Now that Bill Foley, owner of the Las Vegas franchise, is part of the NHL, he has a huge decision to make, and very soon for that matter. That is of course selecting a general manager. The Las Vegas GM possibilities should be a long list and an intriguing one.
The Las Vegas GM Possibilities
The Job Itself
The new GM will hire the head of scouting, as well as the front office and scouting staffs. The person who winds up being the architect in the Nevada desert also has to come up with a plan regarding the expansion draft.
Let’s not forget the 2017 NHL amateur draft will be huge for the Las Vegas franchise. Las Vegas will have a top six selection in the first round of next year’s draft and at the top of rounds two through seven. There is a lot of work ahead for the new GM.
At the end of this season the Arizona Coyotes surprised everyone by letting go of Don Maloney and promoting 26-year-old John Chayka. Maloney spent roughly nine years with Arizona. Before that he was the New York Islanders GM for three years and a key part of the New York Rangers front office for ten.
Maloney was let go by Arizona supposedly because he was not the biggest analytics person. However, when you consider the position the Coyotes are currently in with all their young talent under difficult payroll constraints, Maloney should get a strong look at being the top man in Las Vegas.
In another surprising move the Florida Panthers at the end of the season promoted Tom Rowe into the GM’s chair and moved Dale Tallon upstairs. Is this something Tallon wanted? Does Tallon want to be running a franchise as a GM?
Tallon did a terrific job building up both the Chicago Blackhawks and the team that plays in South Beach. Tallon has been in charge of shaping the Panthers the last six years. Before that Tallon was the head man in Chicago from 2005 to 2009. Is there a better potential GM out there in terms of building a franchise than Tallon?
Despite his recent "promotion" Dale Tallon may be on his way out of Florida. That and more from @THNKenCampbell: https://t.co/KrU0G7ru1Y
— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) May 24, 2016
This may seem like an out of the box idea but let’s consider the following. While Pierre McGuire has never been a GM, he was a scout, assistant coach (Pittsburgh Penguins) and head coach (Hartford Whalers) in the NHL in the early 1990s. How many hockey people know the NHL top to bottom better than him? McGuire’s knowledge on every current NHL player and prospect in the league is ridiculous . If McGuire interviewed well he should be considered a serious candidate.
George McPhee may not be seen as a sexy choice but he is a solid one. He is currently working in the Islanders front office. Before that he spent 17 years as the Washington Capitals GM. While Washington never won the Stanley Cup during his tenure, most years the Capitals were a contender.
— Stan Fischler (@StanFischler) June 24, 2016
The Great One
Would their be a bigger splash for Foley than hiring Wayne Gretzky? Having said that, would this be the best move for the Las Vegas franchise? Keep in mind, Gretzky’s time in Arizona didn’t go well. However, his name has still been floated around.
The Hot Assistant
Could Foley decide to go with the hot assistant to run an NHL expansion franchise? It does sound like a risky move but if the interview process shows that is who the best candidate is, then it wouldn’t surprise me to see Las Vegas go in that direction.
Two names to consider under this category are Scott Mellanby and Laurence Gilman. Mellanby is currently the assistant GM for the Montreal Canadiens. While Gilman is the former assistant GM for the Vancouver Canucks who was retained by the NHL to help them with next year’s expansion rules.
A lot of interesting choices out there for Foley. A decision should come by the beginning of August at the latest.