The National Hockey League draft is usually a flurry of activity, and the Los Angeles Kings are often at the center of that exciting situation. For the last few seasons, the Los Angeles Kings have had relatively high draft picks, making them a centerpiece in any consideration of the way the draft will play out. Last season the Kings weren’t quite so high up, but the draft was in Los Angeles. Either way, the Kings aren’t in quite the same place this season.
This season the Kings have no 1st round draft pick. It makes consideration of what’s going to happen on June 24th and 25th much less interesting to Kings fans. Or perhaps it makes it that much more interesting. Certainly stars are found commonly in the first round, but franchise dynasties are built on success in later rounds. Look at the Detroit Red Wings if you need a cliche example. The Kings are going to need to make the most of their picks in later rounds if they want the 2011 draft to provide anything of any real substance.
Fortunately for the Kings, if there was ever a season for the Kings to neglect a first round pick, this might be that season. There are certainly some talented players, as there are every season. Nonetheless, there are few sure things in the mid to late rounds of the draft this season. While a draft pick in the top 5 or so should net as close to a sure thing as there ever is (and there never is), after that, there are a lot of gambles. Fortunately such draft might allow the Kings to snag a moderately talented player with their first pick of the draft in the 2nd round.
The question does persist though, will Lombardi move back into the first round to make a selection? I wouldn’t rule it out, and with the log-jam that the Kings have on the professional roster, if Lombardi believes one of his youngsters is ready to make the jump, he may very well ship off a roster play for a selection possibly has high as the 1st round. Still though, I don’t see it happening. The Kings are in a place where dealing roster players for draft picks makes relatively little sense. Even if Lombardi is interested in unloading a contract or two, he is likely to want to look for a known-quantity rather than another prospect to stick in the system.
Regardless, with the draft coming up shortly, we’re going to try to take a look at some of the players that are likely to characterize the top end of the draft, with an eye towards any that might drop. Also worth noting, if you’re looking for updates, I may be slow coming for the next couple weeks. Getting married (and the subsequent honeymoon) may distract me from this page and the many loyal readers. Rest assured, I’ll be back as soon as I return and ready to continue in full force.