Sunday, April 27, 2008
Pittsburgh is currently up 1-0 after 2, the game is on CBC in Canada and NBC in the states. Tonight, TSN will have Dallas / San Jose and I believe Versus will have it for our US fans.
So as we are less than two months from the draft, it really is time to start discussiing the General Manager situation we currently have in the league. Toronto has been the target of all the talk lately, and for good reason. They don't have a full-time GM at the moment, but we are being told they will before the draft. We were all led to believe that Burke was the guy, but commish Gary stepped in and nixed any plans Burke had of leaving the Ducks. So who are they looking at now. No interviews will begin anytime soon, from what I've been told. The Leafs want to talk to Ken Holland, but i believe they will do so without success. Glen Sather and Doug Wilson are two other guys they'd like to talk to, but both are likely staying put. Doug Mclean, Doug Armstrong and Jim Rutherford are two guys that are also on their short-ish list, and all three could be interviewed tomorrow if the Leafs wanted. Right now, it's anyone's guess, but the Leafs would like it if teams like Detroit, San Jose and NYR would get eliminated sooner rather than later, as they'd like to resolve this ASAP.
The Leafs are one of about six teams seriously being considered by Fabian Brunstrum. It's believed he would like to know who the GM wil be before he signs. The Leafs may lose him for that very reason. The Leafs have buyouts and trades to attend to. Fletcher wants the new GM to make all of these moves, as he understands how important it is for someone new to shape the franchise, and for him to not act too soon. While he may not want Tucker or Kubina, the new GM may. This doesn't mean Cliff won't make decisions on these guys, but MLSE and Fletcher would rather the new face of the franchise's front office do it.
Ken Holland is the best GM available, but it's doubtful he's leaving Detroit. Doug Wilson would be my second choice, but his lack of cup success may turn the Leafs away. After that, I'd go with Doug Armstrong. Brad Richards aside, his team is currently playing very well in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Craig Patrick and Doug Mclean (why are half of the GMs named Doug?) should be avoided, as all success can be thanked on having very high draft picks for very many years. Glen Sather and Bob Gainey can both be avoided in this discussion, as I don't believe either is going anywhere anytime soon. As for Dave Nonis, maybe he will be brought in, but it won't be as GM. He doesn't fit what the Leafs are looking for.
Toronto is not the only team with GM questions. Vancouver just hired Mike Gillis, which in my opinion was a terrible mistake. This guy has no experience, and inherits a team in need of a lot of work. I am hearing all the time that Gillis inherits a lot of great things, such as a ton of young defensive prospects and the best goalie in the world. This may be true, but that doesn't mean Vancouver isn't in serious trouble. The team has no offense up front, and will likely lose Morrison and Naslund this season. Linden and Miller are also going to be needed to be replaced. So three of the clubs best offensive players over the last six or seven years are going to need to be replaced. You have the Sedins up front, followed by a whole lot of nothing. Your defense is basically set, but your goaltending may not be. Talk is Luongo wants out, and is not happy with the direction of the franchise (heard this one before?). Talk continues to circulate that Spezza and Emery could be on their way to Vancouver for Luongo. Spezza is a risk, as the guy has played with two of the best wingers in the game for the majority of his career. Can he be successful as the main guy? I don't have that answer. Vancouver is in a world of trouble, and I don't see this team getting better any time soon. Gillis was not the man to fix this ship. I can confirm that Doug Armstrong, Doug Wilson and John Ferguson Jr were all contacted about this job. I would have taken all three (yes, even JFJ) before I would have taken Gillis. The best man for this job would have been Pat Quinn, hands down.
Bryan Burke remains in Anaheim, and wow does he have a mess on his hands. The Ducks have 49 million commited already for next season. Selanne is a UFA, and will likely not be back. Remember that the Ducks were only mediocre until his return. Niedermayer is an unknown, but if he doesn't comeback that would give the Ducks some much needed breathing room. That said, I still believe he can be a premier defenseman in this league. Doug Weight is a UFA and likely won't be back, while Corey Perry is a RFA, and will be looking for a big pay cheque. If Burke doesn't get this guy signed by July 1st, which is very possible, he will attract offer sheets, which the Ducks wouldn't be able to compete with given their current salary cap situation. The Ducks situation is not a pretty one, and they are just lucky Burke is still around to fix his own mess. If any GM in the league can get the Ducks out of this mess, it's probably Burke.