While Seattle hasn’t officially secured an NHL franchise yet, there is still speculation about who will become their general manager.
Local sports fans had reason to cautiously celebrate last week, when the Oak View Group finally submitted the expansion application to bring the NHL to Seattle. As per Sportsnet, the application included a $10 million filing fee.
The next step of the process involves doing a season-ticket drive to determine the level of interest in having hockey return to the area. As reported by Craig Hill of The News Tribune, the prospective ownership group will start taking deposits for season tickets on Mar. 1, with a target figure of about 14,000.
Of course, it’s important to remember that while the NHL wants to be in Seattle — commissioner Gary Bettman said they are not considering anyone else for expansion at this time — nothing is guaranteed yet. Regardless, excitement continues to grow in a city which previously hosted the first American team to win the Stanley Cup.
As such, it stands to reason that speculation has started to circulate, in respect of who might take up the position of Seattle’s general manager. And the name at the top of any potential list is apparently Detroit Red Wings’ GM, Ken Holland.
Sportsnet‘s Nick Kypreos made the claim during Saturday’s Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada. As reported by Mike Johnston, Kypreos said:
“Let’s make no mistake about it, Kenny Holland is out there. His contract is going to expire at the end of the year. No talks at all scheduled. It appears it might go all the way to the end of the season before it gets addressed. You’ve got to put him at the top of the list.”
Holland certainly has the resume, having won four Stanley Cups during his tenure in Detroit. The first was achieved in 1997 when he was assistant GM and goaltending coach, while the other three came as full GM, in 1998, 2002 and 2008.
The 62-year-old’s success saw him ranked second in Sports Illustrated‘s Top GMs/Executives of the Decade, in Dec. 2009. However, things haven’t been quite as positive in recent years.
As noted by Holger Stolzenberg of Pro Hockey Rumors, Holland has refused to rebuild the franchise. He has also signed multiple players to expensive deals with no-movement clauses, which has set back the franchise.
Just last year, Hockey Graphs ranked Holland 29th out of the 31 GM’s in the NHL. As such, you have to wonder if he would actually be a good hire for Seattle at this stage of his career.
Kypreos also mentioned John Ferguson Jr. and Bill Guerin as other potential candidates. Ferguson is the executive director of player personnel for the Boston Bruins, while Guerin is assistant GM for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Mention the name Ferguson around Southern Ontario and you will likely be met with angry looks. Let’s just say he didn’t exactly do a sterling job when he was GM for the Toronto Maple Leafs between 2003 and 2008.
As for Guerin, he would make for an intriguing addition if he is ready to take on his first gig as outright GM. He has won two Stanley Cups during his time in Pittsburgh, after previously winning a couple during a professional career in which he ranks 77th all-time for games played.
Yes, it’s still early/premature. Regardless, let’s at least have some fun with this. Who would you (realistically) like to see become Seattle’s NHL GM and why? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.