It is difficult to judge a GM's ability to evaluate/develop players. Every GM, no matter how good, has selected busts only to have players they passed over become elite. Every GM, no matter how bad, has gotten lucky. But since no two draft picks are simultaneous, you don't know what other GMs would have done. And each GM is picking in a different spot. So how can we compare records?
I thought of a way to compare Lombardi to an average GM. I took a spreadsheet and moved things to see who was drafted when after Lombardi's selections until 2009. For example, people complain that Lucic was taken two picks after Joey Ryan, and they are right Lombardi should have picked him, but it's hard for us to know if he should have known that, and how much other GMs knew. So here is the list of *all* players taken two spots after all of Lombardi's choices in the first two rounds: Jiri Tlusty, Mark Mitera, Sam Gagner, Erik Karlsson, Milan Lucic, Jeremy Smith, Maxime Macenauer, Jake Allen, Matt Clark, Alex Pietrangelo, Nazem Kadri. I think it's much more meaningful to ask "Should Lombardi have *always* drafted the guy picked two picks lower," than it is to ask "Should Lombardi have drafted this one particular guy that was picked two picks lower."
I think it's fair to compare Lombardi's choices with who GMs actually thought it was a good idea to pick soon after. We can compare Lombardi's list with the lists of those taken later to get an idea of how well he is doing against an average GM.
This doesn't completely evaluate his drafting/development ability because it doesn't take into account trading up and trading down in the draft - and area where he has clearly made terrible mistakes. But it does provide a new way to look at things.
Two times in the first round, there was a clear consensus pick that it's hard to give DL credit for making: Doughty and Schenn. The players that were picked after them are last in the lists, if you think it is fair, ignore those when evaluating.
Even though all of these lists are of players picked after the Kings' picks, by random chance alone we should expect a few lists to be better than Lombardi's. However, his list should be one of the best, since in every case he had a higher pick.
I made these lists expecting them to show Lombardi much worse than the average GM. Surprisingly, Lombardi's selections (even if not giving him credit for Doughty and Schenn) are not too bad compared to picks a few picks later. His total record is about as good as an average GM picking just a little later. Bad, but not too bad.
Lombardi has failed when trading up and down in drafts. He's also below average at drafting in the first two rounds. In my opinion, he's not as disastrously bad as it seems when thinking about just his more notable failures and his trades. My opinion of him went up. I now think he is pretty bad at drafting and I no longer think he is terrible.
Here are the lists:
Actual Kings draft choices, first two rounds, 2006-9:
1 pick later:
Michael Del Zotto
Calvin de Haan
Michael Del Zotto
Just for fun: BPA when Lombardi was drafting. The Kings could have had all these guys:
Jonathan Bernier/Bryan Little/Michael Grabner
Tomas Tatar/Jeremy Morin
Would've, could've, should've applies to EVERY team in the league.
The point is to compare a GM's picks to those picked later. If the list of all players picked one pick later is better than a GM's picks, and the list of all players picked two picks later is better than a GM's picks, and three, etc. the GM sucks. If the lists are noticeable worse, the GM is good.
That simply does not apply to every team in the league. Every team has *individuals* it missed. Not every team has the set of players other GMs decided to pick (one, two, three, four...etc.) better than the set of players they picked.
Lombardi happens to have the set of players he picked better than a few of the immediately later lists, and worse than a few. That's about average.
Interesting read. I think Lombardi's selected group of guys is definitely comparable to most other selections you posted (as it should be). I wish them all would have been slam dunks, but what are you gonna do.
Sorry for bringing up a minor point, but Doughty wasn't the clear consensus. As I remember it, it was fairly evenly split between draft services on whether Bogosian or Doughty was the top d-man. In retrospect, it would have been unforgivable for DL had he selected Bogosian instead of Doughty.