Over the past few days there has been increasing rumblings and whispers regarding the search for the Oilers next General Manager. Darren Dreger has reported that the Oilers hope right now, is that they can have the new boss in place by May 1st. We are starting to hear more about the likely candidates, so let's break it down.
Right now Mark Hunter looks to have emerged as the front-runner for the position, having gone through two interviews with Edmonton already. Back in March I wrote about a number of potential candidates for the Oilers, with Hunter being one of them. Here is one passage I wrote:
A long time coach and general manager in the OHL, similar to McCrimmon, Hunter comes from a career of working with and developing young players and understands how the game has adapted and changed over the years.
The Oilers need to modernize with change starting from the very top and Mark Hunter could certainly bring that. He has been known throughout his career as a strong evaluator of young talent, and it was under him and Kyle Dubas, that the Leafs began strengthening their own analytics department.
There are a couple of stand out names, but it appears as the Keith Gretzky is no longer on that list. Reports have come from a few different sources that Gretzky is no longer on the short list for General Manager. Both Gretzky and Hunter have a strong background in scouting and I could see the two working together, with Keith remaining as Assistant GM.
The Next Yzerman?
As teams are eliminated from the playoffs, more candidates for GM positions will arise. The Lightning, shocked the hockey world by being swept by the Blue Jackets and now names are coming forward from that organization.
Pat Verbeek has reportedly also had an interview with the Oilers. Edmonton fans for years have dreamed about having brilliant GM Yzerman at the helm to right the ship; Verbeek might just be the next best thing.
The Assistant GM for the Lightning has served under Yzerman since July 1st, 2011, having before been Director of Professional Scouting. Tampa's ability to find talent in all rounds of the draft, bring in undrafted talent, and (in the regular season) dominate the league is in a large part to the work Verbeek has done.
Hunter was among my top candidates for the GM position, but Verbeek jumps way ahead to the top of the list.
Hoping For A Sharks Win
Bob Nicholson might be a San Jose Sharks fan... at least for tonight. One reason the Oilers are delaying their decision is because they still wish to speak with Golden Knights Assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon. McCrimmon and McPhee were the architects of Vegas and their shocking rise in the Western Conference.
McCrimmon, like the other names on this list, has a strong background in player development but; and call it a gut feeling, I don't think he is the right man for the job. McCrimmon came in to a perfect scenario in Vegas, with the chance to build a team from scratch. Edmonton meanwhile is a mess from top to bottom and that might be too much to ask for a man who has very little experience in operating at the NHL level.
More news is starting to appear as the days progress. The Oilers have said they are comfortable going into the draft without a General Manager... I wouldn't be.