Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/15/13 at 02:03 PM ET
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The general manager hire in Columbus this week, Jarmo Kekalainen getting his first shot at last, made me think that there are other strong candidates awaiting promotion around the NHL. With that, I bring you a list of assistant GMs I believe deserve a GM job in the next few years.
1. Jim Nill, Detroit Red Wings: Now in his 15th season as assistant GM in Detroit, he's been GM material for a long time. And it just so happens that his contract will soon begin to present itself with annual six-week "out windows" when he can entertain GM offers from other teams, a source told ESPN.com. The first window comes this summer. With five Stanley Cup rings and a long list of late-draft gems on his resume, Nill is a top-notch candidate in waiting. It would have to be the right fit for him to leave Detroit, where he's happy and loyal to the Illitch family, but it's a possibility. You can't go wrong if you name Nill as your GM. He'd be a superstar hire.
2. Ron Hextall, Los Angeles Kings: Hextall, 48, is in his seventh season as vice president/assistant GM of the Kings. As Dean Lombardi's right-hand man during that span, he was instrumental in the patient building of a Stanley Cup winner. He's overseen the franchise's top prospects during his time in L.A. and that's an impressive body of work.
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