Futa/Yannetti interview VI

Finally…the end. Here’s the last part of the interview with Mark Yannetti and Michael Futa. It focuses mainly on where the organization stands now and where it’s heading and (hopefully) will give you some idea of their vision for the future. I hope everyone found the interview worthwhile! Here’s the last part…


Question: The consensus seems to be that the organization is stronger, in terms of prospects, than it’s been recently, if not ever. This isn’t an attempt to knock the previous regimes, but do you sense that as well?

Futa: “Honestly, I can’t… Mark might be able to answer, because he was here a little bit. But for me, coming in, it’s just been about this group. So it would be unfair for me to compare anything against the past. All I know is that it feels very comfortable when you go to the World Juniors and we have five guys playing. There’s a good feeling going into those tournaments with that kind of youth base in place.”

Yannetti: “That being said, previous people from this organization deserve Jon Bernier credit there too.”

Futa: “Absolutely.”

Yannetti: “Al (Murray, former scouting director) won the gold medal this year. He put that team together.”

Futa: “If anybody in this business gets into critiquing the past, it’s an absolute no-win situation. You look at Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, who are two of the major building blocks of this organization, they were put in place by other people.”

Yannetti: “It’s real easy to criticize. I watched (the Kings) from the outside as a scout, and it’s real easy to come in and say, `This is deficient and this is deficient.’ But you’re also talking about a landscape that completely changed after the lockout. You’re talking about philosophies that are now completely different. It’s kind of hard to go back and criticize pre- vs. post-lockout too. Some teams were positioned better. Some teams needed to work harder. It’s just different.”


Question: When picks are made, like Hickey or Moller or Simmonds last year, and people initially think, “Well, that’s interesting,” and then people start to get real excited about those guys, does that give you some satisfaction?

Futa: “That part, absolutely. If you’re not always making the `sexy’ pick, it’s about having the confidence in your group, and knowing that so much work has gone into this. You have to really believe in where you’ve got guys on your list and know that you’ve put all your homework in, so that you’re not guessing. You’re removing as much gray area as possible when you’re making your selections. Nobody ever comes away from the draft thinking, `Wow, we just had a (bad) draft.’ (laughs) Everybody feels good. But it’s just part of the steps. If you look at our first pick (Hickey). That was a pefect example of the amount of work that goes into a player. Obviously there are other players (first-round picks) who have stepped right in. It wasn’t that we didn’t feel they could step right in and help. With this player, it was going to take a little longer to show the fruits.”

Yannetti: “You heard collective groans when he was picked. Plain and simple. You heard collective groans. Then all of a sudden he’s got a gold medal (in the World Juniors) and before he got hurt in the playoffs he was the leading-scoring defenseman and one of the two leading scorers in the playoffs. Now, great, Mike and I and Tony and the rest of the team, we can all pat each other on the back, but the thing is, they still haven’t played. You’re a villain, and then all of a sudden people give you credit, but there’s still two more years to go.”

Futa: “We feel good that their path to becoming Kings is looking good, but they still have to get there.”

Yannetti: “You take all the information you have, and you make the right pick for the right reasons. Then you develop and in four years, three years, you know where you are. But you can’t get too high or too low.”


Question: How do you react when people, either rightfully or not, get impatient and either want these prospects in the NHL right away or want them traded? Do you have to fight against that at all?

Futa: “Totally immune to it. It’s not in our job descriptions. Our jobs are to continue to do what we do and spend time with our guys. When we go in to watch kids we’ve already drafted… Dean always wants us to go down and talk to these kids and see how they’re doing, but other than that, that’s not our thing.”

Yannetti: “The other thing is the crossover with development. You have the pro guys asking the amateur guys’ advice and the amateur guys asking the pros’ advice. Hey, we could have left Jonathan Bernier up last year. It would have made a whole lot of fans happy, for sure. But we have 10 to 12 people choosing a development path that they think maximizes the player’s potential. So that could mean a lean year here or there. You want to set yourself up to be great, rather than just consistently capable.”

Futa: “If anything, on a decision like that, the easy decision is to say, `Stay here.’ Especially when you know that fans want results under their noses. The thought process that is right for the Kings is not always the easiest one.”

