The Seattle franchise is still more than two years away from joining the NHL, but that probably won’t stop them from naming a general manager in the near future.
As Bob McKenzie pointed out on Wednesday Night Hockey this week, the Seattle group won’t be shy about naming an architect for their roster. The Golden Knights hired George McPhee just over a year before they started playing in the NHL last season. That gave them plenty of time to put together a great roster, but Seattle seems to want to give their GM even more time to scout and study options around the league.
When you fork out $650 million for an expansion fee, a little more cash for a GM is just a drop in the bucket, right?
So, whenever they do hire a general manager, who would they consider?
As McKenzie mentioned in the video above, Ken Holland could be one of the front-runners for the job. He has a ton of experience, he’s put together championship teams, and the Red Wings appear to have a successor for him in the form of Steve Yzerman.
Holland signed an extension with the Wings last April, but it was only a two-year deal. That contract was also signed before Yzerman decided to walk away from his job with the Lightning.
Even though the Red Wings have had some lean years lately, It’s easy to see why Seattle would want Holland. His track record speaks for itself. While working for Detroit, Holland helped build a team that won four Stanley Cups between 1997-2008. If the NHL’s newest team wants experience, he could be a great option.
If they’re looking for someone with expansion experience, they could opt to roll with Golden Knights assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon, who helped McPhee build Vegas into the team that they are. McCrimmon doesn’t have the same track record or experience that Holland has, but he showed that he could help construct a roster from scratch.
McCrimmon also has plenty of experience in junior hockey, as he’s served as the owner, general manager and coach of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings.
You’d have to think that more than two candidates will be considered for this job. Ron Hextall, who was recently fired by the Flyers, may get a look, too. Even though he was let go, there’s no denying that he helped the Flyers build up an impressive pool of talented young players. Sure, they never really figured out the goalie situation at the NHL level, but they have one of the better prospect pools in the league right now.
Other potential candidates include Los Angeles Kings assistant GM Mike Futa and Columbus Blue Jackets assistant GM Bill Zito. Both Futa and Zito seem to always be in the mix, lately, when general manager jobs open up.
Seattle still has time to decide who they want leading their franchise heading into 2021-22, but they appear to want to make that critical decision sooner rather than later. The most important thing isn’t the timing, it’s about getting the right guy.
Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.