In this third installment of the interview, Futa and Yannetti talk about preparing for all the different scenarios they might face on draft day, plus they discuss how there is a consensus, among the staff, about which player to select with the No. 2 pick…
Question: When you walk into the arena on draft day, what will you be working with? How extensive will your player lists be? How much of it is based on preparation and how much of it is adjusting on the fly to things that might happen that day?
Yannetti: “Without giving anything away, you’d be surprised at the level of detail, if you saw the whole list.”
Futa: “It’s almost like playing cards. We’ll have the list done, and the boss will challenge us. I’ve heard his speech on (the Kings’ website) where he talks about what our goals are: to get character down, to get the list right. The last one is our scenarios. Even with no names involved, he will say, `Would you trade two `C’s for an `A’?’ When you have 15 picks and you have a general manager who, one of his strongest traits is his ability to move up and down to get what he wants, those are the kind of scenarios that are going to come up. If there’s a guy we believe in, and we’re sitting there at the end of the second round or the start of the third round and he’s the guy we want, who we think is the right fit, because of all the picks that Dean has accumulated, he’s got the ability to move. It’s not just that we’re going there to make 15 picks. He’s got the ability to go up and down the ladder.”
Yannetti: “We’ve got the ammunition. And to put it in perspective, the last 30 names on our list… We’ve spent two solid days, from 8 in the morning until late at night, that have been devoted to them. So if you want to think about what goes into the last people on the list, you can start to get a sense of what goes into the middle and then the top. It’s pretty involved. If we all agree on where a guy should go (on the list), there’s no question. But if there’s a question, we break it down and do it again.”
Futa: “There won’t ever be a scenario posed to us at the draft that hasn’t been discussed. We’ll have all the dress rehearsals. All those equations, these card games, that’s all stuff that will be done ahead of time. We’ve already started. It’s not like we’re going to get to Ottawa and then figure it out.”
Yannetti: “There’s no winging it in Ottawa. Everything that will be done with these 15 picks will have been well thought out and planned for ahead of time. Nothing goes according to plan, but having all the information and all the scenarios, you’re not caught by any unforeseen circumstances. Hopefully everything goes according to plan, but if it doesn’t, we’re ready.”
Futa: “It was the weirdest thing for me last year, with my first NHL draft, on the board. It was almost like, put that suit in the closet and it’s there waiting for that day. It’s almost like putting on your game jersey. That’s your Super Bowl, and you have to be ready. You have all your ducks in a row.”
Yannetti: “It’s different for me too. Most of the time when I was at the table, it was, `Is a trade going to happen?’ Because I was (scouting) pros when I was in Toronto, for the most part.”
Question: I know you guys are deep into the lower-round guys right now, but how about the No. 2 pick? Has there been a lot of debate about what to do with it?
Yannetti: “I think there’s been healthy debate that has led to a real, consistent agreement.”
Futa: “As much as people call it the `Stamkos sweepstakes’… It’s easy to say that, but it’s a deep draft. The depth of the high-end players, that core group is exceptional. The thing about defensemen, in particular, is that it’s almost like going into a Baskin-Robbins. They’re all different. They’re all unique.”
Yannetti: “They’re all good.”
Futa: “Yeah, and it’s a matter of finding the one that fits and the one that has the most potential. They’re just so different, in terms of what they bring to the table. It’s quite a process, and the level of what we’re doing here (with lower-round players) is certainly going on at that level too.”
Yannetti: “Obviously, you want the first pick, so you can dictate who you get. At the same time, having the second pick of this draft is a pretty enviable position.”
Futa: “I mean, watching that draft lottery… I know Steve Stamkos, and I’ve had him in programs, but it wasn’t a matter of being upset about losing Stamkos. When you struggle during a season, you want to have the full deck of cards in front of you. You want to have that choice.”
Yannetti: “Whether or not you decide to take him, you want to be able to make that decision.”
Futa: “When you struggle for a year like that, you should have all the cards in front of you. That being said, that was the only kind of disappointment. Because we realized that after him — if that’s who Tampa decides to take — there’s a tremendous core of players right there for us to make our decision on.”
Question: As we sit here now, do you guys have a pretty firm idea of what you want to do with that second pick?
Futa: “Yeah. What would you say, there’s a core of two or three, two in particular…”
Yannetti: “Yeah. We talked about `complete information.’ Barring complete information changing, we have a very good idea.”
Futa: “A very good idea. And that’s why we talk about knowing these kids. When we head to Toronto (for the draft combine), we’re obviously going to be spending lots of time with different scenarios.”
Yannetti: “With different scenarios and different people.”
Futa: “As Mark just said, it would take something coming out of a closet, that we never saw coming, to change things.”