The new GM probably won’t be Pat Quinn, though don’t be surprised if he’s brought on in an advisory role.
According to the man himself, Trevor Linden will begin interviewing candidates for the Canucks open General Manager position this week. Linden has spent the past month putting his list of potential GMs together and there has been plenty of speculation over who is on that list.
We want to take a different tack, however, and look instead at different types of GMs, just like we did last year when the Canucks were looking to hire a new coach. In hindsight, I think we can agree that all of our suggestions were better than what the Canucks eventually did.
There are a number of directions Linden could go in his search for a new GM and the type of GM that he targets will profoundly affect the direction of the franchise.
THE EXPERIENCED GUY
It’s risky hiring someone who has never done the job before, so why not go with an experienced, albeit out-of-work GM? There’s the recently-fired George McPhee, Joe Nieuwendyk, and Scott Howson, who has seen opinions shift now that the Blue Jackets are experiencing some success, but if you really want experience, Darcy Regier is the guy.
Regier was the GM in Buffalo for 16 years, during which they drafted quite well. The Sabres went to the Stanley Cup Final in 1999 and won a Presidents’ Trophy in 2007 with him at the helm. They also, however, missed the playoffs seven times and looked completely rudderless towards the end of his tenure.
THE FORMER PLAYER
The Canucks already brought back one beloved former player to be the President of Hockey Operations, so why not continue the trend? The Colorado Avalanche went this route, to a certain extent, as Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy essentially share many GM duties with the actual GM, Greg Sherman, largely limited to negotiating contracts.
So, which beloved former Canuck has the right type of experience for the job? Not Pavel Bure, whose only experience as a general manager was for the 2006 Russian Olympic team that failed to medal. Stan Smyl has served in the Canucks organization as a coach, scout, and advisor, but never as part of a management team. Thomas Gradin, as well, has scouting experience, but no management experience.
Who else is there?
That leaves Markus Naslund, who was general manager of the MODO in the SHL from 2010 until he stepped down in March, which started the rumour mill churning. That said, it seems like a good idea to go with someone with more experience in an NHL front office, particularly since Linden has none.
THE CURRENT PLAYER
Tom Sestito has no experience running a hockey team and is a terrible option.
On the plus side, if he’s watching the games from the management suite, he can’t be on the ice.
THE BOSTON MODEL
This doesn’t have to be specific to Boston, but that phrase is on everyone’s mind. Take any franchise whose success and management style you admire and poach their most important Assistant GM. For the Boston Bruins, that’s Jim Benning.
Benning was rumoured to be up for the open Buffalo Sabres position last year and is surely at or near the top of Trevor Linden’s GM wish list. He’s a strong candidate with a lot of positive qualities, particularly when it comes to player evaluation.
Other assistant GM candidates include Ron Hextall (Flyers), Jason Botterill (Penguins), and Jeff Gorton (Rangers).
THE OTHER BOSTON MODEL
It’s possible that Linden’s frequent references to “The Boston model” were really just nods to his obsession with model-turned actress Geena Davis, a Boston native.
Can she handle the job? Hey. Stuart Little’s mom can handle anything.
Laurence Gilman was Mike Gillis’s right-hand man and has been retained as assistant GM even with Gillis fired. Linden has acknowledged that he’s a legitimate candidate for the job, which makes sense given his ability to manage the salary cap and years of experience with both the Canucks and Phoenix Coyotes.
The biggest issue, however, is that he may not represent a significant enough change from the previous regime to satisfy Canucks fans.
Some out-of-work GMs are out-of-work for a very good reason. Still, it’s always worth taking a look at a former GM, particularly one who has stayed connected to the game by working as a hockey commentator or analyst.
THE VERY TALL MAN THAT MIGHT BE TWO OR THREE KIDS IN AN OVERCOAT
One (unsubstantiated) complaint about Mike Gillis was that he was not respected around the league thanks to his history as a player agent. That won’t be a problem with this candidate who informed me his name was “Mister…….Tallman” complete with a pregnant pause. I’m assuming the pause is his first name.
Tall people command respect and can also get onto the best roller coasters and into R-rated movies.
THE ARMCHAIR GM
Everyone talks about armchair GMs, but has anyone ever hired one?
Joss Whedon has proven that he knows how to put together and work with a talented ensemble cast.
One problem: if the Canucks hire him then your favourite player is totally going to die just before the playoffs.
The Canucks want to play a possession game, and no one knows more about possession than ghosts.
He won’t, however, help the Canucks be more physical.
THE MYSTERY MAN
The Canucks received one strange resume from a man who went by the name of Ike Fillis.
He’s a bit of a dandy, but he claims to have gotten an NHL team to within one game of the Stanley Cup and two Presidents’ Trophies, so he has a lot experience.
Two words: Captain America.
If he can lead the Avengers, he can lead the Canucks. Of course, since the NHL consisted of only six teams when he was frozen in ice in a state of suspended animation, he has a lot of catching up to do.
What’s better than one Trevor Linden? TEN Trevor Lindens!
Ninety-four! Ninety-four! Ninety-four!
With files and photoshops from Harrison Mooney.Tags: Trevor Linden should listen to me because I am smart