Long Odds

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The National Hockey League Entry Draft is one huge crapshoot in terms of teams landing prospects who will make it to the NHL level to stay, let alone big stars, even for those who are lucky enough to be first round picks.

Left wing prospect Joel Lowry spoke to the media
during the Los Angeles Kings 2011 Development Camp
at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California,
July 11-12, 2011.
Photo: Gann Matsuda

For those who end up being selected in later rounds, the odds of making it to the NHL are much, much longer. Nevertheless, every so often, they not only make it to the NHL, but they thrive there.

The most notable cases in point among Kings draft picks (not including active NHL players) would be:

  • Butch Goring, Center (fifth round, 51st overall, 1969)
  • Billy Smith, Goaltender (fifth round, 59th overall, 1970)
  • Dave Taylor, Right Wing (15th round, 210th overall, 1975)
  • Mark Hardy, Defenseman (second round, 30th overall, 1979)
  • Bernie Nicholls, Center (fourth round, 73rd overall, 1980)
  • Kevin Stevens, Left Wing (sixth round, 108th overall, 1983)
  • Luc Robitaille, Left Wing (ninth round, 171st overall, 1984)
  • Rob Blake, Defenseman (fourth round, 70th overall, 1987)
  • Alexei Zhitnik, Defenseman (fourth round, 81st overall, 1991) Read more of this post
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Lombardi’s Rebuilding Plan Making Unexpected Progress

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW – PART 3: Frozen Royalty is back with Part 3 from an exclusive interview with Los Angeles Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi. In this, the third and final installment, Lombardi discusses the Kings’ player development and evaluation infrastructure and the progress made in his rebuilding plan. And in case you missed parts one and two, you can read them here. Part 1: Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi Excited About Defense and Part 2: Lombardi Talks About Goaltending, Top Defenseman Prospects.


LOS ANGELES — For long-time fans of the Los Angeles Kings, the wait has been interminable.

Aside from one run to the Stanley Cup Finals led by Wayne Gretzky in 1992-93, the Kings have been a big disappointment, qualifying for the playoffs just twenty-two times in their forty-plus seasons in the National Hockey League but advancing past the second round just once.

To be sure, that is a rather dismal record filled with mediocrity.

A big reason for that long history of mostly lousy hockey has been their propensity for trading away first round draft picks for way-over-the-hill NHL stars who gave the Kings next to nothing. Meanwhile, the traded away draft picks were used to select future NHL stars such as defenseman Raymond Bourque, to name just one out of way too many who went on to lead their teams to great success, including a number of Stanley Cup championships. Read more of this post

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