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Thread: Reign future's forecast, a few minutes with Mike Futa

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    Default Reign future's forecast, a few minutes with Mike Futa

    I just got back from the Ontario Reign Future's forecast public forum. A little background, this is held for Reign season seat holders and the majority of the fans are not necessarily knowledgeable about the prospects, etc. The attendance was fairly sparse, maybe a 100 people (it was competing with game 3 of the NLCS), and your average Reign fan probably doesn't follow hockey so much to want to know what's going on, they go to be entertained and enjoy the fights, action. The panel consisted of Stothers, Stoll and Futa. Joey Z had the panel address a lot of generic prepared questions about player development which was quasi interesting but really stuff I've heard many times before and that took almost an hour.

    When it was opened to public questions I asked about Austin Wagner and what the plan is for him this year. Wagner will continue to rehab his major shoulder injury in LA, then he will be sent back to the Regina Pats for his overager year. He would have been at ONT this season except for the injury. Futa described him as the fastest skater in the Canadian Hockey League. Stated it didn't make sense to start him off as a pro so far into the season and burn a year off his contract, and and additional fact was Regina is hosting Memorial Cup this year, so he will have a chance to play in that tournament. I also asked about Vilardi. He stated Vilardi is chomping a the bit to start playing, but it was best to be 100% healthy before going back to juniors, and joked that Warren Rychel, head coach of the Windsor Spirtfires is on the phone everyday inquiring about when he will be ready to go. Also stated Vilardi was not ready to play in the NHL this season.

    The best part of this is you get a chance to go up and talk to Stothers, Stoll and Futa after the formal presentation. Unfortunately, while you want to ask a thousand questions, other people want to talk with Futa for five minutes about their kid playing local hockey or stories of hockey back in the 60's and 70's etc. So while I was biting my tongue and the minutes were ticking by (they had to leave soon, long drive), I was able to have a few minutes to get some quality feedback. Futa was very forthcoming and surprisingly open. He stated Vilardi is going to be a star in the NHL, someone they had very high on their list, a very competitive Kopitar like player. I asked why he fell so far to #11. He said they always had him very high on the list and that he was the MVP of the Memorial Cup, didn't think it had anything to do with his injury (why he fell), just the fact other teams had different priorities in the draft. Said that in the past the reason the kids didn't rotate like they are doing now was because of Sutter (he also praised Lombardi and Sutter publicly who he gave credit from creating the development staff, camp etc they use today) who wanted veteran players he could trust.

    I asked about rights to Prokhorkin and Kubalik. He confirmed Kings still have rights, that they initially got Prokhorkin to come over, but then his dad took money in Russia for him to play so he had to go back. Stated the issue with both players is they aren't willing to do two-way deals, they want the one way contract. Spoke highly of Fantenberg who was in the same situation, told him he knew he was an NHL player, but that they needed him to sign a two-way in case he needed some seasoning in ONT (which Fantenberg agreed, the rest is history). He agreed there is a lot to like about Amadio's game, that he agreed he'll be an NHLer. I'll probably remember as time goes on anything else pertinent that was said, so if you have any questions I'll try and let you know if it was covered.

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    I definitely think Vilardi fell because other teams needs were elsewhere. Luck of the draw.

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    Great write up. Thanks! I wanted to go but decided to watch it on line and skip traffic and then couldn't hear anything. Anything on clague or ladue?

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