The Toronto Maple Leafs are still without a GM, and it was believed that, if he was available, Los Angeles Kings vice president of hockey operations Mike Futa would be one of the top candidates for the job. But according to Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi, Futa isn’t going anywhere.
In speaking with L.A. Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen, Lombardi said while the option has been there for Futa to move on, he’s not going anywhere quite yet.
“Mike Futa is still a Los Angeles King and will remain a Los Angeles King,” Lombardi said. “You don’t think the guy could jump ship now, right?. . .There’s a big challenge ahead of us. I don’t think he’s had time to think about it. He’s been going a hundred miles an hour. He’s at the combine now.”
Part of being integral to the hockey operations department of a successful franchise is that other teams will come calling. This exact scenario has already played out with New York Rangers assistant GM Jeff Gorton, who the Bruins reportedly wished to speak with regarding their GM job but were denied permission to do so, Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, previously an assistant GM with the Chicago Blackhawks, and Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin, who also left the assistant GM role in Chicago to take the gig with the Habs.
The Kings brought in Futa, who Lombardi said was at the combine, in 2007 as the director of scouting. In that post and under Futa’s watch, the Kings have built a contender by using draft selections to pick up players such as Drew Doughty, Alec Martinez, Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson. According to the Kings, Jake Muzzin, too, was signed after Futa’s staff identified the defenseman’s ability.
With a stable of prospects under his belt such as that, there’s no wonder why Futa is an interesting candidate for any GM job that opens up. Last season, for instance, there were reports that the Vancouver Canucks had requested permission to speak with Futa and he was considered for the Sabres GM job, which eventually went to Tim Murray.
With the Kings winning two of the past three Stanley Cups – two of the past four if you include this season’s yet-to-be-awarded Cup – it seems like it’s only a matter of time before much of Lombardi’s staff, including Futa, gets opportunities to move elsewhere to take on larger roles. Futa has been a hot commodity for the past two summers, which makes it seem as though his exit is growing ever nearer.