Monday, July 07, 2008

A Poorly Run Team

I wrote a post a few days before the draft called a sign of a poorly run team, where I said that the Atlanta Thrashers, Los Angeles Kings, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs are all showing signs of being poorly run since they did not have their coaching or management positions properly filled at a late enough point in the game where input from these unhired people would have been helpful. Since then, Atlanta hired coach John Anderson, Tampa Bay hired coach Barry Melrose and Toronto continued to let Cliff Fletcher serve as interim GM. However, we are now a week into free agency and the Los Angeles Kings have not found a coach yet.

On a well run team, a coach is hired early in the off season so that he can be consulted on trade offers leading up to the draft, which players to sign/ re-sign etc. Basically, you want to build the kind of team that your coach will be comfortable with. This job is nearly impossible when you have not identified a coach yet.

If Los Angeles has been unable to find a coach yet, what have they done? They haven't signed any free agents. No free agents at all have been signed by the Los Angles Kings. What they have done is make a series of trades. These trades have seemed to reduce the talent level of next year's LA Kings. The two most significant players traded away are Mike Cammalleri (to Calgary) and Lubomir Visnovsky (to Edmonton). Both of these are key players who had been part of the Kings core. The most significant player coming back might be Jarret Stoll from Edmonton, who for the last two years scored fewer points than either of Cammalleri or Visnovsky. It seems Los Angeles is subtracting from a team that finished tied for last place. They have not added talent or even a coach. What is the plan?

The lone strength LA has is a good group of young forwards. They include Anze Kopitar, Alexander Frolov, Patrick O'Sullivan and Dustin Brown. They will likely improve, while the rest of the team does nothing. They lack a top level goalie (Jason LaBarbera is not a top starter). They allowed a conference leading 266 goals last year, and with the depletions from their defence (Visnovsky, Rob Blake and Brad Stuart were there last year - or most of it in Stuart's case) that number could go up.

Los Angeles looks like one of the weakest teams in the NHL. They finished tied for last place last year and have subtracted talent in some trades. They have not even been able to successfully hire a coach or attract free agent talent (are Los Angeles's sun and beaches really a hard sell?). Dean Lombardi has done nothing to earn my confidence in him as their general manager. This is not a case of a team that appears to be on the upswing.

1) You can add the NY islanders to your list. Sure they have a coach hired, but from the looks of things he's going to not last the season and management knows it BEFORE the season has even started
2) The failure to give Nolan an extension is intentional. He will be the fall guy when the team fails this year. Anyone lookng at their projected roster can see they will be a bottom 5 team.
3)Hard to make sirloin from shinola, but Wang/Snow are trying to sell their 'youth movement' nonsense to fans who haven't seen a playoff win in 16 years! We aren't buying it. The Isles are one of the worst run franchises in the NHL!
1) Post script: Atlanta Thrashers, Los Angeles Kings, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs all will finish ahead of the isles this year
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