As current NHL General Managers, and Bob Nicholson, gather in Boca Raton we are starting to get an idea of where the Oilers may be heading in their search for a new GM.
It was reported by TSN’s Darren Dreger on Monday that Nicholson has a list with close to 10 names on it. The list includes Keith Gretzky, Kelly McCrimmon, Sean Burke, Mike Futa, Mark Hunter and for some reason, Dave Nonis.
Here are a few thoughts on the six names Dreger confirmed are still in the mix.
Keith Gretzky did not even attend the GM meetings in Florida. Nicholson represented the Oilers instead with the sole purpose of narrowing down his list of candidates for a job that I’m not sure Gretzky has a good chance at getting, or wanting for that matter.
The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta posted this on Tuesday.
As Oilers look to shorten GM search list in next 2 weeks, as has been reported, I believe their current interim GM Keith Gretzky will not be on the short list.
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) March 5, 2019
Now Pagnotta isn’t a big name in the “Insider” game but he does have a solid pulse on the beat and has broken a few pieces of news in the past.
Nothing against Keith, but if he ends up becoming the next GM of the Oilers what has the organization really accomplished?
I tend to agree with something that TSN’s Frank Seravalli said on the smash hit Nielson Show on Tuesday morning. Kelly McCrimmon would be a perfect guy for the job in Seattle but may not have the experience required to take on a job like the one here in Edmonton. It’s a very valid point.
The only experience McCrimmon has in an NHL front office is helping build the expansion Golden Knights. He obviously did a very good job in doing so, and that’s important experience to have, but is it the right experience you need to be the next GM of the Oilers?
McCrimmon wouldn’t get to come to Edmonton and hold a bunch of teams over the fire to get sweetheart deals so they can keep other players in their system. He wouldn’t be starting with a cap hit of ZERO.
I’m not sitting here and saying he would be a bad hire I’m just pointing out that he might not be the best fit for the Oilers current situation. It’s not unlike Bob Nicholson when he was first hired by the Oilers. Nicholson had loads of experience in the hockey world but he had zero experience running an NHL organization. Like McCrimmon, lots of experience but not the right experience.
Like McCrimmon, Hunter had a lot of success in the Canadian Hockey League before joining an NHL club. He started as the director of player personnel for the Leafs and then shared the title of co-interim GM with Kyle Dubas prior to Lou Lamoriello taking over. The Leafs groomed the boy wonder to take over the main gig when Lou left and that has left Hunter hanging in the wind.
It may be an unpopular opinion right now but I think Hunter is better suited to be the Oilers next GM than McCrimmon.
Mike Futa is the new Paul Fenton. Fenton’s name popped up in pretty much every single GM search until he landed the job he has now in Minnesota. Futa’s name has often been mentioned in the same breath as Fenton.
Futa, like McCrimmon and Hunter, put in his time in the CHL. He worked with Toronto, Oshawa and Owen Sound of the OHL before joining the Los Angeles Kings 11 years ago.
He spent five years as the Kings director of amateur scouting landing the likes of Drew Doughty (1st), Slava Voynov (2nd), Brayden Schenn (1st), Kyle Clifford (2nd), Jordan Nolan (7th), Nic Dowd (7th), Tyler Toffoli (2nd), Kevin Gravel (5th), Tanner Pearson (1st) and Colin Miller (5th ).
From 2014-2017 Futa was the Director of Player Personnel and V.P. of Hockey Ops for the Kings. When Rob Blake was named GM of the Kings Futa was handed the dual role of assistant GM in LA and GM of their AHL affiliate.
I had a chance to broadcast the Spengler Cup for TSN this past Christmas and Sean Burke was the co-gm of that team alongside Ron Francis. I really enjoyed chatting with Burke in Davos so I’ll quickly admit that I’m most certainly a little bias.
Burke spent close to a decade with the Coyotes as goaltending coach and assistant General Manager. He’s been a pro scout in the West for the Canadiens for the past three seasons while also playing a huge part of Hockey Canada’s management group.
I have no idea why he would be on Nicholson’s list. He’s basically been doing odd jobs and assignments for the Ducks for the past four seasons. His existence on the list makes me completely doubt the entire list. I have no idea what’s going on here.
MY POWER RANKINGS
As far as these six candidates go, I think I’d probably rank them like this.
- Mark Hunter
- Mike Futa
- Kelly McCrimmon
- Keith Gretzky
- Sean Burke
- Dave Nonis
ONE MORE NAME
A few weeks back I was told the Oilers were hoping to at least have a chat with Bill Guerin in Pittsburgh. I’m not sure if that has happened and he’s been eliminated from contention or if they are just keeping it quiet.