Yannetti: “If you really want to look deep at the models of some of the successful teams, there were some lean years for those successful teams. Look at Ottawa, look at Pittsburgh, look at Anaheim. There were some lean, lean years. Look at Tampa Bay before they won. Obviously you want to win today, but you also have to come up with a model that you believe in and stick to it.”

Futa: “When you talk about changing the environment and creating a winning environment, when you go to a tournament like the World Juniors and see a slew of your prospects winning together…”

Yannetti: “Five kids, three golds and two silvers.”

Futa: “When you start to see them winning together and succeeding together, you do start to picture… Wow, would that look nice. Because that’s the winning environment you want to create.”

Yannetti: “They’re learning to win as well. That’s a pretty valuable experience there. For every kid, not just our prospects.”

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  • Goon Squad

    Hope you read this one, anthony. Nothing personal, but this seems to be the stuff you’re having trouble dealing with. It’s right there in plain English. They aren’t trying to be good right now. Love it or leave it. Personally, I love it.

  • ranole

    “They’re learning to win as well”

    That is the most important thing in this whole debacle. Our prospects are not only playing with each other consitantly but learning to win together. From the first to the fourth line they all are learning to win together. That is where the playoffs are built.

  • anthony

    Goon Squad,

    I appreciate your concern for me.
    Looks like we all better have plenty of Kool-aid to last us until 2017.

    Better make mine a double with an olive.

  • Anonymous

    everyone drinks kool-aid. it’s just a question of what flavor one prefers.

  • “A lean year here or there????”

    How many playoff series has this franchise won after 93?

    Also, the lansscape may have changed with the cap, but why are there some organizations that were great before and are still great?

  • David

    Just make sure that the Kool Aid you drink is not from the Peoples Temple in Jonestown, Guyana. Can you say “brainwashed?”

  • Anonymous

    Make sure to spike your kool-aid with gin,vodka
    or your personal preference because you are
    going to need it.


    It looks to me like the first time in history the kings are building it the right, after years of crap teams or an ok team , but never good enough but I can watch a bunch of kids lose knowing soon the kings will be a powerhouse in the league and hopefully it will be that way for a long time

  • BallPointHammer

    Goon Squad, ranole and ROGER: RIGHT ON!

    anthony: What’s this 2017 crap you’ve been peddling? Just another one of your opinions? Fine. But your relentlessly impulsive, ignorant, hysterical, aggressive and poorly communicated “opinions” are to the point of deadening irrelevance. Maybe everyone should just ignore you from now on.

    Bob Weinstein: I’m pretty sure the “lean years” comment was meant as a generalization. With Lombardi leading the organization the Kings will become one of those teams that are consistent contenders. Have faith.

  • Jonny

    rich, I know this is off topic, sorry…. Do you think a guy like alec Martinez can crack the line up this year, and can you see crawford moving army to the 4th line to make room for Boyle on the second line?

    Thanks for all the hard work, I check the site all day long.

  • Anonymous

    Rather than blindly believe Lombardi will lead us to
    Cup or believe that he will ruin team why not just wait
    and see what happens? There is no guarantee that his plan is going to work just like there is no guarantee
    that it is going to fail. He was in San Jose from 95-96
    until 01-02 and never got out of second round. He had
    some good drafts and some bad drafts just like all GMs.
    So far here the product on the ice here has been crap
    and until that changes all his other changes really do
    not mean all that much to the average fan. Next year I
    think this team needs to compete for a playoff spot
    deep into the season as opposed to getting 73-78 points
    and raise ticket prices again because they are getting
    better. The excuse that he has a plan is going to start to get real old next year if Kings are still
    mired near the bottom of the standings and looking to
    unload players at the trade deadline.

  • David

    If we are unloading at the deadline, what are we unloading? Is it veterans that were just spot fillers for the young guys to develop in the minors? Are we getting more draft picks to further bolster our system as a result?
    In all honesty I look back in the lean years of other teams, like Ottawa, like Tampa Bay, like Chicago even, and you look at them and see so much potential, but it won’t happen right away. The Kings have a ton of potential, But it won’t happen over night. Building from the draft is the single greatest way to have a long lasting dynasty. The Redwing and Devils have been good for years because of great drafting/scouting and very shrewd business decisions by their management. If we throw away a draft here and there, it leaves gaping holes that cannot be fixed easily or cheaply.

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