With three first round picks in hand entering the 2003 NHL Draft, then-Kings GM Dave Taylor and his staff headed to Nashville, Tennessee for the league’s annual event. Meanwhile, back home in LA, the team threw a lavish party for their season ticket holders.
Fast forward to the present and the Kings’ current roster features three picks from that incredible first round – perhaps the best NHL Draft of all-time – although it’s taken several twists and turns to end up that way. As most people know, Jeff Carter (11th overall) and Mike Richards (24th overall) were actually taken by the Philadelphia Flyers that day in 2003.
So, what did Taylor do?
Up first was the selection of Dustin Brown (13th overall). He then selected 6-foot-7 center Brian Boyle 26th (a pick left over from the Rob Blake trade with Colorado in 2001) and Jeff Tambellini 27th (a pick they received from Detroit for Mathieu Schneider a few months prior).
Boyle went on to have a phenomenal career at Boston College, including captaining the Eagles to the NCAA Championship game in 2006 and 2007.
The Kings later tried to convert to him to a defenseman after he turned pro and was playing in Manchester. It was an experiment that ultimately failed.
Boyle made his NHL debut on a Kings trip through the Tri-State area in 2008. If early impressions count for something, he made a grand entrance – scoring a goal in his first game on Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils. His second NHL goal came in the very next game, played a few nights later in Madison Square Garden against the Rangers. Boyle started the road trip by scoring three times in his first four games.
He went on to play for both the Monarchs and Kings the following season, but new GM Dean Lombardi had seen enough. Boyle was traded to New York in the summer of 2009.
Now, back in Los Angeles – to play against the Kings – MayorsManor caught up with Boyle, where he shared the following…
On coming back to Los Angeles after so many years:
“Being around the last couple of days, jogs your memory a little bit… Development Camps [ed. note: he came to Dev Camp in 2003, 2004 and 2006]. I was only a pro here for a short time, but I was part of the organization for a number of years. I want to come back and play my best game.”
On what he remembers most from back then:
“I remember learning a lot. It was Dave Taylor for a few years. He was a close friend of my college coaches. He was good to me, he was helpful. Then when Dean [Lombardi] came in, it was a lot of learning and some uncomfortable times, that in the end, taught me a lot. It was interesting to say the least. It was cool. If you can figure out a way to be successful here, it’s a great place to play. Lucky for me, I was traded to an awesome place. I found my niche in New York and it’s been great also.”
On the demands Lombardi can put on young players:
“I don’t think [he was hard on me.] We were very honest with one another and he was helpful in accommodating me. We met a number of times, even the summer I got traded. He was in contact with me even during college. I knew it was for all the right reasons. He wanted me to become a good player for this team. It didn’t work out that way. I could have done a lot of things, but thankfully he moved me to a team that I had a chance to play on. I think it’s worked for the best.”
On Eastern Conference teams coming out to play in LA:
“There are a lot of places you go where it’s pretty cool…we’re pretty lucky to do what we do. You get to see a lot of cool things. Coming out west to LA, you know, Hollywood and all that – it is pretty cool for when you’re not playing, when it’s not the game day. When it’s game day, you’ve got a tough team to play against. It’s cool to come into Staples, see that building, play there. It’s a special thing we get to do.”
On some Rangers players being reinvigorated by new coach Alain Vigneault:
“A new season helps to do that too. AV’s been great with us. He’s communicated well. We’re all excited to play for him.”
Dustin Brown: “Captain”
Jeff Carter: “I don’t know him.”
Mike Richards: “I don’t know him either.”
Jonathan Quick: “Big legs”
Drew Doughty: “We used to call him Doofus.”
For more on tonight’s Kings v Rangers game, be sure to check out the links below.
AUDIO: Mayor’s Monday guest spot on NHL Network Radio – Rangers at Kings preview
PHOTO GALLERY: Rangers v Kings – Frozen Fury 2013
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