A lot has been said about Dean Lombardi's failure to deliver a premier scorer and talent to the LA Kings' lineup. Going back to 2007, a number of talented free agents have been available and went on to sign with other teams. The purpose of this thread is to discuss and analyze each of these apparent missed opportunities and see how these signings have panned out for their respective organizations.
To analyze Lombardi's supposed reluctance to add high profile free agents, let's take a look back at significant free agent signings of forwards since 2007 and see what Lombardi may have missed out on and review each one of those signings and apparent missed opportunities.
Chris Drury (NYR)
5 YEAR(S) VALUE: $35,250,000 CAP: $7,050,000
VERDICT: OVERPAID (Sather spending like a fool. Drury has been nowhere near worth his income)
Scott Gomez (NYR)
7 YEAR(S) VALUE: $51,500,000 CAP: $7,357,143
VERDICT: OVERPAID (one of if not the most overpaid athlete in the NHL)
Ryan Smyth (COL)
5 YEAR(S) VALUE: $31,250,000 CAP: $6,250,000
VERDICT: OVERPAID (but a wise transaction to trade for the last three years of his contract and have Smyth temporarily fill a top six LW position)
Daniel Briere (PHI)
8 YEAR(S) VALUE: $52,000,000 CAP: $6,500,000
VERDICT: SLIGHTLY FAIR (Briere has been a productive player with Philly, but the number of years that keep him under contract till he is 37 may be regretful)
Paul Kariya (STL)
3 YEAR(S) VALUE: $18,000,000 CAP: $6,000,000
VERDICT: OVERPAID (Kariya had one productive season in St. Louis before his body broke down)
Michael Nylander (WSH)
4 YEAR(S) VALUE: $19,500,000 CAP: $4,850,000
VERDICT: OVERPAID (a terrible contract that Washington has tried repeatedly to remove from its roster)
Brian Rolston (NJD)
4 YEAR(S) VALUE: $20,250,000 CAP: $5,062,500
VERDICT: OVERPAID (a contract Lou Lamoriello regrets to this day)
Sean Avery (DAL)
4 YEAR(S) VALUE: $15,500,000 CAP: $3,875,000
VERDICT: OVERPAID (an instant bust, Dallas couldn't wait to get rid of him and he had to be placed on re-entry waivers for the Stars to remove him. They are paying for half of his salary just to rid themselves of him and his antics)
Kristian Huselius (CBJ)
4 YEAR(S) VALUE: $19,000,000 CAP: $4,750,000
VERDICT: OVERPAID (while he has enjoyed 50-60+ point seasons in Columbus, he's taken a step back this season due to injuries and hasn't matched his career high performance from 2006-07)
Pavol Demitra (VAN)
2 YEAR(S) VALUE: $8,000,000 CAP: $4,000,000
VERDICT: OVERPAID (continued to be injury prone and largely a non-factor in Vancouver. His loss was not missed by Vancouver)
Markus Naslund (NYR)
2 YEAR(S) VALUE: $8,000,000 CAP: $4,000,000
VERDICT: OVERPAID (only lasted one season with NY before calling it quits. Did not have a memorable season with the Rangers)
Marian Hossa (DET)
1 YEAR(S) VALUE: $7,450,000 CAP: $7,450,000
VERDICT: FAIR (although lasting only one season with Detroit, he was able to score 40 goals and reach the Cup finals)
Ryan Malone (TBL)
7 YEAR(S) VALUE: $31,500,000 CAP: $4,500,000
VERDICT: SLIGHTLY OVERPAID (while I do like Ryan Malone as a player, he shouldn't be earning more than Dustin Brown. He's a 20 goal, 45-50 point player who should be getting about $1M to $500K less than what he is earning. He is also always hampered by injuries every year)
Marian Hossa (CHI)
12 YEAR(S) VALUE: $63,300,000 CAP: $5,275,000
VERDICT: FAIR (a cap circumventing contract that went unpunished. Can't fault the Hawks for exploiting a loophole in the CBA, they scored themselves an elite player and a Stanley Cup, despite Hossa largely being a non-factor in the playoffs)
Mike Knuble (WSH)
2 YEAR(S) VALUE: $5,600,000 CAP: $2,800,000
VERDICT: FAIR (a player Lombardi did pursue, but Knuble was interested in playing for a Cup contender)
Michael Cammalleri (MTL)
5 YEAR(S) VALUE: $30,000,000 CAP: $6,000,000
VERDICT: FAIR (he's struggled to remain healthy since signing with Montreal, but he has been a clutch goal scorer with a monstrous performance in the 2010 playoffs)
Marian Gaborik (NYR)
5 YEAR(S) VALUE: $37,500,000 CAP: $7,500,000
VERDICT: SLIGHTLY OVERPAID (when healthy, Gaborik is well worth his cap hit, but as most speculated at the time of his signing, Gaborik constantly has issues staying healthy. A risky signing at the time that yet to prove critics wrong that he can remain healthy)
Alex Kovalev (OTW)
2 YEAR(S) VALUE: $10,000,000 CAP: $5,000,000
VERDICT: OVERPAID (Kovalev has been a terrible signing for Ottawa. He's always been enigmatic and that hasn't changed)
Brian Gionta (MTL)
5 YEAR(S) VALUE: $25,000,000 CAP: $5,000,000
VERDICT: OVERPAID (he's a good player, but he's a 2nd line RW earning a lot of money that hasn't exactly produced like a $5M forward)
Martin Havlat (MIN)
6 YEAR(S) VALUE: $30,000,000 CAP: $5,000,000
VERDICT: FAIR (although Minnesota has not made post season play with Havlat yet, the clutch performer is delivering this season with 50 points in 59 games on a not so offensively talented Minnesota team)
Ales Kotalik (NYR)
3 YEAR(S) VALUE: $9,000,000 CAP: $3,000,000
VERDICT: OVERPAID (an absolutely atrocious signing. No surprise, it is yet another one of Sather's free agent blunders. No clue what Darryl Sutter was thinking when he traded for him and his grossly overpaid contract)
Ilya Kovalchuk (NJD)
15 YEAR(S) VALUE: $100,000,000 CAP: $6,666,667
VERDICT: OVERPAID (without a doubt Kovalchuk is an elite talent. However, he has only registered 41 points in 58 games and hasn't lived up to his contract. This contract also cost the Devils financially with fines and draft picks and they are likely to miss the playoffs, having been forced to ice a weak NHL roster due to salary cap restraints as a result from Kovalchuk's contract)
Looking at the above list of free agent signings, how many of those contracts would you say make sense that you would have no problem adding to the Kings? It only appears that a short list of those contracts befit the production the players above have been able to provide. More often than not, the free agents have failed to deliver and teams end up paying for a player's past accomplishments.
