Kings GM Dean Lombardi, Coach Terry Murray get two-year extensions
Dean Lombardi and other key members of the Kings’ management team will have two more years to continue a long rebuilding process that took a major leap forward when the team made the playoffs this season for the first time since 2002.
Lombardi, who had a year left on the contract he signed in 2006, has been given a two-year extension with an option for longer. Ron Hextall, the Kings’ assistant general manager, Jeff Solomon, the vice president of hockey operations and legal affairs, and Coach Terry Murray also got two-year extensions as well, carrying all four of them through the 2012-13 season.
“I know there was a little bit of a concern with the fans as to were we going to get this done, but our season went longer than normal — thank God,” said Tim Leiweke, the Kings’ governor and the president and chief executive officer of AEG, the club’s parent company.
“We wanted also to stay out of Dean’s way with Manchester and the Monarchs’ [American Hockey League] run. Then Dean and I sat down three or four weeks ago and had a conversation. We started going back and forth on some ideas. I had to let him yell at me a couple of times. The bottom line is Dean wants to be here. He wants to finish what we started. He thinks we are on the verge of something spectacular, and we want to keep our nucleus together.”
The move comes two days before the Kings will play host to the NHL’s annual entry draft, to be held Friday and Saturday at Staples Center. Past drafts have helped Lombardi overhaul a team that had only 68 points in the 2006-07 season and lacked depth in its farm system and turn the Kings into a playoff qualifier built around an exceptional core of young players.
Murray guided the Kings to 46 wins last season, tying a club record. They set a club record with 24 road wins and 51 road points. Their overall total of 101 points was the third-best in team history.
“We have predictability,” Leiweke said, “and now we can singularly focus on the draft and on next week” when the NHL’s free agent signing period begins.
More later at www.latimes.com/sports