After missing the playoffs for the second time in three seasons, the Los Angeles Kings announced a massive overhaul of their front office.
Long-time GM Dean Lombardi is out, and head coach Darryl Sutter was fired as well. There were promotions in Luc Robitaille being named president (“will now oversee all hockey and business operations”) and Rob Blake gets the title of GM (“will direct all day to day hockey operations for the organization”).
“This restructuring of the front-office will establish a single leader of the organization that will provide a unified vision, focus and alignment between the team side and the business side,” AEG president/CEO Dan Beckerman said. “It mirrors the same structure we recently implemented with the LA Galaxy and it will not only enable the integration of these two sides of the club into a single organization but will bring symmetry between the Kings and Galaxy.”
Lombardi had been with the Kings for almost exactly 11 years, as he was hired on April 21, 2006. Sutter righted the ship starting on Dec. 20, 2011, guiding the Kings to the first of two Stanley Cup victories.
You could break down the highs and lows of the Lombardi/Sutter run in three-year chunks.
From 2011-12 to 2013-14, they won two championships and also made it to the 2013 Western Conference Final. As mentioned before, they failed to make the playoffs twice during these past three seasons, and they fell to the Sharks in the first round in 2015-16.
For an expensive team rife with aging veterans, the status quo clearly wasn’t good enough.
This post details some of the challenges Blake and Robitaille face during this summer and beyond.