Dean Lombardi (born 1958 in Holyoke, Massachusetts) is president and general manager 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).
Early life[edit | edit source]
Lombardi grew up in Ludlow, Massachusetts, and was an All-Western Massachusetts forward for Ludlow High School for the 1974–75 season as a junior. As a senior Lombardi was a member of the Wallace Cup champion Springfield Olympics of the New England Junior Hockey League in 1975–76 for top talent developer Gary Dineen. Played two more seasons for Dineen, were he was selected to the All-America Junior hockey team. He played college hockey at top flight division 2 Elmira College freshman year, and tranferred to University of New Haven (D2) 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 graduated with honors from Tulane University with a law degree specializing in labor law. He initially became a players agent under the tutelage of famed agent Art Kaminsky, and crossed over to the management side as an assistant general manager to Jack Ferreira with the Minnesota North Stars, from 1988 – 1990 before moving with Ferreira to the expansion San Jose Sharks. Named general manager of the Sharks in 1996. Son-in-law to Hockey Hall of Fame player Bob Pulford, himself a former longtime NHL general manager.
As GM[edit | edit source]
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 totals 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 the same feat overseeing the dynasty of the New York Islanders in the early 1980s.
Lombardi was relieved of his duties, along with head coach Darryl Sutter, 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 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 will attempt to re-establish the team and its farm system with similar building and drafting strategies as he did with the Sharks, though the salary cap now comes into play. As of the conclusion of the 2008-09 season the Kings have yet to make the playoffs, though they have improved, albeit slightly, in wins and points under Lombardi's watch. However the Kings, despite aggressive moves by Lombardi, remain a second-tier team in the Western Conference. His five draft picks during his tenure include Jonathan Bernier (11th overall) and Trevor Lewis (17) in 2006, Thomas Hickey (4) in 2007, and Drew Doughty (2) and Colton Teubert (13) in 2008. Of those draft picks, only Doughty was on the Kings roster at the end of the '08-09 season. Bernier, Hickey, and Lewis are with the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League, the Kings top farm club.