After talking over an idea that I had inference with someone close to The Puck Authority over @NHLRumorsDaily, what I learned about the ongoing matter concerning the vacancies still left in New Jersey is that it is very likely Tom Fitzgerald will be named as GM like I mentioned numerous times in the past. But let’s go over Mike Futa, the Assistant GM of the L.A. Kings.
Mike Futa was L.A.’s Co-Director of Amateur Scouting, first joining the Kings back in 2007. Before his first NHL hire, Futa spent a number of year’s in as the general manager of the Owen Sound Attack. Prior to that five-year stint, Futa was assistant coach and assistant GM with the Oshawa Generals.
Before he filled those roles for two seasons, Futa, a native of Toronto, served in two different roles while with the St. Michael’s Majors. From 1997-2000, he worked as assistant coach and then was promoted by the club as head coach. Prior to that, he was head and GM of the St. Michael’s Buzzers in Provincial Junior A. Given his plethora of experience, he found himself known as assistant GM with a team risen from laughing stock to playoff contention.
One of the things I usually do with each candidate like Mike Futa is that primarily, some team officials have a really good strength in scouting certain leagues. So in this case, it’s the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. But he does have a familiarity in covering the OHL. He’s helped the Kings find Thomas Hickey, Alec Martinez and very likely Jake Muzzin. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins and later picked up by the team in Los Angeles.
2007: Thomas Hickey, Alec Martinez. 2008: Drew Doughty was selected, Vyacheslav (Slava) Voynov and Andrei Loktionov. 2009: Brayden Schenn, Kyle Clifford, Jordan Nolan. 2010: Tyler Toffoli. 2011: No real NHL hits. 2012: Tanner Pearson, Colin Miller. 2013: Dominik Kubalik. 2014: Adrian Kempe, Michael Amadio. 2015: Erik Cernak. 2016: No real NHL caliber hits. 2017: Gabriel Vilardi, Jaret Anderson-Dolan. 2018: Rasmus Kupari, Akil Thomas and the rest of 2018 to be determined. 2019: Alex Turcotte, Tobia Bjornfot, Arthur Kaliyev, Samuel Fagemo and the rest of 2019 to be determined.
Since Futa’s hiring in L.A., he’s scouted so many talented players, those he’s since picked and helped develop as well. Over majority of Futa’s tenure, the Kings were able to build a foundation, this allowing them to keep most of their players. Yes, Brayden Schenn did get moved, Colin Miller is now on another team, but since the Kings have restarted their rebuild, their recent drafts since 2017 seem very promising. I do like the prospects like Arthur Kaliyev, Thomas, Kupari, Vilardi, Bjornfott and Fagemo which would make Futa a wise and prudent business savvy hiring by the New Jersey Devils and Tom Fitzgerald if completed.
The New Jersey Devils have begun hitting on prospects and are starting to have a plethora of defensemen coming up and maybe Futa’s print in recent draft years can benefit a Devils team growing hungry to compete again.