On the first night of the 2010 NHL Draft, the Los Angeles Kings bucked expectations (well, at least my expectations) and traded up with Florida to snag Derek Forbort, a 6-foot-4 defenseman from the USA Hockey National Team Development Program.
And for all the stories about the players coming out of Southern California (Emerson Etem and Beau Bennett), Dean Lombardi decided to grab what many draftniks say was the "best player available."
According to his official draft card, Forbort has committed to the University of North Dakota for next season, and the Kings should be able to let him simmer for a few seasons. He's projected by scouts as being a two-way defenseman.
But don't take my word for it...
The Hockey News tweeted: "L.A. trades 19th, 59th picks to FLA for 15th, take D-man D. Forbort. Kings could have league's best blueline in 5 years."
The L.A. Times' Helene Elliott tweeted "kings trade 19th and 59th picks to Florida for 15th pick and take 6-5 defenseman Derek Forbort of US under-18 team. Staples crowd approves."
TSN's Daniel Tolensky tweeted this observation: "Kings have 5 d-men under 23 drafted top 15 - Doughty (2), Johnson (3), Hickey (4), Teubert (13), Forbort (15) + Voinov (32 in 08)."
Overall, the Kings made a safe and smart selection, bolstering their blueline for years to come. And as everyone knows, depth on defense is key for building a winner. Hats off the Dean Lombardi for another draft day drama that was better received than the 2007 NHL Draft .
How classy was the decision to have Forbort rock the throwback? Remember, the Kings will be wearing the same jersey next season when they play Vancouver. Apparently, it was Deano's idea.
For a compilation of Draft Day videos featuring Derek Forbort, click here .