Tag: Tyler Toffoli

2014 NHL Draft - Round 2-7

Rutherford: Pens need a better ‘supporting cast’ for core


Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is more than comfortable with the core of his roster.

And no, he has no plans to trade Evgeni Malkin, despite the speculation.

It’s the “supporting cast” — beyond Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury — that Rutherford is taking it upon himself to improve.

For good reason, he sees Chicago as the blueprint for success in the salary-cap era.

“The Blackhawks’ core group have risen to the occasion over the span of these last three Cups,” Rutherford told the Post-Gazette. “Clearly Kane and Toews and Crawford and Keith and some others have been really key players, but all three times they’ve had a different supporting cast.

“The conclusion I draw from that is that 1, we have the core guys to win a championship and 2, it’s my job and the job of everyone in hockey [operations] to try to get the right supporting cast so that we can build enough balance, speed and youth to have a complementary group that allows us to make the same run.”

One of the areas where the Penguins have fallen short is player development. Case in point, Rutherford admitted at the end of the season that Beau Bennett hasn’t been brought along properly.

Bennett was the Penguins’ first-round draft pick (20th overall) in 2010.

That was also the year Los Angeles took Tyler Toffoli, one of the leading scorers for the Kings in their second Cup run, with the 47th overall pick.

The next year, the Blackhawks drafted Brandon Saad in the second round and Andrew Shaw in the fifth.

To stay competitive in the salary-cap era, teams need that constant “support from the bottom.”

The Penguins haven’t received that. We mentioned Bennett’s failure to develop into an impact player. Well, at least he’s still with the organization. Pittsburgh traded the first-round picks that came before and after him. Simon Despres (2009) went to the Ducks to get Ben Lovejoy; Joe Morrow (2011) went to Dallas to get Brenden Morrow.

The Pens do have some good prospects in Derrick Pouliot, Kasperi Kapanen and a few others. The key for Rutherford will be to develop those prospects properly, while also acquiring the right veterans, for the right price, to fill out the rest of the roster.

Related: Rutherford insists Pittsburgh is ‘very appealing’ for free agents, even with ownership situation

In-demand Futa ‘will remain a Los Angeles King,’ says Lombardi

2014 NHL Draft - Round 2-7

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.”

Signing Toffoli and Jones a ‘priority’ for Kings

Tyler Toffoli, Gabriel Landeskog, Brad Stuart

Dean Lombardi touched on a number of topics during a conference call on Tuesday. Among the issues the LA Kings GM discussed was his team’s number of free agents.

Lombardi said getting restricted free agents Tyler Toffoli and Martin Jones under contract was a priority for the club.

Toffoli set career highs in goals (23) assists (26) and points (49) in 76 games this season. The 23-year-old had a $716,666 cap hit in 2014-15.

Jones appeared in 15 games for the Kings this season posting a 4-5-2 record to go along with a 2.25 G.A.A. and a .906 save percentage. The 25-year-old sees his two-year, $1.1 million deal expire this year.

“We’re working toward, is signing Toffoli and Jones. That’s been our priority,” said Lombardi. “You saw, during the season, we were fortunate to get (Jordan) Nolan done and (Kyle) Clifford done and (Alec) Martinez and (Jake) Muzzin and (Tanner) Pearson.

“We want to finish that off, with those seven or eight players that are not even in their prime yet, to keep them in the fold. That’s something that we’re actively pursuing.’’

The Kings are also working on a deal with pending unrestricted free agent Andrej Sekera. The 28-year-old split the 2014-15 season between the Carolina Hurricanes and Kings scoring three goals and 23 points in 73 games while averaging nearly 22 minutes a night in ice time.

“Sekera, the only thing I can say is, I think we have — which is not always easy to get — the parameters of a number,” said Lombardi. “Often times, it’s hard to get a number, to see if you can plug it in. So I think we have the range that it would take (to sign him). Now have we countered with an offer yet? No. That’s all I can say on that one.

“I can say that I don’t think the number is outrageous. I think he’d like to stay here, so by virtue of that, you work at it and he ends up in some of your schematics there.”

The Kings also have to make decisions on the likes of Jarret Stoll and Justin Williams among others. The club also has to decide on what to do with Mike Richards who spent time in the American Hockey League this season.

As Rich Hammond outlines in his piece, Lombardi has a complicated list of scenarios to determine who will be back for the 2015-16 season.