While there have been free agent signings that have panned out for some teams, it appears to be rare when a free agent delivers, meets or exceeds expectations. I am not totally against Lombardi pursuing free agents, but more often than not, he has made the right choice in showing restraint from signing players to ludicrous contracts.
I think Hossa would have been an excellent addition, and I think if he had been a UFA last summer instead of the summer before, we might have signed him.
I echo Chuceg's post. If you are going to criticize the hole on LW, you have to give him credit for filling the rest. He has done exactly what he said he would do in terms of the re-build by starting from the back end out and then down the middle. The wingers are last.
When Dean took over this club, it was in dire straits. We had a few key players, sure but the organization was very very weak then. There was no culture of winning, the Kings went from second place in the Western Conference to completely missing out on the playoffs. It was pathetic.
I understood what Dean Lombardi was doing then, he started from scratch and rebuilt the franchise from top to bottom. We weren't looking for people to come to LA to retire near the beach and collect a paycheck. Dean had to create an atmosphere where players are playing for each other and buy into the organization. To his credit, he has done that pretty well.
Dean has had some errors while with the LA Kings, sure but overall he has improved the organization from top to bottom. As far as the roster goes, it wasn't long ago that the Kings had 4-5 major holes to fill, not including the goaltending woes.
Soon, the Kings will be cup contenders and perennial playoff team.
There is always a preimum for UFAs, so of course you will find overpaid players in any analysis. One UFA that would have been nice is Tanguay (signed for $1.7M).
There are a few other nameless players that Lombardi kicked to the curb that could be filling in the top 6 as well. I think I'm more inclined to fault Lombardi for what he has failed to retain and develop within, rather than what he has failed to acquire.
I think that the proof is in the pudding when looking at the players on that list. If DL had done what allot of the people who post here are advocating and "had the brass" to sign Drury, the first player that he "lost out on" then would we be better off?
If he had signed Drury would we have gotten Doughty?
If he had signed Drury would we be any better today?
I don't know but in my opinion and just in my opinion DL hasn't really missed any opportunities that I am sorry about. Its just my opinion and I don't have a link but I know the difference between knee jerk reactionaries and cockeyed optimists and I think that there are allot of people in my opinion here who are making a ton of sense who fall in the middle of those two extremes in my opinion.
what I think we forget about is this is a cap world and if you get a guy like versteeg,blake,SK or others your done with being able to fill that whole whether they perform like the top 3 guy we need and frankly they won't be the difference maker we are looking for or that could change us into cup contender this year. as painful as it is to say we are 2-3 years away from a serious run to the cup but then we should be there for 4-5 years........thats not to say we won't be a force or we are in year 8 of the rebuild but lets be reasonable would we not be calling for his ass if he had outbid say the rangers in 07 just to appease us or the front office (myself included).......I ask my customers who are former engineers, and there are many surprisingly, that tell me how to install the equipment they just purchased for their homes how many they have installed and to let the professionals do their jobs and then complain if we do not get it right, seems IMHO that we have come a long way ,stand on the threshold of possible greatness if even half of the kids coming pan out and when all is said and done we will have a cup or three we been waiting all these years for.....sorry it turned into a rant
Dean's biggest mistakes are still his coaching hires. When Tippett became available, Murray should have been removed and Tippett hired.
Just imagine the Kings with a modern coach.
If only. I knew it when it happened that DTips was fired by the stars that we wouldn't end up with him and that was a really bad day in my opinion in Kings history.
We should have never let Tips go in the first place but then he becomes available and we keep grannie glum instead of changing gears and hiring a truly gifted coach.
People complain about our not getting one player or another but to me, this was like our letting one of the greatest of his generation walk when we could have had him for nothing.
Imagine where we would be right now with Tips as our coach. I mean, its only my opinion but Tips is the real deal and in my opinion coaches like him don't come around too often. Look at the dirt dogs and what their expectations were prior to hiring Tips and look at them now.
Gonna fall asleep tonight harumping about this one.