Tyler Toffoli

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

4 Comments

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

3 Comments

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.

Toronto’s Ross, suspended for PEDs last season, signs in German League

2 Comments

After a tumultuous season, Brad Ross is trying his luck overseas.

Ross, the Toronto Maple Leafs farmhand slapped with a 20-game suspension this year for using performance-enhancing substances, has signed with Iserlohn of Germany’s Deutsche Eishockey Liga, the club announced on Friday.

Picked 43rd overall by the Toronto at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft (four spots ahead of Tyler Toffoli, if that sort of thing interests you), Ross never played a game for the Maple Leafs and has spent all of his professional career shuttling between the Marlies and the ECHL.

The 23-year-old was hit with his suspension in January. The development was noteworthy as Ross was the second player in the Leafs organization to be busted for PEDs last season; in November, it was forward Carter Ashton who was suspended 20 games by the NHL.

Following his suspension, Ross returned to the Marlies lineup and appeared in 11 games, scoring one point.

No new contract talks between Kings, McBain

1 Comment

After catching on with Los Angeles in November of last season and scoring nine points in 26 games, veteran d-man Jamie McBain says he’d like to stick with the Kings — but knows the club’s financial situation might keep it from happening.

“[No contract talks], nothing yet,” McBain said of his current status with the club, per Mayor’s Manor. “From the exit meetings – and I’ve already known this, anybody who looks at the paper knows – they have pieces that they have to get in place first. With the salary cap the way it is – even last year, me getting called up, it needed to be for the least amount of money possible – they had to find some money within the salary cap.

“I know they have some pieces they have to figure out first and they have to figure out the salary cap issue.”

The Kings were pressed up against the ceiling for most of last season — a big reason why McBain was brought in (at $550,000) following Slava Voynov’s arrest for domestic assault. The former Sabre and Hurricane performed reasonably well, considering he went the first four weeks of the campaign without a deal, but was a non-factor down the stretch and didn’t play over the final month-and-a-half of the regular season.

One of the guys that supplanted McBain in the lineup last year, trade deadline acquisition Andrej Sekera, is in line for an extension this summer (the two sides have already started preliminary talks), and that’s one of the cap issues McBain alluded to. The Kings also need to hammer out new deals for RFA forward Tyler Toffoli and d-man Brayden McNabb, which might not leave much room for McBain to re-sign.

It’s something the 27-year-old understands.

“It’s one of those things where it all depends on other organizations and the Kings, as far as what teams offer me,” he explained. “It’s tough to say exactly what the future is going to hold.”

U.S., Canada open with big wins at Worlds

5 Comments

It was smooth sailing for the Americans and Canadians in their respective opening contests at the 2015 World Hockey Championships.

The Americans were led by a pair of goals from captain Matt Hendricks to cruise to a 5-1 win over Finland, while Canada got three point efforts from Nathan MacKinnon and Jason Spezza to beat Latvia 6-1.

Highlights from the U.S. romp:

New Nashville signee Steve Moses opened the scoring for the Americans with a great solo effort late in the first period. Nick Bonino and Dan Sexton had the other goals, while Connor Hellebuyck stopped 29 of 30 shots for the win.

Canada had five different goalscorers in its romp: MacKinnon, Spezza, Tyler Toffoli, Matt Duchene and captain Sidney Crosby, who converted on a penalty shot. It was an easy victory over a Latvian team that was woefully overmatched; the country’s lone NHLers, Zemgus Girgensons and Ronalds Kenins, aren’t participating in the tournament.