LA Kings VP of hockey ops Mike Futa, considered to be in the mix for Toronto’s vacant GM gig, isn’t going anywhere — at least according to GM Dean Lombardi.
“Mike Futa is still a Los Angeles King and will remain a Los Angeles King,” Lombardi said, per LA Kings Insider. “You don’t think the guy could jump ship now, right?”
Lombardi’s comment came while Futa prepped and continued scouting for the NHL Entry Draft, which will go later this month. Scouting is how Futa established such a strong reputation across the league — in his eight seasons with the Kings, he headed up a department responsible for drafting the likes of Drew Doughty, Kyle Clifford, Alec Martinez, Slava Voynov, Dwight King, Jordan Nolan, Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson. (Jake Muzzin, an undrafted free agent, also came aboard under Futa’s watch.)
As mentioned above, Futa’s been tied primarily to the vacant GM gig in Toronto. But according to TSN, teams have tried in the past to lure him out of Los Angeles — Buffalo and Calgary during their GM searches — and the Kings responded with a promotion, new contract and stipulations about what jobs he could seek out.
Which probably explains why Lombardi was so adamant Futa wasn’t going anywhere.
“There’s a big challenge ahead of us,” he explained. “I don’t think [Futa’s] had time to think about it. He’s been going a hundred miles an hour.”
The Los Angeles Kings have tweaked their lines ahead of tonight’s contest versus the Coyotes, with hopes of getting some goals from a few more of their forwards.
“We’ve got guys who haven’t scored in 10 or 11 or 12 or 13 or 14 or 15 games, whatever it is, and some of them have had zero scoring opportunities for the last five as individuals,” coach Darryl Sutter said, per LA Kings Insider.
Sutter didn’t name names, but winger Dustin Brown has gone without a goal in his last 11 games, while winger Dwight King has gone goalless in 13.
This morning, Brown was skating on the first line with Marian Gaborik and Anze Kopitar, while King was on the third line with Nick Shore and Justin Williams. The second line had Trevor Lewis, Jeff Carter, and Tyler Toffoli, with Kyle Clifford, Andy Andreoff, and Jordan Nolan comprising the fourth.
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Brayden McNabb had a career-high three-point night chasing Calvin Pickard in the L.A. Kings’ 5-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche Tuesday night.
McNabb’s second of the season at 14:15 of the first period stood to be the winner. The goal, which gave the Kings a 3-1 lead, ended Pickard’s night early.
The Avs’ rookie goaltender allowed three goals on the game’s first eight shots and was replaced by Reto Berra. Berra made 20 saves in relief.
With the win, the Kings (32-21-13) move to within one point of the second wild card spot in the Western Conference. L.A. also has a game in hand on Winnipeg. The Kings are now 3-0-1 in their last four.
L.A. is tied with Calgary (77 points) in the Pacific Division, but the Flames hold the tie break.
The loss drops the Avs (30-26-11) seven points back of a wild card spot.
Marian Gaborik and Jeff Carter had first period goals for the Kings. Kyle Clifford, who had a goal and an assist in the win, scored in the second. Jake Muzzin added his seventh of the season in the third.
Justin Williams had a pair of assists.
Tyson Barrie and Alex Tanguay had the Avs’ goals.
Jonathan Quick improved to 28-17-11 on the season with a 21 save performance.