Laurence Gilman never played hockey at a high level. And if there’s one thing that could be held against him as a candidate to become the next general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, it’s probably that.
But Gilman — currently Vancouver’s assistant GM — doesn’t believe his perceived shortcomings should outweigh all the things he does bring to the table.
“I didn’t play the game at the NHL level and didn’t get to this position through the scouting ranks,” Gilman told the Vancouver Sun. “But I’m an educated guy who has worked for NHL teams for 20 years, the last 13 as an assistant general manager. I understand every facet of this business implicitly. To suggest I don’t understand the key components of a competitive team is laughable to me. But that’s for others to judge. I’ve been around long enough to know the value of a third-line center or a shutdown defenseman or having character guys on your fourth line.”
Gilman is best known as Vancouver’s adept manager of the salary cap. And while he doesn’t particularly like being typecast as a “capologist,” there’s nothing wrong these days with being known as a numbers guy. Not in the age of analytics.
In fact, analytics promises to be a main pillar of the new Flyers regime with general manager Ron Hextall, who before today’s announcement in Philadelphia was considered a prime candidate for the Vancouver job.
Now, all that being said, the favorite to replace Mike Gillis remains Bruins assistant GM Jim Benning, a former NHL defenseman who started his post-playing career in scouting. (Given Vancouver’s new president of hockey operations, Trevor Linden, has identified the club’s dearth of NHL-ready prospects as a weakness, it’s safe to say that scouting will be a main pillar of the new Canucks regime.)
Gilman may also suffer from his association with Gillis, who became the main target of fan dissatisfaction before he was fired.