The Los Angeles Kings didn’t waste any time in naming a new general manager of the Manchester Monarchs, the NHL team’s top minor-league affiliate. Three days after Ron Hextall stepped down as Kings assistant GM/Monarchs GM, Los Angeles on Thursday introduced one of the franchise’s all-time great players, Rob Blake, as Hextall’s successor.
The Kings also announced an eight-year contract extension with team captain Dustin Brown, a former Monarch.
Blake, who played 14 of his 20 NHL seasons with the Kings, is the franchise’s all-time leader in games played, goals, assists and points by a defenseman. He spent the past three seasons working in the NHL’s Player Safety department.
Like Blake, Hextall changed jobs to return to the organization in which he spent most of his playing career, in Hextall’s case the Philadelphia Flyers.
Blake, an Ontario native, played for the Kings from 1990-01 and 2006-08, the San Jose Sharks from 2008-10 and the Colorado Avalanche from 2001-06, winning a Stanley Cup in with the Avalanche in 2001. He recorded 777 career points (240 goals, 537 assists) in 1,270 regular-season games. In 146 playoff games, he registered 73 points (26 goals, 47 assists).
Blake, 43, served as the Kings’ captain from 1996-01 and again from 2007-08. He helped lead them to the Stanley Cup Final in 1993; won the franchise’s first Norris Trophy, in 1998; captured a gold medal (as a member of Team Canada) at the 2002 Olympics; and made six trips to the NHL All-Star Game, including four as a King.
In his new role, Blake will assist Kings president/general manager Dean Lombardi in all facets of the Kings’ Hockey Operations department, including contract negotiations, player personnel and overseeing the organization’s top prospects. One of his main duties will involve working closely with Hubie McDonough III, the Monarchs’ director of hockey operations.
“It’s definitely a great move for Los Angeles,” said McDonough. “People in Los Angeles can definitely relate to him. He’s a former captain with the Kings and holds many team records including games played with the organization. I look forward to working with him.”
Barring a trade, Brown, who has one year left on his current contract, will remain a King through the 2021-22 season. The 28-year-old forward has played his entire nine-year NHL career with the Kings. He spent one season, 2004-05, in Manchester.
In 2012, he became the first player in team history to hoist the Stanley Cup, after Los Angeles defeated the New Jersey Devils in the finals.
His career totals include 388 points (181-207) and 452 penalty minutes in 641 regular-season games. Among the franchise’s all-time leaders, he ranks eighth in games played, 10th in goals, 17th in assists, 12th in points, seventh in power-play goals (69) and tied for seventh in game-winning goals (25).
The 6-foot, 212-pound native of Ithaca, N.Y., has also appeared in 50 postseason games with the Kings, recording 31 points (13-18=31), 54 penalty minutes and a plus-8 rating.
Among the franchise all-time playoff leaders, he is tied for seventh in games played, tied for eighth in goals, ranks 13th in assists, tied for 11th in points, tied for fourth in plus-minus, tied for seventh in power-play goals (5), tied for first in shorthanded goals (2) and tied for fifth in game-winning goals (3).