Dean Lombardi

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Dean Lombardi
Born Dean Lombardi
(1958-03-05) March 5, 1958 (age 56)
Holyoke, MA, USA
Occupation General Manager & President of the Los Angeles Kings

Dean Lombardi (born March 5, 1958 in Holyoke, Massachusetts) is President, General Manager, and Alternate Governor of the NHL's Los Angeles Kings. He previously served as GM of the San Jose Sharks, a position he held for seven seasons (1996–2003). In 2012, his sixth year as Kings GM, the team won its first Stanley Cup championship.

Early life[edit]

Lombardi grew up in Ludlow, Massachusetts. During the 1974-75 season, as a junior at Cathedral High School, he was an All-Western Massachusetts forward. The next season (1975–76), as a senior, Lombardi was a member of the Wallace Cup champion Springfield Olympics of the New England Junior Hockey League, where he played for top talent developer Gary Dineen. Lombardi then played two more seasons for Dineen, and was selected to the All-America Junior hockey team. During his college freshman year he played hockey at Division 2 power Elmira College, before transferring to the University of New Haven, where he was selected the scholar/athlete his senior year, and served as captain his junior and senior years. Lombardi graduated third in his class.

Lombardi later attended law school at Tulane University, graduating with honors and specializing in labor law. He initially became a player's agent under the tutelage of famed agent Art Kaminsky, building a stable of players, including some members of the 1988 United States Men's Olympic Hockey team. Eventually, Lombardi crossed over into management as assistant general manager to Jack Ferreira with the Minnesota North Stars from 1988–1990, then moved with Ferreira to the expansion San Jose Sharks. Lombardi was appointed general manager of the Sharks in 1996. He is the son-in-law of Hockey Hall of Fame winger Bob Pulford, also a longtime NHL general manager and coach-of-the-year in 1974-75 for the team his son-in-law now manages, the Los Angeles Kings.

As GM[edit]

Upon taking over the San Jose Sharks, he was widely criticized for signing veterans. This move, however, proved to be beneficial while stockpiling the team's farm system with homegrown talent. During his tenure as Sharks GM, he drafted Patrick Marleau, Brad Stuart, Scott Hannan, Marco Sturm, and Marcel Goc in the first round along with Jonathan Cheechoo, Mark Smith, Ryane Clowe, and Christian Ehrhoff in the later rounds.

He also traded for established veterans, including Owen Nolan, Teemu Selänne, Adam Graves, Vincent Damphousse, Mike Ricci, Kyle McLaren, Mike Vernon, Todd Harvey, Bryan Marchment, and Scott Thornton, while developing their prospects slowly. All would become vital in the Sharks success during his tenure. The team would increase their point total for six straight seasons during his guidance, becoming only the second GM in NHL history to accomplish the feat. Only Hockey Hall of Fame GM Bill Torrey accomplished more consecutive seasons of increased point totals, seven (1972-73 to 1978-79), in his overseeing the dynasty of the New York Islanders into the early 1980s.

Lombardi was relieved of his duties, late in the 2002–03 NHL season, a season in which many felt the Sharks would go deep in the playoffs, but struggled with a slow start and never recovered. This could be mainly attributed to the lengthy contract hold-out of star goalie Evgeni Nabokov.

Shortly after his firing he was hired by the Philadelphia Flyers as a Western Conference scout, a position he held until April 2006 when he was appointed president and general manager of the Los Angeles Kings. He brought along Ferreira as a special advisor. As with the Sharks, Lombardi was a shrewd drafter and developer of talent, drafting the likes of Jonathan Bernier, Trevor Lewis, Alec Martinez, Slava Voynov, and his most notable draft pick, Drew Doughty, the number two overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Lombardi also complimented the draft picks with solid veteran signings and trades for Dustin Penner, Mike Richards, and Jeff Carter, among others. As he did with the Sharks, Lombardi's Kings saw gradual improvement yearly, culminating with a 101 point season for the 2009-10. However, the Kings were eliminated in the first round of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Vancouver Canucks. The following season the Kings won the same amount of games (46), and had 98 points, but were defeated in the first-round once again, this time by his former team, the San Jose Sharks.

Stanley Cup Champions, 2011-12[edit]

The Kings started the 2011-12 NHL season slowly, going 13-12-4, a record that resulted in Lombardi's firing of head coach Terry Murray. It was a tough move by Lombardi because of his respect for Murray, but a move that he felt had to be made to salvage the season. Lombardi opened himself up to criticism by tapping his former head-coach in San Jose, Darryl Sutter. Many believed this was simply a case of recycling a friend and former coach, but Sutter was exactly what the Kings needed to jump-start their season. Murray was retained as a scout. Still, it was battle for the rest of the year for the Kings to qualify for the playoffs, which they did by five points (95-90) over the Calgary Flames for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

That qualification would be the beginning of arguably the greatest and most improbable run in playoff history. The Kings would set several records in their run to the Stanley Cup championship, including being the first eight-seed to win the Stanley Cup, the second team (Calgary Flames) to eliminate the top three seeds in their conference and first eight-seed to do so (Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues, Phoenix Coyotes), the first team to build 3-0 series leads in all four rounds (Canucks, Blues,Coyotes,and New Jersey Devils), and winning the most games on the road for a Cup champion, 10, and the most consecutive wins on the road, 10. The Kings never faced an elimination game, and only lost one game on the road, and that didn't happen until Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final in New Jersey, their 11th and final road game.

On June 11, 2012, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the Kings won the franchise's first Stanley Cup with a 6-1 victory over the Devils. The Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP was goalie Jonathan Quick, a product of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst of the Hockey East conference. Lombardi was quick to praise Murray for getting the team going in the right direction on the bench, and it was announced the team elected to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. He also highly complimented his predecessor Dave Taylor of laying the foundation with keen draft picks, including Anze Kopitar. On June 14, 2012, an estimated 250,000 people came out for the Kings victory parade through downtown Los Angeles. On August 8–9, 2012, Lombardi continued the tradition of every member of the current Stanley Cup champions spending a day with the Stanley Cup by bringing it to his native Ludlow, Massachusetts.

On June 13, 2014 Lombardi's Kings won the Stanley Cup Championship for the second time in three seasons.

References[edit]

Preceded by
Chuck Grillo
General Manager of the San Jose Sharks
1996-2003
Succeeded by
Doug Wilson
Preceded by
Dave Taylor
General Manager of the Los Angeles Kings
2006–present
Incumbent