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What Would You Ask LA Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi?

On Saturday, I will be talking extensively with Los Angeles Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi in a one-on-one telephone interview.

Although I already have a list of questions for him, chances are good that I’ve missed something that “inquiring minds want to know.”

As such, I encourage you to post any questions you think I should ask in the interview here as a comment. I cannot guarantee that I will ask any particular question, but I will certainly try.

Please keep your suggested questions brief and clean. Any questions that include a personal attack or are otherwise deemed to be inappropriate will be deleted.

Why the warning? Well, as angry as some Kings fans are after how the team finished this past season, I have seen tempers boil over, especially when Lombardi is part of the discussion. I do not have the time or the patience to deal with such behavior, so call it a pre-emptive move.


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27 Responses to What Would You Ask LA Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi?

  1. ravinder aujla says:

    How far does Dean see Loktionov being away from being a contributor at the NHL level on a regular basis ?

  2. Gann Matsuda says:

    Already…a question I didn’t think of. Thanks. I’ll ask about both Loktionov and Voinov.

  3. Sam says:

    1. Before Lombardi came along, the Kings were planning to cut ties with Avery by not qualifying Avery. In he had to do it again, would Lombardi have qualified Avery?

    2. The 2010-11 salary cap is currently expected to have a decent sized drop. Although the official number won’t be known until late next June, what is your current estimate for the 2010-11 salary cap, and how does the expected decrease in the cap affect your plans for acquisition(s) this offseason?

    3. Lombardi mentioned in his letter that the players are now committed to staying in LA and training in the offseason. I know it’s only been a little over 2 months, but which players and/or prospects does he feel have made the biggest improvements thus far in the offseason?

  4. David says:

    When he chooses not to make particular trades for players he’s interested in, is it due to him not thinking the “fit” of the player is strong enough, or that he just doesn’t want to give up the return?

    For example, supposedly Colorado wanted Teubert and Bernier for Ryan Smyth at the deadline. Was it due to Smyth not being that big of a fit, or because he still thinks it’s too early to trade away Teubert and/or Bernier?

  5. Bob Bobson says:

    1) What were his influences towards his management style ? I heard he is a fan of the book “moneyball” which is where he got his ideas about modeling a hockey team after baseball.

    2) How much does he interact with the players ? Does he meet regularly ?

    3) In his open letter, he said the Kings’ goal is to make the playoffs next year. Can we officially say that rebuilding is over ?

    4) What kind of soul does he see in this team ? How close is it to the type of team he wants ?

  6. Gann Matsuda says:

    David…great questions, but those aren’t ones any general manager is likely to answer. GMs aren’t generally not going to address trade rumors in any great detail, especially around draft or trade deadline time, for obvious reasons. As to the question of fit vs. a players’ strengths, that all depends on the player(s) involved in a particular deal, right?

  7. Josh Model says:

    Dean,

    You talk about the importance of building a team “Identity”, similar to what Detroit has had for so many seasons.

    What steps do we need to take to build this Identity? Does it just come along with winning? Or are there other aspects that must go along with it?

    Also, what is the plan for Jonathan Bernier? Is this the year hes called up and stays in LA? Does he need another year in the AHL? It seems like we have been talking about this for a while now and it worries me that his development isnt coming along properly..

    thanks!

    -Josh

  8. Marc says:

    For DL, is there a number of picks that must hit in each draft to keep our system to level we are now at? (I look at how bad the 2004 draft was and the large hole that it has made in the system. To me we can not make all the trades everyone is looking for.)

    Also

    Now that we are having a draft watching party, dose that mean we keep the 5th or get back a top 15 pick in a trade? Why the change of plans?

  9. Gann Matsuda says:

    Marc…regarding keeping the pick or trading it, that’s not something he’s going to answer directly…or even indirectly. He cannot and will not tip his hand regarding anything he might do on draft day.

  10. Someone says:

    (1) Who is the #1 goalie heading into next year?
    (2) Which of Dean’s “boxes” does Brian Boyle project into?

  11. Steeeeeeeeeeeeeeve says:

    If Dean could pull out his crystal ball:

    Would he expect the fans to be happy, thrilled, or disappointed with the upcoming off season if all the cards fell into place?

    Does He expect the Kings to make the playoffs in the 09-10 season?

    Also

    How are fans different in LA than San Jose and Philly?

  12. knight of the realm says:

    Can you ask DL to give a review of Hickey’s and Teubert’s seasons?

  13. Gann Matsuda says:

    knight: I was planning on asking him more generally about the young prospects in the system and where he expects them to fit in next season.

  14. He says:

    What do you think of Jack Johnson and him possibly leaving?
    AND ALSO What are you currently planning on doing with Alexander Frolov?

  15. Faisal says:

    Dean has recently said that this is going to be the first off season where many of the teams young players have made the commitment to spend part of the summer in LA, training together with the team’s training staff. He has claimed that this will benefit the fitness of the players, as well as continue to build the bonds of friendship and caring for their teammates.

    My question is, is this same regimen of training together in the offseason in place at the minor league affiliates (AHL, ECHL)? If not, are there plans to implement it there?

