One of the things I’ll never forget from my years doing this job is the night the Los Angeles Kings ended their 45-year Stanley Cup drought in June 2012 and the way general manager Dean Lombardi began his media availability.

Before any of us could get a question in, the architect of that championship squad wanted to get something out.

“Let’s get something straight here. Whenever a team has won, there’s some guys that don’t get appreciated,” Lombardi said as his Kings players celebrated on the ice around him at a rocking Staples Center. “You have to give a lot of credit to (former Kings GM) Dave Taylor; I started out with three darn good players in (Dustin) Brown, (Anze) Kopitar and (Jonathan) Quick. Let’s not ever forget what he did. And let’s not forget (former coach) Terry Murray, too. He stabilized this franchise and gave us credibility. There’s some unsung heroes here that need to be appreciated.”

It was a very classy thing to do at a moment when Lombardi had attained his own highest personal glory in the sport, wanting to point out it wasn’t all him.

I was reminded of this moment from 11 years ago when I watched Tage Thompson score a hat trick on Tuesday — yet another magical offensive night for the Buffalo Sabres star forward, who has become one of the league’s must-watch stars.

It’s another example of how sometimes it takes longer than we think to know whether an NHL move will pay off.

The Sabres traded for Thompson four and a half years ago. The full blockbuster deal went like this: Ryan O’Reilly to St. Louis in exchange for Patrik Berglund, Vladimir Sobotka, Tage Thompson, a 2019 first-round pick (which ended up being 31st overall, Ryan Johnson) and a 2021 second-round pick (Ben Roger).

Berglund was an important part of the deal, but he walked away from his NHL contract and went home to Sweden, later telling a Swedish media outlet that he needed to do it to find happiness again in his life. And who can begrudge him for that?