While the hockey world should be happy that Winnipeg is getting their Jets back, many people associated with the Atlanta Thrashers days fell victim to the changes. The first group is the most obvious: Thrashers fans. Beyond the fans, there are two people who seemed to have the worst luck: former GM Rick Dudley and former head coach Craig Ramsay.
Dudley and Ramsay lost their jobs after just one (largely promising) season at the helm with the Thrashers franchise. Sports and life are frequently unfair, but those firings seemed especially cruel.
On the bright side, it seems like both parties might be able to pick up the pieces.
The Toronto Maple Leafs added Dudley to their significant pool of assistant general managers today. Dudley won’t be the only former GM in an assistant role in Toronto; former Vancouver Canucks GM Dave Nonis also has top-level experience. Dudley’s specific role is unknown at this time, but Leafs GM Brian Burke told the Toronto Star that Dudley is a “premier talent evaluator” and that he has been hoping to work with him for 15 years.
Dudley officially earned a new job, but the news regarding Ramsay is far more anecdotal. Ken Campbell of The Hockey News reports that Ramsay and Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock were “huddled at a table” in Minnesota on Thursday during “what looked very much like a job interview.”
Babcock was quick to turn down any rumors that the Red Wings are on the verge of hiring Ramsay.
But Babcock said later that was not the case and Ramsay will not be joining the Red Wings staff as an assistant.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people, but I’m not close to making a decision,” Babcock said. “If you wrote that (Ramsay would be offered a job), you would be wrong.”
There has been speculation Babcock, who has been given the full power to hire his own assistants by GM Ken Holland, already offered a job to Ken Hitchcock, but was turned down.
Ramsay helped the Thrashers overachieve through the first half of the 2010-11 season before the group sputtered out of the playoffs in the second half. Considering the young and somewhat limited roster in front of him, it seems safe to say that Ramsay deserves a nice job somewhere. We’ll have to wait and see if that place will be Detroit, though.