FUTA. Having met with Michael Futa this afternoon, and based on follow-up conversations with both Futa and another team source, it appears as though he is no longer under heavy consideration for the open Buffalo Sabres GM job and is excited to continue his career with the Los Angeles Kings following his promotion to Assistant General Manager this spring.
Buffalo has openings at both General Manager and Head Coach after having relieved Tim Murray and Dan Bylsma of their duties in April. The Buffalo News has a list of potential candidates here, with Pittsburgh Associate General Mangaer Jason Botterill appearing to emerge as perhaps the most serious candidate.
Futa described the whirlwind of the changeover atop the hockey operations hierarchy, followed by his own promotion to AGM, and then very quickly learning that Sabres ownership was interested in meeting with him. He described the interview for the open position as “gratifying,” and left satisfied after taking part in his interview, which coincided with a trip to his native Toronto and a visit to the Hockey Central studios as the Kings’ representative at the NHL Draft Lottery.
Futa explained that he’s clearly “excited” – he used that word multiple times – with his new position, and spoke passionately about the energy and a positive, palpable feeling around the Kings’ offices in working with Luc Robitaille and Rob Blake. He said he was “thrilled” to sit down and learn more about different perspectives across the league and the ability to sell Buffalo on his work with Los Angeles while spreading the word about how the Kings operate and the way the team has been able to find immense success while he served as Vice President, Hockey Operations and Director of Player Personnel, and, previously, Director of Amateur Scouting.
A prime motivating factor towards Futa’s consideration of the position was that his three girls are based in Toronto, and with Buffalo within a short drive, there were family considerations that made clear sense with respect to that position. There’s also, of course, prestige in accepting a GM position, and Futa was happy with the opportunity to speak on his background and felt it was an experience that makes him better as an executive both in the short term and long run.
COACHING. The search for coaches to round out John Stevens’ staff continues as a “work in progress,” I’ve been told. There’s no hard timeline here, but rather the impetus to “get it right,” and I’m told it’s not of particular importance to have coaches in place by the NHL Draft or any other particular date. This is a process largely undertaken by Rob Blake and John Stevens.