COHEN’S KINGS CATASTROPHES – CHAPTER 3
Every so often a moment comes along that will define an organization. The decisions made in that crucible will shape the careers of players, coaches, scouts and General Managers. June 2003 was one of those moments and would be one of the last great Kings Catastrophes.
CHAPTER THREE : Blowing the Unblowable
As a result of trading Rob Blake (2001) and Matthieu Schneider (2003) the Los Angeles Kings had 3 picks, 13th, 26th and 27th, in the 1st Round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
WHAT THE KINGS DID
The Kings drafted Dustin Brown (13th), Brian Boyle (26th) and Jeff Tambellini (27th).
One of these things is not like the others…
WHY IT LOOKED LIKE A GOOD MOVE
According to the NHL Central Scouting reports headed into the draft, Dustin Brown was ranked 2nd among North American Skaters, Jeff Tambellini was ranked 21st and Brian Boyle was ranked 34th. Boyle was a physical specimen at 6’7″ and possessed a “deft scoring touch”. Tambellini was considered a “superior skater” with good leadership skills.
WHY IT WAS A TERRIBLE MOVE
Brian Boyle played in 36 games for the Los Angeles Kings before being traded to the New York Rangers. Now a consistent NHL player, Boyle spent 4 seasons playing in College before bouncing between the AHL and NHL as a “project” player. The number of superior players taken after him in a deep draft highlight his shortcomings in a period when the Kings were desperate for players who could make a more immediate impact.
Jeff Tambellini played 4 games for the Los Angeles Kings. Four of the ten players drafted directly behind him have appeared in more NHL games and scored more points. Ten players selected in the 2nd Round have appeared in more NHL Games and scored more NHL points.
In 2012 he helped the ZSC Lions (Zurich) of the Swiss A League (NLA) win the NLA Championship.
He’s not shaking the trophy with joy,
he’s having an epileptic seizure from staring at it for too long.
WHAT THE KINGS SHOULD HAVE DONE
Draft Corey Perry with either the 26th or 27th pick.
There are a number of NHL All Stars, Stanley Cup winners, Olympians and Twitter Superstars the Kings could have drafted in that first round but most of them were drafted far enough behind Tambellini and Boyle that it would be unfair to single out the Kings for passing on them. Shea Weber, taken 49th overall for example, was passed on by all 30 NHL teams before being selected in the 2nd round. Every NHL Draft has hidden gems.
Image via Smashville 24/7.
Corey Perry was drafted 28th by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim immediately following the back to back picks by the Los Angeles Kings. While he is a relatively unpopular player with Kings fans at this point it is hard to believe that most, if not all, of the animosity isn’t a direct result of the geographic and divisional rivalry between Los Angeles and Anaheim.
HOW IT WOULD LOOK TODAY
The Mighty Ducks had two draft picks in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. They selected Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Getzlaf was selected 19th overall. 6 picks after Dustin Brown.
Ugh. Maybe the Kings didn’t blow this one.
HOW IT LOOKS IN HINDSIGHT
From Pete Weber, former LA Kings Color Commentator and Current Predators Play By Play Announcer:
It was hard to mess up the 2003 NHL Entry Draft held in Music City. This may have been the richest in NHL history. The Kings came into it with the 13th, 26th and 27th picks. With the 13th, they selected their eventual captain, Dustin Brown. Just ahead of Brown, the New York Rangers took Hugh Jessiman from Dartmouth, who has played just 2 NHL games! So these aren’t sure things!
It’s 2013 and we’re still watching…
Only Eric Staal (2nd) with 268 goals, Thomas Vanek (5th) with 250, and Jeff Carter (11th) with 228 have scored more goals than Corey Perry (28th) with 220. Perry has turned out to be a special player, and Brian Boyle and Jeff Tambellini have not. Perry plays with an edge (only his teammate/linemate Ryan Getzlaf from that draft is within 200 penalty minutes of Perry’s career total), and as I have pointed out, he finishes plays with the best. Boyle was a pure projection out of high school, went on to play four years collegiately and has played a significant role with the Rangers. Jeff Tambellini played two more seasons for Red Berenson at the University of Michigan after the Kings took him. He has been a good AHL player with a couple of 30 goal seasons there, just not in the NHL.
DUCKS FANS AND CANUCKS FANS ON PERRY AND TAMBELLINI
Corey Perry is the embodiment of the post-Disney Ducks. Prickish, annoyingly talented and unable to completely ignore.
Tambellini was a feel-good signing, a hometown boy taking a hometown discount to live out his boyhood dream of pulling on a Canucks sweater. No one expected him to blow the lid off the team record book but we were underwhelmed by his lack of consistent grind on the 4th line. We wanted him to succeed – nay, we tried to WILL him to succeed – in Vancouver, but between lackluster play and a lack of trust from the coaching staff, he played about six minutes a night and was largely unnoticeable.
One and done – season that is – Jeff Tambellini turned into a big fat wamp wamp waaahhhh in the annals of Vancouver Canuck history.
Corey Perry or any of a dozen other quality NHL players.
The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim became the first team in California to win a Stanley Cup and Corey Perry was a huge contributor to their victory. No matter how many times the Kings win the Stanley Cup there will be always some loud mouthed Ducks fan to remind us that they did it first.
WHO’S TO BLAME
General Manager Dave Taylor, Director of Amateur Scouting Al Murray
The Kings would ultimately trade Tambellini, a 2006 3rd round draft pick and fellow 1st round bust Denis Grebeshkov to the Islanders in March of 2006 for impending UFA Mark Parrish and Brent Sopel in attempt to make the playoffs after missing them every season since 2002.
Mark Parrish would fail to sign with the Kings in the summer of 2006.
The Kings would miss the playoffs and fire General Manager Dave Taylor and replace him with Dean Lombardi.
Boyle was traded in June of 2009 for a 3rd round draft pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Brent Sopel was traded to Vancouver for two draft picks. Those picks ultimately became Wayne Simmonds and Andrew Campbell. Simmonds was ultimately part of the trade that brought Mike Richards to Los Angeles.
Dean Lombardi would completely overhaul the Kings scouting staff and build a perennial Cup contender by hording draft picks and prospects and signing key free agents.
Thanks to the questionable management of the Philadelphia Flyers, the Kings would ultimately wind up with three players drafted in the 1st round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
ROYAL REPUGNANCE RATING
(on a scale of -99 to +99)