  16. ukyo says:

    Can you highlight some of the improvements to player development that you’ve implemented since joining the Kings? What else is on the roadmap?

    What milestones do you feel would constitute an official end of the rebuild stage? Two consecutive seasons in the playoffs? Advancing to the second round? Something else?

    Does your philosophy on drafting change depending on how good the team is? For example, for a more mature team with fewer roster slots available per season, instead of picking well rounded players that have a higher chance of reaching their potential, perhaps go for high-risk/high-reward prospects with the expectation that fewer of them will pan out?

    Assuming all of our young players reach their potential, eventually it will be impossible to pay them all. We are seeing teams like Pittsburgh and Chicago on the cusp of this problem. What will be your plan when this happens to the Kings?

    Purely hypothetically speaking, what seems like a more exciting opportunity, and why?:
    1. Oft-injured but immensely talented goal scorer hits free agency.
    2. Franchise center with a Cup ring (but heavy contract) is made available due to team financial issues.
    3. Elite sniper with size asks to be traded.
    Hypothetically speaking, of course.

  17. JDM says:

    Mr Lombardi,

    Last year you were very clear that Brian Boyle, Ted Purcell and Matt Moulson had earned a spot to be lost, and they all basically lost that spot, with the exception of Purcell, but even that came with an asterik. Do you feel you may have made the comment prematurely, or do you think that the added pressure of your comment contributed to their collective disappointment?

    Also, are there any players (like Trevor Lewis) who you feel you can say that about this year?

    Speaking of youth, how did you feel the balance of veterans to youth to ‘tweeners’ like Brown and Greene was this past season? Do you feel that there needs to be a little more of a veteran presence or that the kids are ready to take on a little more than last year? Or do you think it was just right?

    When does the process of the NHL scheduling for next season begin? You and others have often said the Kings got dealt a poor schedule last season and that the organization would push for a more favorable one next year. If it has already begun, any progress? Can you explain exactly how the Kings intend to lobby for a more balanced schedule?

    thanks Gann, much appreciated!

  18. Ziggy Stardust says:

    Some of these questions may have already been asked, but copying and pasting my laundry list of Q’s for Dean from HFBoards.com:

    What do you think the Kings need to take the next step to become a serious playoff contender?

    Are you comfortable with Quick and Ersberg as the tandem in net to start the 09-10 season?

    Where do you think Jack Johnson is at in his development? Same question in regards to Boyle, Purcell, Drewiske and Moulson.

    Which players from Manchester do you think will be challenging for a roster spot in camp?

    How close is Thomas Hickey to being NHL ready? He seemed to perform quite well in his brief time in the AHL.

    What are your impressions of Evander Kane and Brayden Schenn?

    How many holes do you see that need to be filled?

    Thoughts on how Loktionov and Voinov performed in their first season of North American hockey.

    How close do you think Bernier is to being NHL ready?

    Is the scouting staff where you want it to be? What changes have you noticed in the war room from the first draft up until now?

  19. Aziz Khalil says:

    Mr. Lombardi,

    1. What do you think of Trevor Lewis’ progress so far? He had a above average year, stat-wise, in Manchester and played pretty well for us in Los Angeles..

    2. In your opinion, how much is it easier negotiating deals with your coach’s brother (Dany Heatley)? Or is it tougher?

  20. Marc Nathan says:

    Hey Dean,

    How would you justify to the handful of fans in Los Angeles who’ve been paying attention to the NHL for a few decades, dealing a 22 year old asset and the 5th pick overall, for a 35 year old who was clearly a step too slow in the playoff series vs. Detroit? Just wondered…

  21. Gann Matsuda says:

    As of this writing, he doesn’t have to justify anything. According to Rich Hammond, Lombardi has denied the trade rumors. Doesn’t mean such a deal isn’t in the works, but for right now, they’re untrue.

  22. Gann Matsuda says:

    I just finished my phone interview with Lombardi. Talked to him for an hour. Didn’t get a chance to ask about the Johnson trade rumor though. It’s going to take forever to transcribe that much material. :-( But that’s a good thing.

    Sadly, the quality of the audio is poor (there is a constant buzz throughout…don’t know why), so I’m not likely to release the audio.

  23. Tompa says:

    Looking forward to reading it, Gann! Keep up the good work.

  24. CUP4LA says:

    How soon will it be put up?

  25. geno says:

    When do you plan on publishing your interview with Dean? I’m looking forward to reading it. I hope he doesn’t trade the 5th pick. I believe you build your own stars through the draft. Why change focus now. If Dean were really smart, he would try an get Tavares. The kings need a goal scorer, you can’t get better one than him. He should package JJ and 5Th pick, along with boyle to get the 1st overall pick.

  26. Gann Matsuda says:

    Been really busy this week. Look for the first story either very late tonight (actually, the wee hours of Friday morning), or after 10 PM on Friday.

  27. Gann Matsuda says:

    Looks like the first story won’t be out until late Saturday night. Been way too busy this week…not quite finished with the transcription yet! Also, the State of the Franchise meeting is on Saturday morning..another reason to wait a bit…who knows…the Kings might reveal something new.

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