The Kings graded quite well in “intangibles” during the playoff run. For the lack of better terms, “character,” “will,” and “desire” became incalculable but surely present assets that may have guided the team to victory to a greater degree than their opponents. For a team with excellent leadership, and from the expectations set within the dressing room, do those same values trickle down to scouting and drafting? Does Los Angeles look for a certain type of player, or are they simply picking the best player available?
Simply put, how do the Kings evaluate character as part of an overall package?
Vice President of Hockey Operations and Director of Player Personnel Michael Futa:
Very few kids do we look at and say, ‘We can’t get to them.’ As Dean says, ‘You don’t win with choir boys.’ All these kids have spots. All of us have spots. As a kid, you look at our established winning culture – and you’ve got to be careful, because some of these kids aren’t going to be ready for this culture for a few years. But there aren’t too many kids that you look at and say, ‘They go into that room, all their problems are going to work themselves out with the leadership we have.’ Like, forget the guys who wear the C’s and A’s on top of that. The depth of leadership that we have that you can play. And no offense, forget the draft. We did it with Marian Gaborik. You don’t really know him, so you’re trying to put together all the stories, all the rumors, ‘Why did this happen?’ ‘Why did this happen?’ ‘Why had he not lasted here?’ ‘Why is he not here?’ Hey, if we put him in this dressing room, how’s he going to be with this group? Look what happened. Nobody’s talking about Marian Gaborik. You start to wonder yourself, where did all these stories come from? Hey, obviously we’ve got a few more years left of him now to find out if we had a small snapshot. But this guy fit in with this group, and he said, he looks around in here, like, ‘Why would you not? These guys just have each other’s backs. There’s such a core of leadership. There’s an expectation.’ Those who don’t conform get weeded out in a hurry. You stand out like a sore thumb if you don’t blend in or you don’t conform. It’s not about an individual. It’s about being a King. It’s about Darryl, and it’s about not having an ego.